Hearing the Gospel in Fleetwood Mac

Hearing the Gospel in Fleetwood Mac August 7, 2017

By Bert Montgomery

Bert Montgomery
Bert Montgomery

Fleetwood Mac’s Rumours is one of the best-selling albums of all time, though it’s a wonder it ever got recorded at all. The inner turmoil of the band at the time is now legendary – breakups and divorce, the excesses of the mid-seventies hedonism and drug use, etc.

The first single from Rumours was “Go Your Own Way,” written by guitarist Lindsay Buckingham after his breakup with vocalist Stevie Nicks. The lyrics capture a recurring biblical image – a person spurned by an uncommitted lover.

Buckingham sings: “If I could, Baby, I’d give you my world. How can I, when you won’t take it from me? Tell me why everything turned around? Packing up, shacking up’s all you wanna do. You can go your own way. Go your own way.”

The prophet Jeremiah uses the lovers analogy to describe the relationship between God and humanity. God is the spurned lover watching, heartbroken, as we continuously sneak out at night chasing after other little-g gods under every rock and in every nook and cranny: the gods of money, power, fame, security, dominance, winning.

The lyrics reflect the story of God and humanity from the very beginning. God wants to give us God’s Kingdom, but we won’t take it – we stay closed to it, we run from it, and, yes, we go our own way.

And yet, God still waits and watches and searches …

The Apostle Paul is convinced that there is nothing – nothing! – that can separate us from God’s love for us in Christ. We can all name things that others have done to us or that we’ve done ourselves that – in our eyes – goes beyond the line which God’s love cannot and will not cross. We can all name others, and sometimes even ourselves, as being far, far beyond the love of God.

And yet, Paul is convinced

Remember Psalm 139? Where can we go that is too far? Where can we go that God is not? Even if we jump headfirst into all the darkest darkness of the world seeking to escape from God, so dark there is no light … even when we go our own way, and close ourselves off to the world God wants to give us … even then, we cannot separate ourselves from God’s love for us.

Preachers preach and people hear the Christian message as one of sin and separation from God, which to a certain degree is true. The overarching biblical message, though, from the beginning to the end, and especially in the life and death and resurrection of Jesus, is that even with all of our sins and all of our running away we can never cross a line beyond which God will not go … for God is already there waiting to embrace us again.

Yes, our human patterns and our personal behaviors reflect that although God offers us the Kingdom, “packing up, shacking up” is all we want to do.

But, if we “open our eyes and look at the day,” we “may see things in a different way” …

One of the most enduring hits from Rumours is the hopeful “Don’t Stop”:

Why not think about times to come,
And not about the things that you’ve done,

If your life was bad to you,
Just think what tomorrow will do.

Don’t stop, thinking about tomorrow,
Don’t stop, it’ll soon be here.

When you look at the world around you, are you filled with despair? Do you see a God-forsaken world? Or, can you see past the worst of the worst, through the darkness, and see the love of God at work in spite of it all? Can you look into the dark void of humanity and see the love of God in Christ moving and reconciling and redeeming? Can you see glimpses of God’s Kingdom breaking through?

In so many Fleetwood Mac songs, we hear our human stories with all their betrayal and pain, and love and heartbreak. But, if we listen closely, we may also hear the Gospel and the promise of the God’s will being done on earth as it is in Heaven: Don’t stop thinking about tomorrow, it’ll soon be here. Yesterday’s gone! Yesterday’s gone!

Yes, I hear a lot of biblical stories in Fleetwood Mac’s catalog, but I’ll leave it to your own imagination to make the connection between the Song of Solomon and “You Make Loving Fun.”

Rev. Bert Montgomery pastors University Baptist Church in Starkville, Miss., teaches sociology and religion courses at Mississippi State University and thinks angels probably sound a lot like Christine McVie. Contact him at bert@bertmontgomery.com.

Note: The views expressed here in columns and commentaries are solely those of the authors.

Interested in writing for CBF at Patheos? Submit your column idea to CBF Communications Director Aaron Weaver at aweaver@cbf.net

 

 

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