According to some Christian outlooks we were made for another world. Perhaps, rather, we were made for
this world to recreate, reclaim, and renew unto God's future aspiration by the power of His Spirit. - R.E. Slater
Secularization theory has been massively falsified. We don't live in an age of secularity. We live in an age of
explosive, pervasive religiosity... an age of religious pluralism. - Peter L. Berger
Exploring the edge of life and faith in a post-everything world. - Todd Littleton
I don't need another reason to believe, your love is all around for me to see. - anon
Thou art our need; and in giving us more of thyself thou givest us all. - Khalil Gibran, Prayer XXIII
Be careful what you pretend to be. You become what you pretend to be. - Kurt Vonnegut
Religious beliefs, far from being primary, are often shaped and adjusted by our social goals. - Jim Forest
People, even more than things, need to be restored, renewed, revived, reclaimed, and redeemed; never throw out anyone. - anon
... Certainly God's love has made fools of us all. - R.E. Slater
An apocalyptic Christian faith doesn't wait for Jesus to come, but for Jesus to become in our midst. - R.E. Slater
Christian belief in God begins with the cross and resurrection of Jesus, not with rational apologetics. - Eberhard Jüngel, Jürgen Moltmann
Our knowledge of God is through the 'I-Thou' encounter, not in finding God at the end of a syllogism or argument.
There is a grave danger in any Christian treatment of God as an object. The God of Jesus Christ and Scripture is
irreducibly subject and never made as an object, a force, a
power, or a principle that can be manipulated. - Emil Brunner
Ehyeh Asher Ehyeh means "I will be that who I have yet to become." - God (Ex 3.14)
Our job is to love others without stopping to inquire whether or not they are worthy. - Thomas Merton
The church is God's world-changing social experiment of bringing unlikes and differents to the Eucharist/Communion table
to share life with one another as a new kind of family. When this happens we show to the world what love, justice, peace,
reconciliation, and life together is designed by God to be. The church is God's show-and-tell for the world to see how God wants
us to live as a blended, global, polypluralistic family united with one will, by one Lord, and baptized by one Spirit. - anon
The cross that is planted at the heart of the history of the world cannot be uprooted. - Jacques Ellul
The Unity in whose loving presence the universe unfolds is inside each person as a call to welcome the stranger, protect animals
and the earth, respect the dignity of each person, think new thoughts, and help bring about ecological civilizations. - John Cobb & Farhan A. Shah
If you board the wrong train it is of no use running along the corridors of the train in the other direction. - Dietrich Bonhoeffer

Friday, September 16, 2011

The Tallest Man on Earth - "Like the Wheel"




Like the Wheel by the Tallest Man on Earth
(Live on KEXP)






Like The Wheel
by The Tallest Man On Earth


Oh I wish I was the sparrow in your kid's eye
Like a fly above is summer all day long
On an island in the heart he has to carry
Past the many you have let into your song

And I said oh my lord why am I not strong
Like the wheel that keeps travelers traveling on
Like the wheel that will take you home

And in the forest someone is whispering to a tree now
This is all I am so please don't follow me
And it's your brother in the shaft that I'm swinging
Please let the kindness of forgetting set me free

And he said oh my lord why am I not strong
Like the wheel that keeps travelers traveling on
Like the wheel that will take you home

And on this Sunday someone's sititng down to wonder
Where the hell among these mountains will I be?
There's a cloud behind the cloud to which I'm yelling
I could hear you sneak around so easily

And I said oh my lord why am I not strong
Like the branch that keeps hangman hanging on

The Tallest Man On Earth, Kristian Matsson, gets lost in the stupor, in the pre-dawn and in the watery ramble of all that isn't muscle memory. He gets distracted by the darkness, intoxicated by it, and by the drizzle that he enjoys the company of from time to time. He leaves himself plenty of moments every day to just sink into this textured hammock of leathery toughness - where the street address is something along the lines of "a rock and a hard place," where he's able to sort through a lot of the details that typically make you sleepy or reserved and depressed that there haven't been many improvements to write home about.

The diminutive Matsson never finds himself making cranky songs about his woes and all the negligence that the world and its creatures sometimes show - twisting nipples, playing dumb and offering blank stares or gawks. He professes his love for the downtrodden examples of a man in the clutches of a struggle to make matters sweeter, for making food more succulent, for making the air soak into his lungs with more purity, and for the eyes to get better adjusted to the blackness if none of the above can be had with any sort of simplicity.

He professes his love, period, for all of these struggles as the steel a man, while stealing some of his sanity, even if it's not really being used all that much. He sings with a high bit of squeak in his voice, as if his throat is curled a bit at the end, puckering itself and just giving it all it's got to crow up to a young and vibrant swath of sunlight in the morning hours or to croon at a chalky moon that allows him to bask in a tolerable coldness.

The title track on Matsson's latest album, Shallow Grave, has him identifying the contrasts that exist with his surroundings and their inhabitants - the little birds, the sneaking people who live next door, the moles sleeping below the ground - as he sings about chilly waters and more:
 
Come see the ripples on the water
As I throw pebbles in the pond 
To let the sky go past the surface
Empty my pockets filled with stones
Come see the sadness of the sailor
As I will scratch his deep blue floor
Already in my years of bad luck
I broke his mirror long before…
I found the darkness in my neighbors
And I found the fire in the frost
And I found a season once claimed healthy.

The season once claimed healthy could be any of the four as Matsson seems to get into all of their extremities - the brittle colds, the oppressive heats, the rapid changes and the rainy weeks that seep through house foundations and flood the fish blind. He sings later in the session that "that old dark was mine," and it feels like a funeral, as if something was lost because somewhere along the line, the dark becomes scary.

The old dark, before you learn of so many bad things and bad people, isn't anything to be afraid of. It may actually be loving and comforting. But it always becomes something else, something to avoid, something that gets redefined and kind of ugly. There's a lingering desire in Tallest Man On Earth songs to overcome, to get to a slumber that's therapeutic, that he'll wake up from completely refreshed. He's just gotta keep closing his eyes and getting that first step out of the way.