Last summer, I played for a group of international students who live in Birmingham . They were hosted at a beach retreat by Briarwood Presbyterian Church. When the weekend was over, I stayed in Florida for a couple of days to write some new songs. While working on a tune called “1412 and 1420,” s song about two houses, I watched a minor conflict at the seashore.
The little boy was maybe two years old. His mom was picking up towels and toys to retreat, it seemed, to the motel pool, a move the toddler did not particularly like.
That’s where the song came from. I interrupted “1412 and 1420” just longenough to capture, in a one minute song, what I saw. I recently added a few more words and stretched out the recording in the studio so that it’s a bit longer.
The moment reminded me of an observation made by CS Lewis.
“Indeed, if we consider the unblushing promises of reward and the staggering nature of the rewards promised in the Gospels, it would seem that our Lord finds our desires, not too strong, but too weak. We are half-hearted creatures, fooling about with drink and sex and ambition when infinite joy is offered us, like an ignorant child who wants to go on making mud pies in a slum because he cannot imagine what is meant by the offer of a holiday at the sea. We are far too easily pleased.”
The choice is ours, I suppose. Pool? Or Ocean?
There are a couple of other readings that are noteworthy and offer a fuller treatment of the pool/ocean choices of life: The Dangerous Duty of Delight, by John Piper, and The Journey of Desire, by John Eldredge.
In his book Dangerous Wonder, Mike Yaconelli writes the following:
“We are in a war between dullness ad astonishment. The most critical issue facing Christians is not abortion, pornography, the disintegration of the family, moral absolutes. The problem is that we have lost our astonishment. The Good news is no longer good news, it is okay news. Christianity is no longer life-changing, it is life enhancing. Jesus doesn’t change people into wild-eyed radicals anymore, He changes them into ‘nice people.’
“If Christianity is simply about being nice, I’m not interested. What happened to radical Christianity, the un-nice brand of Christianity that turned the world upside-down? What happened to the category-smashing, life-threatening, anti-institutional gospel that spread through the first century like wildfire and was considered (by those in power) dangerous? What happened to the kind of Christians whose hearts were on fire, who had no fear, who spoke the truth no matter what the consequence, who made the world uncomfortable, who were willing to follow Jesus wherever He went? What happened to the kind of Christians who were filled with passion and gratitude, and who every day were unable to ‘get over’ the grace of God?
“I’m ready for a Christianity that ‘ruins’ my life, that captures my heart and makes me uncomfortable. I want to be filled with an astonishment which is so captivating that I am considered wild and unpredictable and … well .. dangerous. Yes, I want to be ‘dangerous’ to a dull and boring religion. I want a faith that is considered ‘dangerous’ by our predictable and monotonous culture.
“A.W. Tozer said a long time ago, ‘Culture is putting out the light in men and women’s souls.’ HE was right. Dullness is more than a religious issue, it is a cultural issue. Our entire culture has become dull. Dullness is the absence of the light of our souls. Look around. We have lost the sparkle in our eyes, the passion in our marriages, the meaning in our work, the joy of our faith.
The Bible names our problem: sin. Don’t let the word fool you. Sin is more than turning our backs on God, it is turning our backs on life! Immorality is much more than adultery, and dishonesty. It is living drab, colorless, dreary, stale, unimaginative lives. The greatest enemy of Christianity may be people who say they believe in Jesus but who are no longer astonished and amazed. Jesus Christ came not rescue us from listlessness as well as lostness; He came to save us from flat souls as well as corrupted souls. He came to save us from dullness. Our culture is awash in immorality and drowning in dullness. We have forgotten now to dance, how to sing, and how to laugh. We have allowed technology to beat our imaginations in to submission and have becomes tourists rather than traveler. Television dominates our time, alters our values, numbs us to life in all its wildness. We have been stunted by mediocrity.” (pp. 23,25)
His mother said, “Let’s leave the beach,
we’re going to the swimming pool,”
It seems that she was tired of the seashore
But quick her little toddler kid
He pulled away and ran, he did
It seems there’s so much more for him to explore
He wanted sand as white as snow
He wanted thunder on his toes
He wants the waves with never ending motion
He wanted salt and foam and breeze
He ran as if to say “Mom, please… “
Who wants a pool when you can have an ocean?
Who wants a pool when you can have an ocean?
It’s oh so easy to begin
Just strip right down and dive right in
Who wants a pool, when you can have the ocean?
Who wants a pool, when you can have an ocean?