Blake I. Collier | The Dirty Deacon

B.A. in History from The University of Texas at Arlington | M.A. in History from Texas Tech University | Contributor for Mockingbird | Co-creator of Son of Byford | Lover of horror, hip-hop, beer & anything British | Sinner saved by the grace of Jesus Christ
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Week 4 | April 1989 | Takin’ No Shorts by Too Brown

"Big Spender" | Track # 7

On Good Friday

In my mind, our society is obsessed with winning, victory, and conquering adversity. I think our Christian culture is obsessed with the Resurrection. Jesus wins. Jesus the victor. Jesus, the conquerer of death. All good and great and true, but it doesn’t mean a damn thing if Good Friday had not happened. Jesus loses. Jesus is the victim. Jesus was conquered—even if temporarily—by death. Why is the Resurrection the very substance of our hope? Because, first, he came and he died. Focusing on the Resurrection at the expense of the Cross is focusing on the American obsession.

Jesus willingly went to the cross, willingly lost, willingly gave in to adversity. And he did it to raise those who did and would believe in him, as Son of God, up. Sacrifice at the core is the emptying of self so that others may be filled. And God in His Son emptied himself so that we may be filled, saved, and adopted into His family, His kingdom. 

When that curtain tore, that sound was also the sound of history tearing apart. Nothing would ever be the same and, yet, dishearteningly, every bit the same. However, now suffering, pain, grief, depression, abuse, suicide, etc. had an object in which to identify and reconstruct life and being. The cross with the Son of God going to the grave gave all of the shit in that happens in this world meaning. When that gun is in our mouth, we look to the Divine suicide of Jesus on the Cross. When we find ourselves the victims of evil abuses, we look to the Christ who took all of our abuses. When we find ourselves in grief, we focus on the mysterious moment when Jesus descended into hell and there was a tear in the relationship between the Trinity. Perfect, harmonious intimacy, community and love broken apart on the Cross. Christ fully identifies with us in every moment of our being as we live in a broken and sin-stained world.

The fullness of the descent must, too, be understood by every person in coming to faith in Christ. We must be emptied, like Christ, in order to see our need, in order to be filled by the sheer grace that is free for us, but ever so costly to God. Every believer must go through Good Friday and the in-between day before they can see, savor and taste the victory that Christ won for us. That Christ won for us. We didn’t win this. He did. Good Friday, in this day and age and culture, may be even more important to emphasize than the Resurrection. 

We currently live in the days of Good Friday. We believe that the Resurrection truly was a historical and spiritual victory, but we don’t know the fullness, the sweetness of it yet. We are still in the days of bitter herbs preserving our wrapped bodies as we wait for heaven to break through the death and sin-rattled world that we all know. The Resurrection gives substance to our hope, but Good Friday gives substance to everyday living. It gives meaning and focus in the midst of hard living. In the midst of sin, abuse, violence, and all other natural acts of humanity, we look to Christ on the Cross and we are assured that it is not all for naught.

He came, He died…

Week 4 | April 1989 | A Shade of Red by Redhead Kingpin & The F.B.I.

"The Redhead One" | Track # 5

I can’t not post this. Gospel According to Al Green (1987)

Full documentary. No frontin’. This is soul!

Trust me, you ain’t got nuthin’ better to do. This is grace for yo’ face.

A very special born day to THE Reverend Al Green. Here he is doing Soul Train and singing one of my favorite songs in his catalog, “Jesus Is Waiting.” 

Fitting, as well, because it is Palm Sunday. Enjoy. And remember Jesus knew how to get down, too.

Taking an almost creedal structure and inspiration, Ben Kyle and his band create something rare in the world of folk music. Something akin to liturgy set to bar-room style theatrics. God in the profane places. And, yet, the wording and soul-searching that accompanies this track stick with the listener just like the creeds and prayers of old. One of my favorite tracks from one of my favorite recent folk bands.

Oh Lord, have mercy
Oh Lord, have mercy
Oh Lord, have mercy
On us.

Thy kingdom come, thy will be done
Forgive us all the shit we’ve done
Leave the writing on the wall
Don’t let it fall
Don’t let it fall

Take this cup
Let it pass
Wipe this moment from our past
Save the one who touched it last
Save the one who touched it last

Forgive us, Lord
We are so tired
Our wills are worn, our minds are fired
We are not much for holding on
To what is old, past and gone
What was once when we were young
Let it be done
Let it be done

Lord, have mercy
Lord have mercy
Oh Lord, have mercy
On us…

To the end.

If this song—and the Soul Train video featured here—doesn’t make you joyful and wanna get down wit’ ya bad selves, then something is wrong with you. 

The Bar-Kays | “Holy Ghost”

I’ve got to crucify myself if I am gonna believe you
I’ve got to promise that I’ll finish all the things I said
I’d do to begin with too

I’ve got to make my bed if I am gonna lay with you
‘Cause a disaster’s a disaster
No matter what Christian language you drag it through

"Wolves at Night", Manchester Orchestra | I’m Like A Virgin Losing A Child 

-one of my all-time favorite lyrics.

This is the Panhandle of Texas for you. Spring is officially here, at least for now. Bring on the storms.

This is the Panhandle of Texas for you. Spring is officially here, at least for now. Bring on the storms.

Week 3 | April 1989 | No More Mr. Nice Guy by Gang Starr

"Jazz Music" | Track # 2

Samples:

Not necessarily a fan of the car, but love this picture.

Not necessarily a fan of the car, but love this picture.

Between my house and the neighbor’s…during a West Texas dust storm. Absolutely stunning.

Between my house and the neighbor’s…during a West Texas dust storm. Absolutely stunning.

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