Wednesday, February 27

Gonorrhea on Valentine’s Day

A seminal person from my adolescence and early adulthood has died. You’ve probably never heard of Larry Norman, but I considered him a friend and a hero. Larry died on Saturday after a life rich with love, stories, faith, conversation, friends, music, controversy, heartbreak, travel, adventure, and creativity. He is also known as the “Father of Christian Rock,” which, in my opinion, is a hilarious title for him. I’d call him a Revolutionary Heart.

See here some of the lyrics to his song The Great American Novel as supporting evidence:

i was born and raised an orphan
in a land that once was free
in a land that poured its love out on the moon
and i grew up in the shadows
of your silos filled with grain
but you never helped to fill my empty spoon

and when i was ten you murdered law
with courtroom politics
and you learned to make a lie sound just like truth
but i know you better now
and i don't fall for all your tricks
and you've lost the one advantage of my youth

you kill a black man at midnight
just for talking to your daughter
then you make his wife your mistress
and you leave her without water
and the sheet you wear upon your face
is the sheet your children sleep on
at every meal you say a prayer
you don't believe but still you keep on

and your money says in God we trust
but it's against the law to pray in school
you say we beat the russians to the moon
and i say you starved your children to do it

you are far across the ocean
but the war is not your own
and while you're winning theirs
you're gonna lose the one at home
do you really think the only way
to bring about the peace
is to sacrifice your children
and kill all your enemies

the politicians all make speeches
while the news men all take note
and they exagerate the issues
as they shove them down our throats
is it really up to them
whether this country sinks or floats
well i wonder who would lead us
if none of us would vote

well my phone is tapped and my lips are chapped
from whispering through the fence
you know every move i make
or is that just coincidence
well you try to make my way of life
a little less like jail
if i promise to make tapes and slides
and send them through the mail

and your money says in God we trust
but it's against the law to pray in school
you say we beat the russians to the moon
and i say you starved your children to do it
you say all men are equal all men are brothers
then why are the rich more equal than others
don't ask me for the answer i've only got one
that a man leaves his darkness when he follows the Son.

(Click HERE to hear him sing it.)

Once upon a time, I met Larry at a retreat that my youth pastor had arranged. That was in January of 1987, I believe. We were in northern Indiana, and on the church bus trip back to Indianapolis we stopped at McDonald’s. Larry said, “C’mon, I’ll buy you a burger.” (This still makes the VeryBestFriend and me and laugh.) We were NUTS about both Larry and our youth minister. Later that year, VBF and I went to Florida on spring break; my dad and mom drove. VBF and I insisted on playing Larry the whole way down. And back. Not only that, we frequently piped up with "I'm Larry Norman." "No, I'M Larry Norman." I'm surprised my dad didn't throw us out of the car.

Anyway, sometime during the retreat weekend, Larry said about this life and the hereafter, “I think you get where you’re going.”

Enjoy your destination, Larry.

Friday, February 22


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