Garden Walls (a reappropriated love song about prevenient grace)

In 1999, I wrote a sonnet while sitting on a couch at a party watching the girl I had a crush on make out with another guy about 5 feet away. I turned it into a song with the same chord pattern as U2’s “With Or Without You” a couple years later and it became the opening song on the only album of my short-lived rock band the Junior Varsity Superheroes who broke up after our CD release party in 2006. About three years ago, I started to get the sense that Jesus feels the same way that I felt at that party every time He sees us make out with idols. And today He told me to record it. I added some interspersed Biblical narrative to the original song. Tell me what you think. It was recorded by my iPhone on my favorite piano in the world in Goodson Chapel at Duke Divinity School at about 1:50 pm on Monday, October 15th, 2012.

Rachel Corrie and the wrath of God

An Israeli court ruled today that there was nothing negligible or criminal about the March 2003 death of American peace activist Rachel Corrie who was crushed by an Israeli Caterpillar bulldozer while standing in front of a house the bulldozer was about to flatten. Rachel had gone to Gaza as part of the International Solidarity Movement (ISM), an activist organization that put Westerners in Palestinian neighborhoods to prevent the Israeli military from using live ammunition and bulldozers against civilians with impunity by creating international diplomatic consequences for doing so. None of the activists had died before Rachel did. Nobody thought the Israelis would dare to kill an American. The assumption was that Americans and Europeans could use their privilege to protect Palestinian civilians from bullets and bulldozers. This tactic had worked throughout the eighties in Central America. I did exactly what Rachel was doing in the summer of 2000 in a much more boring and peaceful Zapatista village in Chiapas, Mexico that was theoretically under threat by the Mexican army. When Rachel died, I was doing media support for ISM from the Tri-City Action for Peace office in Saginaw, Michigan, forwarding their press releases to US media outlets and calling news desks to save them international phone costs. Rachel’s death was part of how I discovered the critical importance of the wrath of God. Continue reading