I Need A Sign

I was originally planning to write a different note today.  I started it and everything, and I’ll finish it later…but something within me keeps coming back to the song “Calling All Angels” by Train (off the album “My Private Nation, 2003).  It’s not the first day that I started coming back to that song.  I started singing it after I threw a royal “I’m-not-doing-this-anymore” fit earlier in the week.  I remembered the last part of the second verse, “I want a reason for the way things have to be/I need a hand to help build up some kind of hope inside of me” and I kept hearing it, singing it, remembering it over and over again as I went through what I was going through.

It’s a powerful song that is more relevant to our times than when it was first written.  It calls stuff out, it makes it real, it begs the question – why are things the way they are?  When I look over the church, that is my thought – I want to know why we are where we are.  There are awesome men and women of God who can’t catch a break as people chase after fortune tellers and famous preachers.  We are expected to do and give while people do and give for people they think can “advance” them in their pursuit of Christian stardom.  I know in my own experience, it seems like my ministry and its work is always dividing me from people who either just can’t walk where I am going or just don’t want to do what they would have to in order to keep up.  I’m not making the division.  I’m not forcing the choice.  I look around, I see dishonesty, evil gain, and no matter how much people want to tell me that it’s the end times, or this is the great falling away, all of which I am sure is true – it doesn’t make it any easier to experience, to witness, to see, or to feel as a human being who just happens to have a ministry call.  

Before all the arrogant legalistic people start throwing rocks because I just admitted that I went through something earlier this week and that I have my current course of thinking, I am going to address them: If you really never have those days in ministry and you really feel that everything is wonderful, then more power to you, liar.  I know better.  We can act all holy, all saintly as much as we want, but it’s not how we are all the time.  We did not become divine beings when we became ministers, and we are still people, dealing with people, dealing with spirits, dealing with frustrations, every day of the week.  And no, it’s not an ego trip, or a “fleshly” trip.  We want to see change in this world; we want to see the Kingdom have impact.  Ministry today is frustrating.  Yes, God is awesome, but people can be a horrible pain to deal with.  Everyone wants to “like” our statuses, “like” that we just came out with a new book, “like” that we are having a teleconference, but they refuse to put their money where their mouth is.  They don’t go buy the book, they don’t give to the person who is having the teleconference because they don’t consider it to be a “real” conference, they don’t want to tithe, they don’t want to give, they don’t want to do the right thing.  They do not want to attend to what is important.

So yeah…I need a sign…not because I have doubts in my faith – but because the church looks more like the world than the world does and…living in it, working in it, is exhausting.

What is really important?  On Facebook, it seems like we jump from argumentative cause to argumentative cause.  People are arguing, fighting, unfriending one another, and acting ungodly because they don’t agree with someone else’s opinion.  What is so important about these issues that we can’t agree to disagree and love each other as brethren and friends in the Lord?  Last week it was a woman’s dress, this week I see an entire flood of people who claim to be constantly broke defending a television-star millionaire’s right to speech, someone who, for the record, was disgusting and crass in how he spoke, and who has money to go get an attorney if he wants to defend himself.  Nobody is speaking up for the woman who just got raped and can’t speak for herself, nobody seems really interested in the child who got beaten again yesterday, or the mother whose son got killed in gang violence, nobody is outraged that people are homeless or out of work, nobody is worried about the foster child who just wants a family, or the inmate who was wrongly convicted and now sits in prison, or that someone somewhere lost their spouse, is hurting, is sick, or is unhappy.  As long as they can have their picture-perfect Christmas gift and overeat their dinner and overindulge, it’s not relevant.  We don’t seem to care about the injustices that exist, about the fact that true evils and wrongs do rampage and continue because they don’t have a celebrity face attached with them, and the fact that we are attaching ourselves to celebrities who really shouldn’t represent the values we have in the first place – they are not ministers, theologians, generally spiritual people, or people who reflect me in any way, shape, or form – and yeah, to me…it’s a problem.  It’s a problem that we, as a church people, are picking all the wrong battles to fight and ignoring the ones that are truly a part of the Christian cause.  We allow our leaders to be destitute, our members to feel bad and guilty when they have issues, we condemn and criticize women for wearing pants or for being sexually abused and raped, we are not training and educating our children or youth in the faith…all because these are not “celebrity” causes.   

People, the church is not a “celebrity cause!” Some things are just right and wrong and instead of focusing on those, we are trivializing over these issues.  Winning an argument, trying to be right, acting ugly, blindly defending “free speech” – none of that is what is going to save you, nor get you into heaven.

As Christians, we are allowing the media, various representative outlets, and individuals we’ve come to idolize color our perception of what is true, what is a real and justifiable cause, and what true injustice and evil really are.  I think I keep thinking of “Calling All Angels” because it speaks of the fact that our T.V. sets just keep it all from “being clear.”  We are Christians, living in a real world, with real problems, real people who have needs, and real issues – all of which needs to become more relevant to us than the imaginary characters we keep seeing on television.  Real Christian values are not reality-stars parading on television; they are how we act when the television is off and it’s just us and someone in need.  Do we judge them, or do we help them?     

I’ve all heard the opinions of the majority – and I don’t want to hear them again on this note.  This is my turn, this is how I am feeling, and it’s not any less valid because it’s not a majority opinion.  But you know what, I need a sign.  I need to see more than just empty talk when it comes to Christian belief.  I want to stand with Christians who approach the faith as more than a marketing gimmick or a pop-culture icon.  I want to see Christians who resemble the characteristic of Jesus.  

To that end, I suppose the answer is in the song, again – “And I won’t give up, if you don’t give up.”

(c) 2013 Lee Ann B. Marino.  All rights reserved.

“Calling All Angels,” Train

I need a sign, to let me know Uou’re here
All of these lines are being crossed over the atmosphere
I need to know, that things are gonna look up
‘Cause I feel us drowning in a sea spilled from a cup

When there is no place safe and no safe place to put my head
When you can feel the world shake from the words that are said

And I’m, calling all angels
And I’m, calling all you angels

And I won’t give up, if you don’t give up
I won’t give up, if you don’t give up
I won’t give up, if you don’t give up
I won’t give up, if you don’t give up

I need a sign to let me know You’re here
‘Cause my TV set just keeps it all from being clear
I want a reason for the way things have to be
I need a hand to help build up some kind of hope inside of me

And I’m, calling all angels
And I’m, calling all you angels

When children have to play inside, so they don’t disappear
While private eyes solve marriage lies ’cause we don’t talk for years
And football teams are kissing queens and losing sight of having dreams
In a world where what we want is only what we want until it’s ours

And I’m, calling all angels
And I’m, calling all you angels

And I’m, calling all angels
(I won’t give up, if you don’t give up)
(I won’t give up, if you don’t give up)
And I’m, calling all you angels
(I won’t give up, if you don’t give up)
(I won’t give up, if you don’t give up)

Calling all you angels
(I won’t give up, if you don’t give up)
Calling all you angels
(I won’t give up, if you don’t give up)
Calling all you angels
(I won’t give up, if you don’t give up)

Read more: Train – Calling All Angels Lyrics | MetroLyrics

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