The Pen is mightier than the sword, but the Pen must sometimes move the sword against corruption if the corrupt are not moved by the pen.. An idea without an implementer is useless. "The Rulers do not carry the sword in vain"Rom 13:4

Sunday, December 1, 2013

A Room full of Sadness. Gary Barlow (Take That, X Factor Judge)

Interview with Gary Barlow: picking up at the point where he reflects on the loss of his fourth child stillborn just prior to the Olympics gig he was to do. (and did)
A room full of sadness, a broken heart / No science or religion could make this whole / To be loved, but never loved / To have, but never hold
With another track called God and references to souls, heaven and guardian angels, it is not only Gary’s most introspective work but also his most ambitious to date.
Questioning the whole concept of faith and God, he explains: “I do think about religion loads. It seems like quite an old-fashioned thing now but I’ve started to consider what goes on out there. You do as you get older.
“When big things happen in your life and you lose people you love, you do consider it, definitely.
“I do pray, I pray a lot... usually on take-off because I’m scared of flying. I honestly do. I put my hands together and say, ‘Please God, keep us safe’.
“I don’t know if there is a God but I do say prayers, and I say prayers for people. There are no answers on this record but there are considerations and questions of the whole idea around it.”

How I wish I could introduce Gary to St Paul.  "Gary...  meet Paul, he's from Tarsus and might be able to solve or answer some of your questions that you raised in that interview"

The first thing Gary might ask is.. "Paul?  arn't you that bloke who tried to destroy Christianity???"
Paul "Yes, Gary...that was me in my old life."
Gary "But what happened to cause you to change into the most prominent writer of the contents of the  New Testament and to be willing to suffer as you have, like being stoned and left for dead etc??"
Paul:  "Well Gary, it was totally out of my own control.-I was heading to Damascus one day to carry out some arrests of Christians, and I encountered a combination of a light from above and a voice. Long story short, I met the risen Christ and my life and heart went from East to West.. darkness to light.  It was not really a matter of choice.. who in their right mind would argue with an experience like that?"
Gary "But Paul... you speak a lot about Gods 'love'... somehow I'm not really feeling that right now, because the new little life that came from my wife and I, came into the world without life!...how can God be love?"
Paul "Gary, I won't try to lather you up with sentimentality,  the simple truth is that for those who love God, he works everything together for good. Miscarriages happen all across the world, they are a fact of life. Should we really particularize them as if we were the only person on the planet who experienced one ? After all.. how many other people that you know and have heard of having miscarriages caused you to ask such questions?  I do  know one thing, in Christ you can have the strength and comfort and most of all assurance that He is sovereign, in control, and all wise.  Do you think I was not tempted to ask questions about God's love when the Jews were hurling rocks at my head..and as I drifted into unconsciousness by the roadside?.. but in my case I always look back to his saving grace that I encountered on the road to Damascus, that was beyond real, yet intensely real."

At this point I believe Gary will be trying to work out his own situation.  He might have a few struggles about Paul saying "for those who love God...he works all things together for good"... perhaps he felt a bit annoyed with that? ie.. "I've not gone to Church for decades.. so God doesn't care about me?" or.. "Well.. losing an innocent baby is a pretty big experience.. why would he allow this to happen?"

I don't think there are any completely satisfying answers for these situations. "God..why is my son gay?"  "God..why is my daughter a lesbian".. "God..why does my child have 7 seizures a night?"
In my own case I can only speak from experience. The night my mum died horrifically (cancer of the neck).. I was in a cold chilling sweat... realizing that she won't make it....contemplating life without the person by whom I came into the world..... as I reflected on this, it was around midnight, I heard a voice.. "tonight you must lose a loved one"... It was one of those 'clear but internal'...not audible. Sure enough, within a short time the phone rang, it was the hospital... she had gone. Dad was shattered, crushed, destoyed, but I?  For reasons I can only put down to that 'voice', I was calm, unafraid and confident.    

I wondered later on if that was 'real' or just my own deeply troubled psyche doing it's subconscious thing... and I heard that same 'voice'....and it referred me to something I could not possibly know, and I was assured.  An angel?  God? the Risen Christ? all of the above?  I have no idea and in my case I certainly do not want to generalize this to be some kind of norm... not a chance. The point I'm making though is that 'religion'....as in Christianity... meaning a life lived in Christ, after repentence and faith, can, will, and does meet our needs in those difficult times.
It seems to me that Gary is not far from the kingdom, I just hope and pray he does not go the wrong direction and meet some 'nice' Muslim who entices him into that dark faith.  The other lyric that deserves some attention is "Science or Religion could make this whole".... Let's look at "Science" now.. I agree with him on that. All 'science' will tell you is that we are meaningless blobs of glorified protoplasm with a few meaningless neural networks that enable us to function in certain ways.  So, agreed..science will not answer these big questions, other than by "suck it up, that's life get over it".
"I came that they might have life, and have it abundantly" (Jesus)

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