All posts tagged Johnny Cash

  • Weird America

    Weird America
    Brian Zahnd

    America has always been a weird amalgamation of the disparate — a strange mixture of admirable ambition and appalling hubris, an intoxicating brew of virtue and vice. America can always do things in a big way, but it can’t always make up its mind what it wants to do. It careens between Prohibition and ten thousand craft breweries as just one example of a country always reinventing itself. When you look at America you can see what you want to see because there are so many sides to America — so many contrasting, and often conflicting, personalities.

    For multitudes, America has indeed been a New Colossus embracing huddled masses yearning to breathe free. I don’t know the full story of why the Zahnds left Switzerland for America at the end of the nineteenth century, but I know it was to find a better life and, sure enough, we found it — just like millions of other immigrants from the teeming shores of ancient lands. And yet the inspiring story of hopeful immigrants finding a land of opportunity is not the whole story. We must be honest about the fact that this city of refuge is haunted by ghosts of slavery ships and weeping specters on the Trail of Tears. (America is so exceptional that it has twin original sins!)

    America the Ambitious set its sights on a continental-sized empire from the outset (from sea to shining sea), and today she’s a behemoth. America is so enormous in every way that it’s not one thing but four things.
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  • My 4th of July Prayer


    This Sunday I led our congregation in this “4th of July Prayer.”

    Father God, Creator of heaven and earth—
    You have made all the peoples of the earth for your pleasure,
    You have appointed the nations of the world for your glory.
    As a people who have pledged allegiance to our Lord Jesus Christ,
    We pray today for the nation in which we dwell.
    We pray you would grant us to we be governed by good and wise leaders;
    That we would be governed in such a manner that we may live in peace.
    We pray you help this nation strive for righteousness and justice;
    That your care for the widow, the orphan, the poor, and the alien—
    Would flow like a mighty stream through our nation.
    May we be a people of humility, generosity and compassion.
    May the weakest among us, the unborn and the unfortunate,  the elderly and the ill—
    Be shown your justice and mercy.
    We pray that we who are the followers of the Prince of Peace and his kingdom,
    Would be a peaceable people seeking to live in peace with one another.
    We pray that hate and acrimony would give way to love and harmony.
    We pray that the church of Jesus Christ in our land would be found faithful.
    We pray that we would be a faithful witness to the kingdom of God;
    That the church in this nation would be a city set upon a hill;
    That the church in this nation would faithfully model the way of salvation—
    The way of following Jesus Christ.
    We ask all of this in the name of your Son, our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.

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  • You Can Have It All?

    Because I was speaking to a gathering of pastors yesterday my Thinking Day is making an unusual Tuesday appearance. Perhaps I can think a little bit online.

    Saturday morning I saw some Christian television (I was on my way to ESPN College Game Day and came across it. Strange how I feel the need to qualify why I was watching Christian television). Anyway, the star of the show was promoting a new sermon series, “You Can Have It All.” Included in the package was a book entitled, How To Be A Millionaire God’s Way. Whatever.

    A little bit later I remarked to Peri, “Did you know you can have it all?”

    She replied, “What, my empire of dirt?”
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