Wednesday, February 15, 2006

Where’d All the Good People Go?

I’ve become a fan of Jack Johnson’s music. Its sort of a mellow, fun, island music with guitar and a nice touch of steel drums. Very cool. He also has some words that are good and carry some worthwhile ideas. May I recommend a couple of songs; “Break Down” is a song about slowing life down and enjoying it for a while. Another song I like is a cut called, “Good People”. This is a song about seeing the television and wondering, “where’d all the good people go?”

In the chorus Johnson says,

"Where'd all the good people go?
I've been changing channels
I don’t see them on the TV shows
Where’d all the good people go
We got heaps and heaps of what we sow."

Yes there is some good on the tube. There are some good people in the world and some who are doing good things. But don’t we have too much appetite for the bad? (Look at that last line from the chrous again.) I don’t have enough cynicism in me to believe that everything is bad and getting worse. I want to fight through my cynicism and see the good people being and doing what is good. Paul wrote, “[Jesus Christ] who gave himself for us to redeem us from all wickedness and to purify for himself a people that are his very own, eager to do what is good.” (Titus 2:14)

The phrase “what is good” appears 6 times in the three chapters of Titus. Give the book a quick read and you’ll see that “doing good” is thematic in the letter. I read a piece by Dr. George Sheehan some years ago where he described a man out for a jog on a beautiful morning. He sees a man painting on the eve of his house. So the jogger yelled up to the painter, “Do good!” Without looking up the painter yelled back, “Intend to.” To which the jogger yelled back, “God’s watching.” Again the painter responded, “Hope so.”

My encouragement is that, as Sam the Brave says in The Lord of the Rings, “there is some good in the world, and its worth fighting for.” Believe in the goodness of God in the world. Don’t buy into all the bad we hear or observe. The noble heart does good, believes good and even fights for good. I know everything isn't good. But He who is good is present in everything and He is the redeemer of all things.

Michael Taylor

George Sheehan – Personal Best 1992
Jack Johnson – In Between Dreams 2005


gibor_el said...

I think even bad people do good intentionally sometimes. Take for example the phrase, "the ends justify the means." That, to me is an excuse to do bad inorder to ultimately do good. So the shady dealings in the short run are supposed to provide a good outcome.

I personally think the paradox doesn't work or will catch up with you, but none the less the idea is there.

I also have a hard time buying the "because I'm bad" as an excuse for doing things. Look at Sawyer in Lost. (For those of you who don't watch or are behind I will be vague.) With all the garbage he is pulling when asked why, he says, "I'm not a good guy. That's why."

Maybe it is the optimist in me, but I don't buy it. I think we all have the potential to do good, and even if the definition of good is subject to change, (which I think is garbage) people who say they have no interest in God or good or anything like that still "want to do right by people." Funny ain't it?

Screaming Flea said...

...and folks will remember Samwise the Brave. Frodo would not have gotten far without Sam...
Paul wouldn't have gotten far without Barnabas. My dad has said for years that people are a lot better than it sometimes appears. A few days ago several men did the best they could to save two little girls from a burning car. Where'd all the good people go? Oh, they're around... sometimes we just need to coax them out into the open. I love the old song which says "you've got to accentuate the positive, eliminate the negative....and don't mess with Mr. Inbetween." Probably a song we should sing in church. Thanks for the encouragement... good people are here.