Thursday, February 4, 2010

hearts of flesh

I've been obsessively listening to the latest Regina Spektor cd since I bought it a week or so ago. I keep thinking I'll get sick of it, but the more I listen to it the more I want to listen to it. My favorite song so far is Calculation, the first on the album (you can listen to it below). I often find myself asking what makes a song good - what gives it worth? As a Christian many would expect me to claim a song has to be produced by a Christian label to be worthwhile, but I have to say I think there's so much more to good music than simply looking for a Christian label.

Regina Spektor's latest album, and her song Calculation in particular, are such a great example of this. A portion of the lyrics:

"So we made the hard decision
And we each made an incision
Past our muscles and our bones
Saw our hearts were little stones

"Pulled 'em out they weren't beating
And we weren't even bleeding
As we lay 'em on the granite counter top

"We beat 'em up
Against each other

"...We struck them so hard
So hard until they sparked"

reads almost exactly like an Old Testament passage from the prophet Ezekiel:

"I will remove the heart of stone from their flesh and give them a heart of flesh."
(Ezekiel 11:19 ESV)

where God, speaking through Ezekiel, says that he will remove the hard, uncaring hearts from his people and replace them with loving, compassionate hearts of flesh (embellishment my own of course).

I wouldn't claim that this song is good simply because it seems to parallel scripture, however, but that it's good because it's true. Our goal is often to not allow our hearts to break, to not feel pain, to deal with the realities of an ugly world without feeling anything, to be come numb because having a heart of flesh means that our hearts hurt regularly. Why should we allow ourselves such pain? Because it is our hearts of flesh that make us human. It's our ability to feel pain and compassion and love for and with others that separates us from machines. A truth that I think screams from the lyrics of Regina Spektor's beautifully crafted song.

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