Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Favorite Songs (December 2014)

“Greystone Chapel," Johnny Cash, 1968

At Folsom Prison, the album that reignited the Man in Black's career—a risky album, at that, for the times—reaches its crescendo at the finale when Cash played “Greystone Chapel,” a song written by Folsom inmate Glen Sherley. Cash only learned the song the night before—and his nervousness over the number showed up as he introduced it; he later said he regretted identifying Sherley, which could have led to other inmates assaulting the prisoner. But the song got the biggest applause of the concert.
There's a Greystone Chapel here at Folsom

A house of worship in this den of sin …
It's hard to tell by the roaring applause at this juncture whether the inmates were reacting to the “house of worship” or the “den of sin.” No matter—Sherley expresses his love for God and the strength his faith received from seeing that chapel each day, where “the door to the house of God is never locked.” The chorus sums up:

Inside the walls of prison my body may be

But my Lord has set my soul free

The Folsom concert (Johnny actually had two concerts in the prison that day) featured Cash standards such as “Folsom Prison Blues” and “Cocaine Blues.” Cash was backed by his future wife June Carter, The Tennessee Three, Carl Perkins and the Statler Brothers. The album regained commercial success for Cash, even leading to his own TV show. At Folsom Prison has since gone multi-platinum, and has been designated one of the greatest albums of all time.

While writing a devotional about “Greystone Chapel,” I thought of Paul's words in 2 Corinthians 4:7, how God's treasure is carried in jars of clay—namely, us. God used a song by an inmate—through Johnny Cash—to encourage others to look to Jesus, and to never forget those milestones in our walk with God that rebuild our faith when it is weakened. I wish I could tack on a happy ending for Sherley here, but his life after his eventual release took a very dark and sad turn.

Nonetheless, “Greystone Chapel” is a classic song about God's redemption power; His use of imperfect “jars or clay” to carry out His perfect will; and how our faith can be renewed and strengthened in seemingly hopeless situations, that for us can be our own prison.

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

And America's moral dive continues …

Ever heard of “post-birth abortion?” That's right, don't stop at killing an unborn child—make it okay to kill them up to 4-5 years old! There ARE immoral idiots out there who support this Nazi-style “choice,” which sadly is gaining traction with a larger number ofcollege students. With this kind of “philosophy” being pumped into the brains of young people through our schools and media, is it any wonder America has all but loosed its moral moorings, and that “anything goes?” (Anything, that is, except for Judeo-Christian principles, which are deemed “evil” by the elites who claim there is no right or wrong in the first place). It makes me wonder whether writer Mark Steyn's words are all too true: “If the culture’s liberal, if the schools are liberal, if the churches are liberal, if the hip, groovy business elite is liberal, if the guys who make the movies and the pop songs are liberal, then electing a guy with an 'R' after his name isn’t going to make a lot of difference.”

God help our country.