We Shall Be Free?


I wrote this post on Tuesday, June 16, 2015.  This was prior to last night’s horror in Charleston, South Carolina.  There is much work to be done to overcome the walls we have built and the hate we have fostered.  I still share “The Dream” of a world where we see each other with with love and equality.  Still we must ask ourselves the question, “What are we doing to make this world free?  What are we willing to do to be free from hated, war strive and everything else that divides what God created in unity?”

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Over the past few weeks I have been ripping my CD collection to my computer. They have been sitting collecting dust for yours. I simply grabbed a stack and started. First I realized that Sheila and have a lot of CDs. We also have duplicates since we bought most of them prior to getting married. I’m glad we share similar taste I music. I also realized that I must have had a man crush on Garth Brooks. I believe I own every album he made. Thankfully I can say that Sheila purchased the Chris Gaines CD.

I have enjoyed listening to some of the old tracks I haven’t heard in a while. I can connect many of the songs to certain times and places in life like many concerts at Coyote’s in Louisville during seminary.

The power of music is palpable. That’s why it is such an important part of our worship of God. Music can tell stories, connect you with deep emotions and inspire you to action. I love when a song comes on the radio and Johnny or Colin (22 & 11) ask how do you know this song. Diverse music has always been a strong way for me to experience a diverse world.

Today I was listening to some of the music I had ripped and Garth came across the speakers with a crisp and powerful opening phrase:

This ain’t comin’ from no prophet 
Just an ordinary man 
When I close my eyes I see 
The way this world shall be 
When we all walk hand in hand

Garth Brooks’ song We Shall Be Free than rang out with an upbeat gospel tone. The words of this song from twenty-three years ago got me thinking. This song of hope, like those before it spoke boldly about our hope to overcome what separates us. Yet, today more than any other time in my life I wonder just how much progress we are making on achieving the dream that Dr. King cast a vision for.

I remember thinking to myself that this song must have been risky for Garth to record. After all, country music isn’t known for its diversity. Talking about freedom from racism, poverty, hatred, war and other societal ills isn’t the traditional fodder for a country song. Yet it was the first track of his, “The Chase” album was one that sought to raise the idea of social justice to even country music’s consciousness.

I remembered that the video for We Shall Be Free was a powerful one. Unfortunately I can’t embed it on my blog due to restrictions.  Click here to view it on Vimeo: Garth Brooks video: We Shall Be Free Video from Big Chief Studio on Vimeo. The song along with the images stirs strong emotions from deep within me. I am both buoyed by the message while being convicted of the lack of progress we have made to be free.


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