Carolina Liar: Telling the Truth

Since I’m such a public radio junkie, I’m not too dialed in to popular music these days. But the other night I was in Publix and the song from the following video was playing over the store’s sound system and I had to stop and listen. Unless I’m really missing something, I’d have to say that this is one of the most spiritually honest songs I’ve heard in a while: kind of a rejoinder to U2′s “I still haven’t found what I’m looking for,” which — hard as it is to believe — is now a generation old. Spirituality starts with a gnawing yearning for what C.S. Lewis called “I know not what,” and I think this is a lovely statement of such ineffable desire.

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Preliminary Practices for Christian Contemplatives
Sanctity and Struggle, or, Why Saints Have Chaotic Inner Lives (Hint: It's Because We All Do)
Mysticism and the Divine Feminine: An Interview with Mirabai Starr
In Memoriam: Kenneth Leech
About Carl McColman

Author of Befriending Silence, The Big Book of Christian Mysticism, Answering the Contemplative Call, and other books. Retreat leader. Speaker. Professed Lay Cistercian.

  • phil foster

    Even has that U2 “Looking For” Las Vegas background.

  • phil foster

    Well, via Carolina, anyway.

  • Carl McColman

    I thought it was Atlantic City. But having only been there once or twice, many years ago, I’m not much of an expert. It does look like Las Vegas on the ocean front, which to my mind spells Atlantic City.

  • Gary Snead

    Very serendipitous pick, Carl. The ashtray near the start says Atlantic City. In the song he has gone even a step past the yearning, in his recognition and public (by plainly saying it in the song sung aloud on a net-accessible video) proclamation that he is lost and his days turn into regret, I think implying that the path he is living isn’t the right or best and there is a choice, not just fate or other-controlled ( see previous control & authority discussions) life. “….And how can they hear without someone preaching to them?” Romans 10:14c (it is the third sentence in the verse); he did call on the Lord, ‘Lord save me, show me what I’m looking for,’ is what I heard. So who will preach to him so he will know the one in whom he can choose to believe? I think he would listen to verses 8-13.

  • Carl McColman

    Re. the ashtray: well, duh! :-)

    The song begins: “Wait, I’m wrong.” Contemplation and the first of the twelve steps all rolled into one. We can’t accept Christ until we realize we need to accept him (1st step, admission of guilt) and thus create the space within ourselves to receive him (“wait” — the universal human capacity for contemplation).

    But it’s the song’s refrain that really knocked me over:

    “Save me, I’m lost
    Oh Lord, I’ve been waiting for you
    I’ll pay any cost
    Save me from being confused
    Show me what I’m looking for
    Show me what I’m looking for… oh Lord”

    Not only does he specifically call on the Lord, but again he makes a first-step admission, orients himself to contemplation, and eschews cheap grace (Bonhoeffer would have been so proud). He links his “lost” state to confusion, and then make the song’s titular request: to the Lord. C.S. Lewis, striving for “I know not what.” Just brilliant, all the way around.

    At one point in the song he admits to loving abuse. Does he mean finding perverse joy in being abused? Or in abusing others? Considering that sin is, at its heart, the failure/inability/alienation from loving God, loving others, and loving self, abuse is perhaps the best word we postmoderns can come up with for it.