Wednesday, February 28, 2007

The machine

I just bought the Oh! Gravity album by Switchfoot and listened to it all last night. I then listened to it again this morning. The lyrics are really good and I think one song has some thoughts that need to be analyzed.

One of the main things that Jon Foreman (the lead singer) says in his albums (the other ones have a similar message) is that the material world isn't all there is. Meant to Live boasts about "second life" and the innate feeling that "everything inside screams" for it. In Oh! Gravity the song American Dream speaks to the need for more in order to prove success.

When success is equated with excess
The ambition for excess wrecks us
As top of the mound becomes the bottom line
When success is equated with excess

We can't find new life this way. It's not the way to this life's greatest joys. Jon goes on in that same song to exclaim:

I want out of this machine
It doesn't feel like freedom

I do too. Freedom is "the power to act or speak or think without externally imposed restraints" and if we are acting on the compulsion that the more things we have the better we'll feel, well I point you to almost every celebrity. They have almost everything they want and how happy are they? I think that unless they're lying to themselves or have God in their life, they're not very happy.

Back when I learned about economics in High School, they gave me the definition of economics: "the efficient use of limited resources in the face of infinite wants." And that, my friends, is all our problem. We have infinite wants, celebrities have infinite wants, we all want, want, want and never stop wanting. If freedom is the absence of "externally imposed restraints" we will never find freedom unless we can fulfill our eternal wants.

People see those above them, those with seemingly everything they need, and assume that "if I can just get all that they have, then I'll be happy, then I'll be free." What happens when they get there? They realize, as many have, that when they get to the top of the ladder, it's leaning against the wrong wall. No matter how rich you get, no matter what possessions you own, no matter how much you strive for those things, you'll never be fulfilled.

Jesus offers (and is the only one qualified to) us a way to freedom. Let's face it, wanting infinitely is an "external restraint." If we could somehow lie to ourselves and say we didn't want those things, then that lie would be an external constraint as well. The only thing that can satisfy an infinite amount of wants is an infinite being. And the only thing that can be infinite and act towards us, is God.

So why do we search in finite things to stuff this infinite hole? Because we can't see another way. Because the correct way is often the hardest way. Because we're lazy? Maybe...but I think if we looked through the eyes of faith more often. If we saw that our wants were actually infinite, it would make sense that only an infinite being could make those wants go away, and make us truly free. John 8:31-32 "To the Jews who had believed him, Jesus said, "If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples. Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free."

Jesus offers a way, hold to his teaching and you will know the truth. Psalm 23:1 "The LORD is my shepherd, I shall not be in want." What does a shepherd do, teaches sheep to follow him, to keep them safe. If you hold to his teaching you shall not be in want.

1 comment:

SolShine7 said...

The Beautiful Letdown is one of my favorite albums. I haven't heard Oh! Gravity yet (except the two singles) but I really want to!!

Good post.