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Sunday, January 09, 2005
Treasure and Thoughts
Turns out there is a song by recording artist Jim White called "That Girl From Brownsville, Texas". The song is more about a spiritual conflict than about a girl from Brownsville, Texas, and I agree with El Mas Chingon when he wrote that Jim White just may be using Brownsville, Texas as an allusion to the Assemby of God Church in Pensacola, Florida called The Brownsville Revival. The allusion also makes more sense because Jim White is a Florida native. My iTunes categorizes the song in the folk genre, but from what I can tell from the clips I have heard from his album, his music also has elements of country, blues, rock and electronica. I bought the single from iTunes and I am enjoying the song's slow and dreamy style and contemplative lyrics. It makes me want to pull out a Lone Star beer (the only beer I can tolerate), a wooden rocking chair and spend some time on my porch. hehe. I just may have to buy the album. Also, even though the song is not "per say" about Brownsville...I can relate to the spirtual conflict presented in the song.
Click here to listen to a clip of the song
Here are the lyrics to "That Girl From Brownsville, Texas" by Jim White.
I say "God, if you ain't smiling on me, then you ain't no friend of mine." It's late at night and this motel room's drunk, I been listening to the lonesome wind crying. My best friend once said, "Jim, what you cling to, that's the thing that you had best forget. For ain't no rose bed ever gonna bloom in an untended field of regrets."
[CHORUS] Guess I been busy killing time counting bullet holes in state line signs. I led a life of lonely drifting trying to rise above the buzzards in my mind. You get dizzy chasing 'round the tail of what you need to leave behind. Oh sweet Jesus, won't you help me?'Cause all I'm trying to do is plant them seeds of love with that girl from Brownsville, Texas.
Midnight radio, a crackly white gospel station kicking out the sounds of some half-assed revival. Me, I never much cared for the feelings you get quoting scriptures from out of the Bible. For as the crow flies I know only one cure for a permanent tear in your eye. You gotta crank like hell that rope on old sorrow's well 'til the day that the bucket comes up dry.
Now dreams are just prayers without the put on airs... and though my history of dreams is a scandal of back-assward schemes and romantic disasters where Lord, you dealt me more cards than I could handle. Still from the lips of this half-hearted sinner comes the pledge of a half-baked saint. 'Cause Lord I might finally be willing to become the religious fool you always wanted me to be... if in return we could just tell that girl I'm the man you and me both know that I ain't.
It's a sweet song in that stored honey of the soul kind of way; not that sweet love song kind of way.
I also have been wanting to reflect upon the rise of evangelism in the Rio Grande Valley. It seems like evangelist churches are popping everywhere, their growing popularity marked by the rise of warehouse style churchs-trying to meet the demand for space. Largely, I am more intrigued by this topic as a cultural phenomenon and not just because of my evangelical roots. But that plays a role too. Let me tell you, if I were not a different person from 8 years ago...I would probably be testifying the gospel to you and not the arts from this blog. But that is something I won't go into detail about.
I think as a cultural phenomenon, it is important that the evangelical movement within the Valley be understood, because our region is growing and diversifying and sooner or later, bridges of communication are going to be needed between the different sub-cultures of the Valley as they cross paths more often. That is an intercultural fact...understanding is the key to resolution...so lets understand one another before any conflict is generated. Examples of religious conflict are not so prevalent yet, but there are signs of miscommunication which leads to cultural conflict; for example how some Catholics refer to an evangelist or protestant (which are different and I will point out in a bit) as "Christian". Any person who believes that Jesus Christ is the messiah, the son of God is a Christian, that including Catholics (Roman and Orthodox), Evangelists (Baptists, Methodists, Assembly of God, Non-Denominational...) and Protestants (Lutherans, Episcopilians, Presbyterians, Anglicans...) . Then you have groups that have Judeo-Christian roots but are not necessarily Christian (depends on whose perspective) because they either see Christ as a prophet (and not as the messiah) or have extended Christianity literally or figuratively (in terms of dogma)...like Mormons, Jehovah's Wittnesses and Unitarians. Don't quote me on this though...I am no scholar and I could be wrong. I am telling you as I understand it since my parents have always been active in church and my dad came close to being a minister...religion and faith have always been hot topics at my family's kitchen table.
It would also be an interesting introspective to see if the Rise of Evangelism in the Valley is the result of assimilation or aculturation? Another interesting introspective would be to study what direction Evangelism is taking today, which is a conflict within itself in the evangelist sector. By conflict I refer to tradition vs. modernity. For example, my parents are still very active in their baptist church and for the most part it is a traditional and conservative church. Recently though, the younger members of the church have brought in gospel band music during the church services (the popular music you may find in newer churches where the congregation read the lyrics off from a large screen while a band plays on stage). But the older members of my parents' church are just not adjusting to the change and prefer to have the traditional piano and organ for music. As an inactive Christian, I really don't know what to think or if I should give any input. I think sometimes, churches get so wound up on putting on a show, that the spiritual message gets lost. I think spiritual contemplation and meditation are loosing ground in churches for mega size entertainment and stage effects. Yet as an artist, I also don't see anything wrong with people wanting to express themselves spirtually through creativity, even if it means using mega speakers or recreating a hurricane on a stage (I kid you not, a church in The Woodlands did this). I guess it depends on how the boat floats for each church.
TAOB blogger's note: please excuse my grammar..I know there are a lot of mistakes but my nyquil beckons me to bed
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