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Yesterday "What's Wrong With This World" went for adds at CHR and ROCK radio. Here's an excerpt from an article I recently wrote on the beatitudes explaining what's behind the lyrics:

MATTHEW 5:3 "Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.”

Jesus addressed the spectators scattered on the hillside. “Blessed are the poor in spirit,” he announced. How strange. How seeker insensitive of Him. This is His first opportunity after all to make a good impression on such an enormous number of potential converts, a multitude of spiritual seekers. Why start like this, with poverty? He might as well have said, “You’re a loser. There’s nothing good in you and you have nothing of value to offer me or anyone else. You’re worthless inside.”

And well, that’s what He meant. The first step in being a disciple of Christ, the thing we must know first is not, “God loves you and has a plan for your life.” That’s true: God loves us no matter how messed up we are. But apparently what Jesus wants us to know first is just how messed up we are. Perhaps that’s because love is more precious when we understand how little we deserve it.

I watched Billy Graham on Larry King Live shortly after teen gunmen had slaughtered their classmates in Littleton, Colorado. Larry was racked by the same question that kept so many millions up at night, “Why did this happen?” And as Reverend Graham paused to collect his answer, I raised my hand at home, ready to rant. I just knew it was Marilyn Manson, video game violence, MTV, absent fathers... That was the list evangelical America had raised me to recite at moments like this. The problem, it had been taught to me, was always out there in “the world”, in need of legislation or a good boycott. But Billy Graham, much wiser than I, seemed to hear me and calmly explained what’s really wrong with the world, “Thousands of years ago, a young couple in love lived in a garden called Eden, and God placed a tree in the Garden and told them not to eat from the tree….” As it turns out, this world is not what’s wrong with me. I’m WHAT'S WRONG WITH THIS WORLD.

I’m poor in spirit, nothing good in me when I entered the world, incapable of thinking and acting rightly. My heart’s twisted, torn, tempted. And aren’t we all. For all have sinned and don’t come close to measuring up to God’s perfection. As Calvin wrote, “He only who is reduced to nothing in himself, and relies on the mercy of God, is poor in spirit.” [Commentary on a Harmony of the Evangelists, Matthew, Mark and Luke, I, by John Calvin (1558: translated by William Pringle, 1845: Eerdmans, n.d.) p. 261] So I pray to God with him… “Nothing in my hand I bring/Simply to thy cross I cling/Naked, come to thee for dress/Helpless, look to thee for grace/Foul, I to the fountain fly/Wash me, Saviour, or I die.”


Blogger Mark said...

I love that song. My favorite from the new CD (which i think is your strongest one yet.)

Funny story about the timing of me first hearing that song on my blog. http://markcarstairs.blogspot.com/2005/07/whats-wrong.html
Sorry for the shameless self promotion. :)

Blogger Kathryn said...

yeah, we're all in the same boat. . i love the hymn quoted at the end.

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Here's to more airtime!!!

I keep on requesting it on the only ccm we have around here, that is unless they would consider you urban gospel, but they must think I am talking about your sister, Sarah!?!

Blogger Kristen said...

I love the song- what truth is speaks!

I've added it to my radio show this week.


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