Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Not-so-Christmas Classics Part 2

This is the second part in a 3-part series on Christmas songs that are worthy of a listen, but you might not hear them on any radio stations during the time from Thanksgiving to Christmas.
Click here to read Part 1

The second song is "The Rebel Jesus" by Jackson Browne. Click here to watch/listen, or just watch below

For most of us, this song may be quite convicting. The first thing that catches your eye is probably the title. It refers to Jesus as a rebel. Sometimes we think too much of Jesus as a guy that was always hanging out with sheep or children, and we forget all the trouble he stirred up. The truth is- Jesus probably wouldn't fit in at most churches today...but anyway... Here are a few thoughts.

The song starts off cheerfully as the lyrics paint a picture that we're all familiar with- the shopping scene and the scene at home on Christmas. But then it takes a turn...

"And they fill their churches with their pride and gold, as their faith in Him increases, but they've turned the nature that I worship in, from a temple - to a robbers' den" This is in reference to Matthew 21: 13 (Jesus is quoting Isaiah & Jeremiah as he drives the merchants from the temple) These were strong words from Jeremiah, Jesus, and now Jackson... as Christians, we have two options of how we react- 1) get defensive and decide he doesn't know what he's talking about (not unlike the Pharisees), or 2) use this as a reminder of what the temple or church is really for- a house of prayer and worship.

"We guard our world with locks and guns, and we guard our fine possessions, and once a year when Christmas comes, we give to our relations, and perhaps we give a little to the poor if the generosity should seize us, but if any one of us should interfere in the business of why there are poor...they'd get the same as the rebel Jesus" This is the sermon within the song- we spend so much time taking care of our own possessions, and taking care of our family, that we forget who we're supposed to be looking after- read Deuteronomy 15: 1-11. Browne's use of the word seize- which means it's forced out of guilt, is a great description of how our attitudes seem to be when people are in need. Here's a great video about how much Americans spend on Christmas versus how much it would take to supply the entire world with access to clean drinking water. Work for social justice. Be generous with the blessings God has given you and God will bless you for doing so.

"So I bid you pleasure, and I bid you cheer...from a heathen and a pagan, on the side of the rebel Jesus." This part raises the curiosity as to what Browne's religious views are. Was he just being humble- referring to himself as a pagan/heathen instead of just calling himself a sinner for dramatic effect? I found this on another blog (click to read about Jackson Browne's religious views).

Look for Part 3 of this series to post on Friday, December 19th.


Jeremy Killian said...

Great post, man! I love this series. I agree, Jesus wouldn't fit into most churches these days..I'm not even sure he'd fit into my life most of the time!

Russ Bowlin said...

thanks. good point- I'd have to agree that Jesus would be one of those friends I'd only choose to hang out with if I wanted to be served a piece of "humble pie"

Jason Huffman said...

I would like to add "How Many Kings" by Downhere. I know Christmas season is over, but I stumbled on this song while letting my itunes roll today. It is a commentary on the gifts the wisemen brought, similar to "We Three Kings" and the nature of who Christ was as told by the gifts. Good stuff!