Sunday, February 04, 2007

In the Gaze of the Spotlight's Eye

I have decided that on Sundays I am going to have Mark Heard songs and music videos (not necessarily Mark Heard) and sometimes an interpretation or background added to them.

This particular video is a cover by singer Monte Montgomery of Mark Heard's In the Gaze of the Spotlight's Eye from his Eye of the Storm album (only available now from iTunes).

In the Gaze Of the Spotlight's Eye

In the gaze of the spotlight's eye
A long way from home
Still nauseous from a turbulent sky
Up on the stage alone
The live end of a microphone
Point-blank to my soul
I'm trying hard
To keep my self-control

I want to go home
I wish that this night would end
I've got to go on
And shoot from the heart again

Somebody came for the rock n' roll
Somebody came for a smile
Somebody came for a sermon in song
Or something to call worthwhile
The expectations of who-knows-who
Examining my soul
Unknown faces expecting me to play some role

And oh, I want to go home
I wish that this night would end
But I've got to go on
And shoot from the heart again

I don't have no magical words
No pockets full of spiritual jewels
I only know about the way things are
In light of the simple truth
I don't know which hearts are breaking
Or whose flags are truly unfurled
Between here and heaven and the outside world

And oh, I want to go home
I wish that this night would end
But I've got to go on
And shoot from the heart again

Written by Mark Heard
© 1983 Bug ´n Bear Music

Liner notes from Eye of the Storm:

Would you comment on some of the songs on Eye of the Storm?

How about "In the Gaze of the Spotlight's Eye"?

In order to be honest I'd have to admit that there are many things about being on the road that are difficult. But along with the problems comes much satisfaction, and I'm quite grateful to be doing what I'm doing; the people who support me are a source of deep thankfulness for me. l am just a person who writes about the world around him, and who is a Christian, simultaneously. If that is all people would expect of me, then my job would be a lot easier. But sometimes there are expectations, as I've discussed before. When you have to explain yourself to someone who finds a certain song you wrote not "Christian" enough for his tastes, it can be rather trying. (It is terribly unfair to be treated as "unspiritual" because of something like that, but it happens.) Christian society has been conditioned to expect certain cultural or sociological patterns to be repeated in the presence of other Christians, and these patterns often come from the culture at large rather than from the Bible. I hear so many silly things, and I long for the Church to wake up and gain an acumen for seeing through the veil of the stereotypical Christian sociological standards that shroud so many well-intentioned activities.

"These Plastic Halos" is a plea for that sort of honesty - putting tears back on the list of things to be considered okay for someone who is a Christian.

Could you define Christian cynicism? Is it just a matter of open eyes?

Well, Christian cynicism is not my term, but I'll take a stab at it. I think there is a balance between being cynical and being gullible. I think that before anyone makes a decision that is going to deeply affect his life, he should know what he is doing. I think there is much gullibility going on in the world, and in the Christian world as well. I think it is possible that decisions can be made hastily and without proper understanding. The nature of media-influenced society is that decisions are quick and shallow and information tends to be watered down to a point that it is simplified beyond its complexity. I think we have to be careful not to accept everything we hear whether it's from a television network commercial (or as Alfred Hitchcock so aptly said, "an adaptation of a Japanese non-drama by some Madison Avenue yes-man"), or whether it's from a Bible study teacher. I think a grain of cynicism helps undermine gullibility. If one delves more deeply into matters undergirding his belief, it can serve to strengthen that belief. If Christianity is the truth, we should dig more deeply in matters relating to that truth, such as history, philosophy, archaeology, or dealing with the theory of evolution on a deeper level than is popular within Christian school systems. We shouldn't go around saying things that resemble greeting card slogans and expect the roots of our faith to go very deep. If we are basing our faith on our own feelings about God or our perceptions of the way things seem to be to us, and our message to the word becomes, ''Well, Jesus changed my life'', then I believe our Christianity is incomplete, and brought to the same level for caricatured media competition as every other existentialistic thrust. If our faith doesn't involve our mental processes as well as our hearts, then we aren't going to have anything to say to people because whatever we say will be disconnected from objectivity, and will be perceived as mere opinion. When I see the sort of atrophied, simplistic, absentmindedness that is being passed off as Christianity these days, of course I would encourage people to be cynical; cynical enough to see through the trends that occur even within the walls of the Church, to see them for what they are, and to reject them when they fall short of the truth, even though they may be popular and sound like "spiritual" ideas.

Thanks to the Mark Heard Lyric Project for posting all of this information.

1 comment:

John said...

Thank you for this post, particularly the album liner notes. I've only very recently become a Mark Heard fan. Perhaps fan is not the best word. His music moves me inside and makes me a better person, because of his honesty and transparency.