Thursday, March 02, 2006

My own personal Jesus..................

In 2002, an ailing Johnny Cash released the album American IV- The Man comes Around. Johnny had suffered a severe neurological disease that gave him a very serious dose of Pneumonia. His lungs were reportedly "Scarred" from the illness. This is slightly evident in his vocal tracks. That and being 71, gave this album a very different timbre.

When Staff Sgt. J.R. Cash was discharged from the Air Force in 1954, he sat on the doorsteps of 706 Union Avenue in Membphis and waited for Sam Phillips to arrive. He was there to record "Gospel" songs that he had written. 50 years later Mr.Cash would cover an 80's new wave song "Personal Jesus". On the album American IV, Johnny Cash does an acoustical version of the dance hall/video game song. But why? And how did Cash interpret the song? Taken at face value, the lyrics can be percieved as pro/anti Jesus. By strictly reading the lyrics; it reminds me of John Prine's "Plastic Jesus" - "I don't care if it rains or freezes long as I got my plastic jesus standing on the dashboard of my car". But I believe Johnny Cash, a man with a reverence for God and the Son, would never sing a song that mocked the Son of Man.

The Artist's view:

The song was written by Martin Gore of Depeche Mode. I found this quote in an online search:

Martin Gore: "It's a song about being a Jesus for somebody else, someone to give you hope and care. It's about how Elvis was her man and her mentor and how often that happens in love relationships and how everybody's heart is like a god in some way, and that's not a very balanced view of someone, is it?"

I believe Johnny would have said (and I can't find any interviews to confirm this) that Jesus the Lord and Savior, is the Personal Jesus of those who call on him. Jesus gives us every thing we need to live on this earth. He gives us assurance of those things needed. He comforts us in times of lonliness. He keeps us safe from the evil one. And by his death, he bought our salvation.

Johnny was singing of the promises made to man from God our Father through Jesus Christ the Son.


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