Monday, June 10, 2013

Don't "try and find Jesus on your own"

Last year I was at the doctor’s office when John Denver song ‘Blow up your TV’ came on the radio. The chorus of the song goes like this:

“Blow up your TV, throw away your paper;
Move to the country; build you a home.
Plant a little garden; eat a lot of peaches;
Try and find Jesus on your own.”

The singer of the song was given this advice by a topless woman who was willing to join him in giving her advice a try. In the last chorus we learn what the result was:

“We blew up our TV; threw away our paper;
Went to the country. Built us a home.
Had a lot of children. Fed ’em on peaches.
They all found Jesus on their own.”

I am interested in this song (which you can watch on Youtube here) because it gets to the heart of how many Americans feel about their faith.
For countless Americans, Jesus is essentially someone to connect with on your own. While church may be important, it is essentially an accessory. If the communion of the saints has any importance, it is to facilitate each of us finding Jesus on our own. And if something else (say, moving to the country) can get the job done with equal efficacy, then the larger community of Christians becomes unnecessary and can even be an encumbrance.

The freedom represented by moving to the country and eating home-grown produce functions in Denver’s song as the appropriate metaphor for a religious quest that is essentially an individualistic journey of self-discovery.

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