Tuesday, March 23, 2010

What Shall be the End of This?

I’ll now prove my critics right by going off-topic yet again, this time for a song lyric.

BeastThe discussion earlier today put me in mind of a song by Robert Hunter. Althought Hunter is most widely remembered as the lyricist for the Grateful Dead, the music for this song was written by David Freiberg, formerly of Quicksilver Messenger Service. Hunter recorded it in 1980 for his solo acoustic album Jack O’Roses.

It’s an effective retelling of the biblical story of Daniel. The excursion into full scriptural exegesis is very unusual for Robert Hunter.

The last line — about the nature of grace — is something I always endeavor to keep in mind.

Book of Daniel
by Robert Hunter

Calling down the gods of gold, silver, stone and wood
The mighty king of Babylon, the proud Belshazzar, stood
Drinking glory to himself as though he were a god
When an armless hand appeared among that party crowd
Came drifting through the window to write upon the wall
Four words that didn’t make much sense at all

The king turned to his friends in fright, in frenzied desparation
But not one soul among them could make interpretation
The queen said: long ago there was a wise man in this land
Why don’t you send for Daniel? He could read them

Daniel walked in bent but tall, spat upon the floor
Let me see these words… well, hmm — yes… I’ve seen them before
They simply mean your days are numbered; fact, they’re even run
You’ve been judged in the balance and found wanting
Your royalty is just a gift — your father learned that lesson
By losing both his kingdom and his reason

So great in pride he was cut down, driven to the field —
Lived there like a wild beast until his pride did yield
And when the king, your father, achieved humility
He was restored his kingdom and his sanity
- - - - - - - - -
And though you knew all this to start, you humbled not your heart
The writing on the wall commands your fall!
Old King Darius that night slew Belshazzar
Appointed Daniel prince and first adviser
The lesser princes being jealous, drew up a decree
Allowing prayers to no one but the king

They caught old Daniel dead to rights, down upon his knees
Threw him in the lion’s den for breaking that decree
Daniel walked among them safely, by his faith protected
The king said: This is just what I expected
Now you who brought me Daniel may kindly go yourselves
Into the lion’s den — see how you fare there

What shall be the end of this? How shall it pass away?
Get up, old Daniel, never mind, get up and go thy way
Further words are closed and sealed until the end of time
Many shall be called, each in his season
In wickedness of pride is lost the light to understand
How little grace is earned and how much given


Dymphna said...

How little grace is earned...and how much given.

Indeed. I think of that line whenever our donors give so generously to make sure this blog continues and its keepers have rice and beans set by.

I think of it when I see people rise up and say "Enough" to the bureaucrats who would diminish us as they fatten their own purses.

I think of it when I get letters like the one from Steven Vincent's widow. That one changed my whole year, adn the responses from our readers have eased her grief.

I think of the unearned aspect of grace when I get a letter from a GoV reader thanking us for what we do. Such letters go a long way toward easing the burden of the horrific stories that pass through our hands all the time, some of them so horrible that our tipsters know to label them "For the Baron only".

We haven't 'earned' the people we've been graced with but we sure have learned gratitude from their presence and from their feedback. The fellow who thinks we've lost our focus is really saying that our focus and his are not the same thing. I am glad he has a place to go that satisfies his point of view. But I'm doubly glad that folks like unaha-closp, having been banished, have another place to go, too.

A reader and faithful donor wrote me recently that it was becoming harder to read GoV because the news was so unrelentingly bad. Tell me about it. I am going to remedy that problem - it's a "problem" for me and for at least one reader.

I don't want to be Jihad Watch Redux. Why re-invent that wheel when we have a nice octagonal wheel of our own.

Meanwhile, as Hunter well knew, grace overflows our cup, runs over. And we shall be followed by goodness and mercy all of our days.

Islam is merely the shadow of the valley of Death. It will pass. And we've been granted the grace to help it on its way.


Zenster said...

How little grace is earned and how much given

My own interpretation of this line relates to the way that humanity's survival necessarily hinges upon people giving each other the benefit of the doubt.

Without so much grace being given in advance, there would be far fewer chances for any of us to earn it in the first place.

This is also what makes Islam so incredibly evil. It purposefully preys upon those who give it the benefit of the doubt. The manner by which this sort of viciousness extinguishes light and good in our world is one that Satan himself would have a hard time besting.

Taqiyya and kitman are specifically designed to assist in this process and the end result is the repayment of kindness with cruelty.

What's more, Islam does not even make a pretense of earning any grace itself. There is so much about Islam which precludes the normal functions of growth and prosperity that it is small wonder how the entire MME (Muslim Middle East) is one gigantic cess pit.