Fighting the Law… and Losing

So, it’s winter and I’m depressed. This happens every year. I hate the cold weather, […]

Mike Burton / 2.28.10

So, it’s winter and I’m depressed. This happens every year. I hate the cold weather, and this year has been especially cold, by Charleston standards anyway.

Many of you in the Northeast are sneering about now. Thinking, “That Southern boy has it great! Complaining about temperatures in the 40’s and 50’s — Where does he get off?!”
You have a point. Nevertheless, I’m depressed. And it’s not just the weather, I guess. Life sort of sucks. Not much going my way, in MY opinion.

So, like I seem to do every winter, I’m listening to music a lot. Some of you who know me may be thinking…. Chris Knight, Ryan Adams, The Frames. Hell no. That would just make me more depressed.

I’m listening to my favorite music genre…. Punk.  Punk Rock is a total lie, mostly. Although the Punk scene, (and I mean REAL Punk) totally has the anthropology nailed (ie. Romans 7), the answer to said conundrum, however, is bleak. To say the least. Totally relies on action. Anarchy. Which requires effort. Count me out.

Anyway, I’m listening to The Clash’s brilliant cover of Bobby Fuller’s “I Fought The Law”. What a great tune. And so poignant and true to life:

I fought the Law… and the Law won.

So true in my life. Maybe not for you, but for me, spot on. What I was thinking about earlier, though, while listening, was this:

If it was just “The Law” (shivers up and down your spine) that I was up against, in Word, I’m not so afraid. It’s when the Law comes at me in everyday life that I’m terrified. I know what I ought to do, and I know what I ought not to do, and I believe that I’m forgiven for my “shortcomings”. But other people don’t. And other people won’t. And that is horrifying. To me, anyway.

So, the Comfortable Words anyone?

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9 responses to “Fighting the Law… and Losing”

  1. StampDawg says:

    I haven't been so touched by a post in a long time. So direct, so honest, so deeply personal.

    Thanks Mike.

  2. paul says:

    I agree with StampDawg.
    (Who is "StampDawg"?)
    This is a true and deep post.

    On a false but also true comfort front,
    may I suggest Los Straitjackets' recent cover (in a way) of "I Fought the Law":
    to wit, their 'Yuletide Beat' version of
    "Deck the Halls" for Christmas 2009?
    It got the guitar part exactly right.
    It is a nice surprise — and fits in with what you are saying, Mike.
    It is also available, to have-and-to-hold,
    in the form only of a red vinyl record.

  3. Frank Sonnek says:

    I know what I ought to do, and I know what I ought not to do, and I believe that I'm forgiven for my "shortcomings". But other people don't. And other people won't. And that is horrifying. To me, anyway.

    thanks for sharing your confession. I too find I am often more afraid of the opinions of others than I am of God´s opinion. it drives me to be false, go into hiding, and not confess my sins.

    "confess your sins to one another and you will be healed".

    It takes faith to trust that that is so and people won´t start lookin at ya kinda funny after….

  4. Margaret E says:

    Frank's comment really resonates with me. Not being immersed in a community of theologians, as you guys are – and, in fact, being part of a mostly secular community (I work as a journalist) – I've had LOTS of people "look at me funny" since becoming a believer a few years ago. I've lost a few "friends," the respect of some colleagues… even suffered some pretty serious marital problems. Over time, it's gotten easier, but I can't say I've learned to disregard the expectations and opinions of The World. Can't tell you how much Mockingbird means to me. I'm a lurker – don't comment much – but this is a place I find solace, inspiration, and even friendship. Thank you guys for what you do.

  5. Jimmy DuPre says:

    Martin Luther;” preaching from 1 Corin. 6:2. “ That I recognize myself as a sinner is right, as regards my own person, but since through faith in Christ I am no longer a child of Adam but a child of God I am truly holy. There is a fine distinction: in as much as I am a man and a child of Adam , I belong to hell. If I had on my side all manner of self appointed piety, austerity, fervent devotion, and good works, and wished to rely on them, I should be damned and lost.
    But if you believe that through Christ, who died for your sin and is risen for your salvation, you have become a brother of Christ and a child of God, and have been baptized in that faith, you can say, Now I am no longer a sinner, so long as I belong to this brotherhood. And if you can be bold and audacious about it, do so. I am still studying the matter, for it is no easy thing that a sinner should say: I have a chair in heaven next to St. Peter. And yet we must praise this sanctity and glory in it. Thus alone is the golden brotherhood.”

  6. David says:

    Read Gen12-30 or more and I hope you will find comfort in the promise that God has given that is Jesus Christ crucified and embrace the suffering as one in whom Christ dwells through the Holy Spirit who will comfort you

  7. KLeigh says:

    Madeleine L'Engle writes in STONE FOR A PILLOW: JOURNEYS WITH JACOB:
    "Perhaps most difficult of all is learning to bless ourselves just as we are. Before we can ask God to bless us, we must be able to accept ourselves as blessed – not perfect, not virtuous, not sinless – just blessed.
    "If we have to be perfect before we can know ourselves blessed, we will never ask for the transfiguring power of God's love, because of course we are unworthy. But we don't have to be worthy, we just have to acknowledge our need, to cry out 'Help me!' God will help us, even if it's in an unexpected and shocking way, swooping down on us to wrestle with us. And in the midst of the wrestling we, too, will be able to cry out 'Bless me!'
    "I am certain that God will bless me, but I don't need to know how. When we think we know exactly how the one who made us is going to take care of us, we're apt to ignore the angel messengers sent us along the way."

    Here's to honesty — and the great Re-Naming Christ has accomplished in our lives. We do not have to live in defeat.

  8. Michael Cooper says:

    Burton, you have received Grace. I really don't understand why you are so depressed and not out there winning gold medals like Bodie Miller! Right.
    Listen to some real blues. It's about the law of sin and death with no hope of gold medals this side of glory. It's about failure and giving up and the unspoken God being somehow in the total defeat, but not as a quick-change artist.

  9. Mich says:

    Wonderful post and too true-there are times I realize I have really screwed up or hurt people and I beg God for forgiveness, but other folks–especially fellow Christians?!–are not so forgiving, and tell me to TRY harder–and THAT's when Im breaking rocks in the Hot sun!

    I LOVE that song as performed by the Clash.

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