Wednesday, January 18, 2006

I heard a song on the radio from Dave Carter and Tracy Grammar and it reminded me a lot of Dan Harper's exploration of the idea that all theology is local. I'm always torn between the centrality of home and place and the idea that many of us lead increasingly post-geographic lives. Some folks have expressed confusion over Dan's use of the term "post modern." Sometimes I find it more useful to use the term "context specific" rather than the vague and perilous post modern. It's a technical way of saying the same thing. The idea of the post modern is that "high" modern theories claimed to explain everything, everywhere in totality.

The song I heard to day does a reasonable job of showing both the positive and negative aspects of a strictly local view that is well grounded in a particular place.

Ordinary Town

© 2001 Dave Carter / Dave Carter Music (BMI)

common cool, he was a proud young fool in a kick-ass wal-mart tie
rippin down the main drag, trippin on the headlights rollin by
in the early dawn when the cars were gone, did he hear the master's call?
in the five-and-dime did he wake and find he was only dreamin after all, 'cause

this is an ordinary town and the prophet stands apart
this is an ordinary town and we brook no wayward heart
and every highway leads you prodigal back home
to the ordinary sidewalks you were born to roam

rock of ages, love contagious, shine the serpent fire
so sang the sage of sixteen summers in the upstairs choir
so sang the old dog down the street beside his wailing wall
"go home, go home" the mayor cried when jesus came to city hall, 'cause

this is an ordinary town, and the prophet stands alone
this is an ordinary town and we crucify our own
and every highway leads you prodigal again
to the ordinary houses you were brought up in

raised on hunches and junk food lunches and punch-drunk ballroom steps
you get to believing you're even-steven with the kids at fast track prep
so you dump your bucks on a velvet tux and you run to join the dance
but your holy shows and the romans know you're just a child of
circumstance, 'cause

this is an ordinary town and the prophet has no face
this is an ordinary town and the seasons run in place
and every highway leads you prodigal and true
to the ordinary angels watchin over you

Another Dave and Tracy song that I have mentioned before has a similar sense of place but less ambivalence:

Gentle Arms Of Eden

© 2000 Dave Carter / Dave Carter Music (BMI)

on a sleepy endless ocean when the world lay in a dream
there was rhythm in the splash and roll, but not a voice to sing
so the moon shone on the breakers and the morning warmed the waves
till a single cell did jump and hum for joy as though to say

this is my home, this is my only home
this is the only sacred ground that i have ever known
and should i stray in th dark night alone
rock me goddess in the gentle arms of eden

then the day shone bright and rounder til the one turned into two
and the two into ten thousand things, and old things into new
and on some virgin beach head one lonesome critter crawled
and he looked about and shouted out in his most astonished drawl

this is my home ...

then all the sky was buzzin and the ground was carpet green
and the wary children of the wood went dancin in between
and the people sang rejoicing when the field was glad with grain
this song of celebration from their cities on the plain

this is my home ...

now there's smoke across the harbor, and there's factories on the shore
and the world is ill with greed and will and enterprise of war
but i will lay my burden in the cradle of your grace
and the shining beaches of your love and the sea of your embrace

this is my home ...


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