Last week there was even more bad news from the sky as Oklahoma City was smacked by awfully destructive tornado.Recently many have reasked the age old question, why would a good god allow something like this to happen? Or more frignteningly, did God cause this to happen? It is a recapitulation of the problem of evil, and the relationship between nature's chaos and the sovereign will of God.
His question is both unoriginal and understandable. It reminds me of one of the most underrated albums of the 90s, U2's Pop. The album is a fantastic collection of dark, electronic/acoustic hybrid songs. It was released right when electronic music was reaching the mainstream. A lot of the album's lyrics consist of theologically dense pleas asking god to step up and put an end to all of this darkness. Perhaps the most poignant is Wake Up Dead Man.
Jesus, Jesus help me I'm alone in this world And a fucked up world it is too Tell me, tell me the story The one about eternity And the way it's all gonna be...
Jesus, I'm waiting here boss I know you're looking out for us But maybe your hands aren't free Your father, He made the world in seven He's in charge of heaven Will you put in a word in for me?
Wake up, wake up dead man!
The bottom line for Christians is that we just run into too much trouble when we equate nature with God's will. The earth, just like all of us people, are off and need to be set right again. This is frustrating to many because of the relationship between the concept of God's sovereignty in the Bible (which is basically that anything outside our control is God's will) and God's permission for chaos to reign in all creation.
All of this, plus the discussion on social media last week, both helpful and unhelpful, got me to listening to U2 (something I hardly ever do) and playing my guitar.
While wrestling with all of this I wrote and recorded a song. It, like a lament Psalm, calls on a God who either doesn't care or doesn't want to do anything to stop nature from being such a dick to us, even though we are pretty much dicks to the rest of creation and each other. I should note that there is little redemption, but the song instead reflects the wrestling, not the conclusions. Also a bad word is used, sorry and get used to it, and please and thank you!
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Here are the lyrics to the song entitled Nature Sings (a sad sad song)
If the water and the wind they obey your Son, And the tempest swell will calm to bring him home. Then how come wind and water always conspire to drown all of these people that you’ve grown?
If Peter can stumble on the wild water, And nature sings your praises loud and strong, If the ocean is so fond of its heavenly father, Why can’t it leave your children’s homes alone?
Chorus: Nature sings a sad sad song sometimes, If our common Father were to give a shit we might just be all right If the rocks cry out, and the lilies dress so fine, Why does creation offer us this bitter rhyme from time to time?
Have we done something to incur the wrath, Of the lava fields and earth to cause to quake? We thought we were entrusted with their care, And as our cities bellow smoke we need a break.