The Optimist's Lament

by madcrasher

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1.
See, when I said "gain the world and lose your soul", I didn't think you were the one going down that hole. I wasn't even talking to you; I thought your stance Of holding to tradition'd keep you out of this dance. I saw priests chasing power and acclaim, I saw men of God trying to build up their own name, I saw the church fight for power instead of what's true, But I never saw it coming from you. Now we're stuck in a mess we built ourselves, So focused on the prize that we lost ourselves. Even if we could win at the end of the day, We ignored all the bodies left along the way. While we openly proclaimed to love our neighbor, We kept making excuses when it came time to labor. And for all the times that we proclaimed God's love, If they were different from us, we'd just give them the shove And say we don't want to reward sin. Did we forget the state that Christ found us all in? Yet when we minister through political machines, Suddenly the ends justify the means? But if you read the Word this way, Suddenly what's wrong becomes okay? At the risk of painting with a brush too broad, Are we sure we're following the right God? Trying to sieze power all over the free land, We forgot that God's got the whole world in His hand! I don't know what the future holds, I say let's sit back and watch it unfold. The end times we want are going to happen anyway; It's been ten years, yet I still gotta say: I don't know what the future holds, I say let's sit back and watch it unfold. I'm back rapping out of genuine fear That our American church has kinda always veered Away from the Truth that we claim to profess, Trading it for relevance that's fleeting at best. We latch on to issues that don't really apply, Give them bread and wine, then force-feed them pie, Driving off our children with the issues we make, Then we claim that it's their mistake? Would we go to the lions for Christ? Would we risk life and limb for his sacrifice? Or are we too busy with our culture war, Saying "Turn the other cheeck" doesn't work anymore? I'm not sliding back, my faith hasn't died, But if we truly are Christ's bride, Should we not then be concerned that our leaders sit Next to the great mocker?
2.
I'm tired, y'all. I've survived moments before, Points in time it's easier to just walk out the door Than brace, elbow bent, against the crash of fate; Stand my ground while the waters around dissapate. This is different, less like a wave than a bog: Knee-deep mud in a perpetual slog. Hoping for a break, just a chance to recharge, But the specter of it all keeps looming large. Every direction the world's falling down, All that was once stable keeps shifting around. Too many that I want to trust in to light the way Started letting their true colors out to play. I wondered if the culture held more sway than we thought; The men from Nashville assured me that it did not. I wanted to debate, but they wrote Article Ten Drawing lines in the sand between the sheep in the pen. I wondered why the ones so concerned with life Voted to keep the sick and lame under more strife; Turns out, they just didn't want a win To go to a man not political kin. And it keeps piling on: cries to end racism's trap End with platitudes and words instead of fixing the gap. Children die in school, and we just roll the dice Saying young lives lost are just part of freedom's price. Proud ignorance rebranded as smart; Attempts at compromise just drive us more apart. And either way: humanism, common grace; No matter what you call it, it's fleeing this place. As the DJ up top spins his words in the air Saying only him, in charge, can make life fair. I want to do more with all this than just vent, So hear me now, Yahweh, in my lament: How long, O Lord, will this injustice stand? I've played my part, I know; but it must end! How long must we stumble through this night While the enemy makes war with overwhelming might? How long will my country be held in sway By those who abuse their power every day? How long must I carry this burden of stress Fearing I and my neighbor will be stuck in this mess? I can't fix this, I am only one man. You are God, I am not; I can't do what you can. You know the hearts that need work for this change to begin. You have the picture to see where the sickness has been. I'm scared, God. I'm scared because I don't know How this chapter's going to end, where it's all going to go, What's still left to face before we reach the dawn, How many battles we'll lose before the war is won. And you tell me not to fear for I am loved by you, And even though I doubt, I know that that's still true. So Father, Son, and Spirit, hear my prayer tonight: In the name of Jesus, make this right! May Your kingdom come here on earth, May we see in each other what we're truly worth. Teach us all to love freely without reservation. Show Your glory belongs to all nations. Comfort the afflicted, and afflict us comfortable; Flip the tables that we used to sell our souls, And show your nature I'm afraid that we lost: That the love You have is more than worth the cost. I cannot rest until I see you face to face; Until then, make me a giver of your grace. May the world know you as you help me to labor To love You and love my neighbor.

about

Honestly, I would have been happy to not write another "rap song." I've always liked synthpop and electronic music the most as a genre; rap was where I could satisfy my need for rhythm and perform without having to worry about whether I was off-key.

Then 2016 happened. And I thought I should maybe revisit one of my older, more political songs.

Then 2020 happened. And I had to.

See, "Think About It" was written back in 2007 in a fit of conservative snark. I don't disagree with many of the ideas in it, but the fact remains that when I wrote it, I had a particular target in mind. Turns out, I should have had a different target. And with things, politically, the way they are, the time has come to correct this error.

But that's not the title track. Because this is the optimist growing up. Again. I knew when I first wrote "The Optimist Manifesto" (the original demo) that it was the kind of song I'd have to revisit. The fact I ended up revisiting it a year later (with the album version) just proved my point. But now the world has shifted again, and my foundations have been shaken again.

In case I haven't made it clear: I am deeply concerned by the political direction taken by the mainstream American church. If you're American, I encourage you you listen with discernment and prayerfully consider your vote this year.

Thanks for listening, and I hope when we next meet it is under better circumstances.

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released September 25, 2020

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madcrasher Greenville, South Carolina

There is no bio. A bio implies there is, in fact, a story to be told and that this is not, in fact, just some guy messing around on his computer.

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