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Even if You’re Not into Country Music

October 11, 2019

John Vidakovich is a super-close friend, colleague, and the most serious Beatles fan I’ve ever met. A couple of days ago he recommended I make time for the new Ken Burns film.

United Methodist Bishop Ken Carter recently wrote this about it, which I share here with his graciously expressed permission

Some of my insights from Ken Burns’ Country Music documentary thus far:

1. Johnny Cash was both a prophet and a priest.

2. The struggle is to find one’s authentic voice. And it requires courage.

3. Some artists are simply ahead of their times.

4. Self-destructive behavior is often a part of a narrative that began with abuse.

5. Appealing to the bottom line in music leads to mediocrity.

6. Succession—blessing the gifts of the next generation—is complex.

7. Austin, Texas was the salvation of Nashville, Tennessee.

8. If you don’t know country music, you could begin with three songs: Sunday Morning Coming Down; He Stopped Loving Her Today; and Pancho and Lefty. If you’re not into country music, I recommend watching episodes six or seven first.

— All I can do is point to Psalm 49:4 in The Message version:

“I set plainspoken wisdom before you,
my heart-seasoned understandings of life.

“I fine-tuned my ear to the sayings of the wise.

“I solve life’s riddle with the help of a stringed instrument.”

Yup, Psalm 49. And/or country music.

For real. 

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