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If You Wanna Get To Heaven

If you wanna get to Heaven, you’ve got to raise a little Hell. So goes the premise of the best song by the Ozark Mountain Daredevils. At a band naming party, their proposed name was “Cosmic Corn Cob & His Amazing Ozark Mountain Daredevils.” No band member wanted to be Cosmicozark Corn Cob, so they ditched that, and then they didn’t want confusion with the Amazing Rhythm Aces, so they dropped that, and all that is left is Ozark Mountain Daredevils.

Their song on which today’s column is written was probably not intended to be a gospel song, but instead a song about going out and having a good time. I know I’m about to get in trouble here, but I like to think of rock’n’roll songs as God’s way of reaching some people, notably the youth. Can an atheist write a song that, in the end, others use to glorify God? I think yes, some of you will say no. It’s what is in the heart you’ll say. And I say, whose heart?

LYRIC: “I never read it in a book, I never saw it on a show, but I heard it in the alley on a weird radio.”

Where do people get the Message? Family dragging them to church? That’s one way. But preachers on the street corner might work. Office relationships might work. Doing good works might get someone into the ultimate Message. Weird radio? Why not? Pat Robertson isn’t my cup of tea, or Joel Osteen either. But however one gets to the Message, if they get it isn’t that all that matters?

LYRIC: If you want a drink of water, you got to get it from a well. If you want to get to Heaven, you got to raise a little hell.”

Now what is “raising a little Hell? Is it turning over tables in the temple and casting out those profiting on God? Matthew 21:12: “Jesus entered the temple courts and drove out all who were buying and selling there. He overturned the tables of the money changers and the benches of those selling doves.”

LYRIC: I never felt it in my feet, I’ve never felt it in my soul.”

We aren’t born with Grace. It’s something you get. Some people “get it!” Others get it by assimilation. However you get it, it’s yours. Once it’s in you, hopefully it pours out.

LYRIC: “But I heard it the alley, now it’s in my rock and roll.”

Does it matter where you got it? This too bothers some. Me, I don’t care where you got it, I’m just happy you got it. Some get it at church, a revival, on the radio or off the Internet as they are homebound. Some get it from large concerts. Who cares, just get it. Like your rock’n’roll. It’s your vibe, it’s your soul, that you pour out to others.

LYRIC: “I never thought it’d be so easy, I never thought it’d be so fun, but I heard it in the alley, now I’ve got it on the run.”

Why is Christianity supposed to be dull? Because the Book is dull you say? Sorry, that’s the most exciting “book” of the Ages. It tells the best stories, parables and life lessons of all time. I submit that if you think the Bible is dull, it’s your attitude going in that was the problem, not the Book. I have never laughed so hard as when I’m around Christian friends. I can laugh around anyone, frankly. But Christian friends are just as easy to laugh and cut up with as anyone.

LYRIC: “If you want to see an angel, you got to find it where it fell.”

Where are you looking for your angels? Maybe they are all around you and you just don’t see them because you have preconceived ideas of what you should be looking for. Matthew 5:35-40: For I was hungry, and you fed me. I was thirsty, and you gave me a drink. I was a stranger, and you invited me into your home. I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.’ Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’ The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’

So if Ozark Mountain Daredevils can inspire me to think about Christ and the ways that we can interact with him, is their song a gospel song? I guess it’s a heart thing.

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