Saturday, November 22, 2008

"Do It Again"

The other day I was listening to some old records (yes, remember vinyl?) and came across my Best of Steely Dan album. Started playing it and one of my old favorite songs was on it. Remember that classic "Do It Again" from 1974? A haunting melody to be sure, but the lyrics always puzzled me. Here they are:

In the mornin' you go gunnin' For the man who stole your water
And you fire till he is done in But they catch you at the border
And the mourners are all singin' As they drag you by your feet
But the hangman isn't hangin' And they put you on the street

You go back Jack do it again
Wheel turnin' round and round
You go back Jack do it again

When you know shes no high climber Then you find your only friend
In a room with your two timer And you're sure you're near the end
Then you love a little wild one And she brings you only sorrow
All the time you know shes smilin' You'll be on your knees tomorrow

Now you swear and kick and beg us That you're not a gamblin' man
Then you find you're back in Vegas With a handle in your hand
Your black cards can make you money So you hide them when you're able
In the land of milk and honey You must put them on the table

Listening to this song again, it seemed that the words actually do make sense - at least from a Biblical standpoint. Look at the gist of the story line of the song. A man engaging in a series of sins - first vengeful murder, then sexual lust, and finally addictive gambling. And what is the result from each of these encounters with temptation and sin? As the chorus says, he goes back and does it again. The wheel of human depravity and sinful bondage keeps on turning. The cycle of sin goes around and around. And "Jack" is powerless to break the chain. He just keeps on going back to do it again. Sounds a lot like Proverbs 26:11, "Like a dog that returns to its vomit Is a fool who repeats his folly."

Now, I'm not saying that Steely Dan is a source of good theology. But I am saying that even in the most mundane of cultural expressions we can see the truth of God's word and the Gospel of Christ represented. We can see and testify to the utter depravity of man and the bondage to sin that all of us, like Jack, are subject to. And we can glorify God that He is the only means by which that bondage can be broken, that we can be set free from slavery to the endless downward spiral of sin. For His glory.

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