04 June 2009

Johnny Cash: Hurt, Integrity, Loss, Faith

I am listening to David Williams of Laidlaw College in the Mars Hill Dialogue - POP.

Williams says Johnny Cash could identify with the Apostle Paul, was intrigued by Paul, because of the thorn in the flesh, the ongoing wrestle of legalism and zeal for the law.

Johnny was criticised for singing in the prisons, told that His Christian fans wouldn't like it.
He responded, "Then they are not Christians." He saw, from early on, very clearly, the heart of Jesus, whether it was embodied obviously in the Church or not.

Williams quoted this Rolling Stone article:

Being around Johnny Cash is a daunting experience. He is tall, and, though the illness he now lives with has broadened him around the middle and grayed that sleek mane of black hair, he remains a formidable physical presence. As he talks, he will occasionally put his hands over his eyes and rub them, as if he is in pain. Those eyes look as though they have seen everything, have absorbed all the lessons those experiences had to offer and now are hungry for more. His intelligence is keen, and his innate dignity informs every move he makes and every word he speaks. It is heartbreaking to watch him, a giant, struggle with his burden. The knowledge that Cash has walked both sides of the line separating sin and salvation only thickens the air of integrity that always surrounds him.
Cash suffered from a debilitating illness later in life and he saw clearly what was of value, and what was not. He had lost his wife June and then several friends and could see his own painful end coming. He knew he hadn't lived his life the way he would have liked, the feasts did not last.

Cash begins this song,"The Far Side Banks of Jordan," accompanying himself on acoustic guitar. "I believe my steps are growing wearier each day," he sings. "Got another journey on my mind/The lures of this old world/Have ceased to make me want to stay/And my one regret is leaving you behind."

He lived with integrity, the struggle of being human here, with vices that hurt those he loved, with the desire to do better, with authenticity and the hope that others would respond likewise.

"A man of faith with contradictions."
Johnny Cash described by David Williams.

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