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“No Insult Like the Truth” by Charlie Peacock — No parody like power, no fever like desire

“No Insult Like The Truth” By Charlie Peacock

I’ve run my ship aground
on the rocks of the soul
There’s no lie like independence
there’s no demon like control
I’ve fanned the burning embers
til my house was on fire
There’s no parody like power
There’s no fever like desire

I’ve drained the wine of darkness
to the dregs of deceit
There’s no drug as strong as pride
There’s no blindness like conceit
I’ve railed against the mountain
With a pickaxe and a file
There’s no minefield like presumption
There’s no death wish like denial

There’s no gunshot like conviction
There’s no conscience bulletproof
There’s no strength like utter weakness
There’s no insult like the truth

I’ve adjusted my prescription
til I couldn’t trust my vision
there’s no killer like convenience
there’s no sickness like omission
I’ve amended resolutions and resisted explanation
There’s no trap door like emotion
There’s no pit like reputation

There’s no gunshot like conviction
There’s no conscience bulletproof
There’s no strength like utter weakness
There’s no insult like the truth

There’s no cancer like ambition
There’s no cure like crucifixion
There’s no cancer like ambition
There’s no cure like crucifixion

There’s no gunshot like conviction
There’s no conscience bulletproof
There’s no strength like utter weakness
There’s no insult like the truth

This is part of a series dissecting the song “No Insult Like the Truth” by Charlie Peacock. In the series, I am taking two of the statements he makes and exploring the depth of meaning behind them and what I can learn about myself in the process.

Dear God, let me start by saying that I misunderstood what Charlie said in relation to “power.” I thought he said, “There’s no PARITY like power.” Obviously, this really changes the meaning, and I’m not sure my “parity” holds up except that this is a song about paradoxes and the idea that “power” and “parity” are more alike that we know is interesting to play with.

“There’s no parody like power”

But that’s not what it says (and I’ve checked several sources to make sure). “There is no parody like power.” When I think of “parody,” my first thoughts are of Saturday Night Live and the sketches they do. Not always, but often they are mocking people in power. Whomever the president happens to be at the time. Celebrities. Various politicians or business executives. They exercise power in different ways, and SNL delights in finding the joke in what they think of themselves. Maybe that’s the way to analyze power: the person with the power’s perception of themselves, and the perception of those who are influenced by their power.

“Power” is probably a more pervasive part of our lives than we realize. There are the obvious examples: politicians, bosses, etc. But then there are others like parents/guardians. But what we probably don’t think about enough is the slow burn that an emotionally abusive person does to someone else. My wife and I were on a long car ride yesterday for our vacation and we listened to a book she wanted me to hear. In it, the main character is a woman who was in an emotionally abusive marriage, and on the day she was ready to get in the car and leave her husband he ended up dying in a freak car accident. Later in the book, she is explaining to someone how mean he was to her even though everyone else in the world thought he was wonderful. I couldn’t help but wonder while we were driving if there is ANY part of me that makes my wife feel that way. Am I ANY different behind closed doors than I am in public? Of course, there are things she knows about me that no one else knows, but is my character different? How do I make her feel about herself? It’s the kind of question you ask yourself, but you’re almost afraid to say it out loud and ask your wife.

So what is the parody of that kind of power? Well, I suppose it’s the idea that it isn’t legitimate at all. That kind of power is derived through intimidation. But in the grand scheme of things, even if I am mean to my wife in order to either get my way or somehow make my insecure self feel better, what I have is nothing in the reality of the universe. Demons are still working. Satan still has his plans. I will still have to answer to you one day. And our time here is so, so short compared to eternity. Any power I would create for myself would be an absolute joke to you. Yes, from your perspective, I would imagine that there is, indeed, no parody like the power we create for ourselves. And you showed us what power really looks like through the servant leadership of Jesus. He gave guidance and taught people what they needed to know, but he also served and loved. He accepted the sinner, but also told them to sin no more. That kind of power is not a parody at all.

“There’s no fever like desire”

Of course, there are different kinds of “fever.” In this case, I think Charlie is referring to this definition of fever:

a state of nervous excitement or agitation.

“I was in a fever of expectation”

I am sure a lot of people have said this over the years, but I think I first heard C.S. Lewis say that the desiring of something can be more powerful and even fulfilling than the having of it. For example, in my life right now I am really wanting a new bicycle trainer that I can use indoors over the winter. At the end of the day, I’m probably looking at about $1,200 to $1,500 to get everything set up just the way I want it. I’ve spent a lot of time watching YouTube videos about what I want. I’ve looked at websites. I’ve watched commercials. I’ve talked to my local bike shop. I really want one of these things and I’m looking toward to the day when I can get one. But I can also say that the “desire” for this thing triggers something in my brain that pushes me forward. Do I need it? That’s debatable. If pressed, I could make a case for it. But I certainly “desire” this thing. It is a fever.

So how do I keep this fever for things, even power, from controlling me? How do I keep them from becoming my idol? How do I keep from looking to them for my happiness instead of you? Those are the important questions. And the answer is through self-discipline. Through intentionally denying myself or delaying my gratification. I have been looking at lot at Solomon lately. Maybe one of his problems was that he never put his “desire” in check and the more he accumulated the more he pursued. It is a “fever” that won’t break because the “desire” for something can be more powerful than actually having it.

Father, when it comes down to power and desire, part of me submitting my life to you is dying to these things. It is disciplining myself to spend time in worship of you and communing with you. Then, as the Holy Spirit finds good soil in my heart within which he can work, he will plant seeds in me that will grow. Those seeds will teach me to see the world and others as you see them. They will teach me that “power” is a “parody.” They will teach me that “desire” is a “fever” that must be broken. And then He will help me apply those lessons to my life. Oh, Holy Spirit, teach me gently.

In Jesus’s name I pray,

Amen

 

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