Wednesday, July 04, 2007

The unforgivable sin as expressed by Andy Prieboy

“Truly, I say to you, all sins will be forgiven the children of man, and whatever blasphemies they utter, but whoever blasphemes against the Holy Spirit never has forgiveness, but is guilty of an eternal sin”

Jesus Christ, Mark 3:28–29

I caught Andy Prieboy’s Tomorrow Wendy on the radio on the weekend and it’s been an ear worm for me for the last few days. I really like the song, but when it gets to the third verse I’m afraid I can’t sing along.

I told the priest -
“don’t count on
any second coming.
God got his ass kicked
the first time he
came down here slumming
He had the balls to come,
the gall to die and then
forgive us -
No, I don’t wonder why
I wonder what he thought
it would get us.”

But God says “jump”,
so I set the time
’cause if he ever saw it
it was through these eyes of mine
and if He ever suffered
it was me who did His crying …

Hey, hey, good bye
tomorrow Wendy’s
going to die.

This perfectly expresses what Jesus is saying in Mark 3. The song gets the gospel right—God suffering and dying to forgive—but rejects the offer of salvation, and even the suffering itself.

So, as Jesus says, God will forgive us everything, but if we call the Holy Spirit a liar and reject his offer of forgiveness as worthless, there can be no forgiveness—we’ve committed an eternal, unforgivable sin.

Which is not the thing to be doing if you’re going to die.


lakeside said...

If you've never seen and daily watched someone dying of AIDS, especially back in the time that the song was written, you have no room to criticize nor pontificate.
I know, I watched my Dad during the early 1980's die of AIDS. Most doctors didn't even know how to diagnose it properly much less any helps to give to patients. There were no inhibitors nor anti-viral drugs available and meds for pain were virtually non-existent.
Unless you have gone through that experience, you have no room for judging...leave THAT to God.

lakeside said...

By the way, I went to grade school, high school and a few years of college with Andy Prieboy. He is an extremely talented musician and was always one of the most caring and kind people that I've ever come across. And I've worked in the music business for a looooong time.

blatmann said...

@lakeside I think you may be missing my point. I wasn't criticising Andy at all, I think he beautifully and eloquently expresses the anger people feel with God about suffering.

My point is that in the song he (or Wendy?) rejects God's offer of help.

It's not like God is unaware of our suffering, not at all. He knows all about suffering. As the song says, he got his ass kicked. And, I might add, his body beaten, and flogged and crucified.
And then he forgave us.

That's pretty much the Bible's message in a nutshell.

But clearly in the song Andy/Wendy's rejecting that offer of forgiveness, and discounting Jesus' suffering.

I'm not criticising him, and certainly not judging him, I'm backing up what he says in the song--unless I've completely misunderstood what he's saying, help me out here if I have.

Lakeside55 said...

First of all....Oh my goodness...what do I see? An intelligent communique' coming to me!

Ok, Well, a little background on where Andy and I grew up and our education. We're from a steelmill town that was rough, tough and unforgiving in a lot of ways. Secondly, we are both the product of the Catholic School system during the 60's and 70's. The nuns were allowed to beat kids, humiliate them and there was 100% intolerance for being creative or 'different'. Teachers had their true favorites, and that held for the 8 years of grade school. Catholic high school wasn't much better. The only good thing was that the tyrrany lasted only 4 years.
We were told things when it was hot in school..."Jesus hung on the cross...thing how thirsty he must have been". NO sensitivity toward our mortal needs/desires. If you threw a paper away a nun would shove it in your face and tell you that God was going to burn you with that paper when you died. Oh, such a good thing to tell a child!!! Result: and angry bitter child/teen/grownup who sees God as nothing more than a tyrant to be feared, nothing taught us about God's love ever.
What we were taught about God came out of memorization of the "Baltimore Caticism" book, and angry rants from the nuns. No love ever mentioned. Just threats.

Lakeside55 said...

I bet that Andy was told as many times as I was that I was going to go to hell and also such tidbits such as "God will kill your parents and you won't ever see them again" for not learning a lesson or misbehaving. I didn't misbehave much. I was too sickly. Found out when I was 28 that I was born with a heart defect so bad that I should have been dead by age ONE! Andy was a live wire. Highly intelligent and creative.
I didn't hear the novel idea of a loving God until I was in my 30's.
Did you ever hear of the "Our Lady of the Angel's Fire" in Chicago, IL in 1958. That school fire that claimed 92 children was used to terrorize us. It was God's wrath...and the same would happen to us if we misbehaved. The nuns enjoyed regaling us with tales of children burning alive at their seats, ah, but they prayed the rosary as they died, they told us.
The families of those children and the burned survivors were told in 58 things like "It was God's will"...."God needed more angels to sing to him". What kind of selfish beast is this that kills 92 children because he wanted more singers is what we thought to ourselves. GO to the website sometime and read what the survivors have to say. You'll find an astounding amount of bitterness, anger and confusion still some 50+ years later. ALL caused by the doctrines that were force-fed us untempered.

Lakeside55 said...

My Dad's family came to this country from Yugoslavia when he was 7, in 1926. When it came time for him to make his First Communion he was very excited. He'd learned his catechism and his extremely poor family had made sacrifices to get him a new suit. The day came and he wasn't allowed to participate because ALL the family (large family) dues were not up to date. He was crushed. My Dad was a child prodigy on the violin and other instruments. He was performing by age 7. But he wasn't allowed to make his First Communion. He never 'joined' the church again.
When he died the stupid priest at my Mom's parish wouldn't allow his casket to Mass because he hadn't paid his dues. DUMB DUMB DUMB. My Dad was a very kind gentle man who would have given the shirt off his back to anyone.
Oh, gee, maybe it was because my Dad died of AIDS...hmmmm...maybe this was the REAL reason why he wasn't allowed in the church and left in the vestibule during his funeral mass!!!

Lakeside55 said...

So, if God sends Dad to hell for dying of AIDS, and I never got to ask how he got it, then I guess I'll go to hell too for dying of Hepatitis C that I PROBABLY got from a blood transfusion to fix my bad heart. BUT...maybe it was from a boyfriend, ah, but so far non of my ex's have declared to be Hep C positive.
Bitter, naaaahhhh...not at all, says with a smirk. Thinks the Catholic church is full of poop. YUP! Thinks that the nuns who abused us went to heaven...HOPE NOT!!!

Lakeside55 said...

But I'm speaking for myself.
As to what Mr. Andy Prieboy meant, was it him or Wendy who 'expressed the unforgivable sin''d have to ask him directly yourself. I haven't seen nor spoke with him in years.
All I know is how we were raised in Catholic school back then and what it is like to watch someone you care about and love die of AIDS.
The unforgivable part is that people are still suffering from it, that there is no cure yet.

blatmann said...

Mate! No wonder you're angry at God! I'm so sorry you and your Dad and Andy got such appalling treatment from people who claimed to know God. It makes me very angry that they've misrepresented him like that.

I'd never heard about the Our Lady of the Angel's fire, it was just horrific. I can't believe the nuns used it to terrorise you ... no wait, I can actually. But it's awful nonetheless.

I can completely understand why you'd reject a God like that. Any sane person would, wouldn't they?

But that's not the true God is it? If there is a God he has to be better than that, and I think that's why people get so angry, because we know what God should be, and when some religion tells us differently, we're very right to reject it.

I'm trying really hard to avoid any of those Christian clichés here, because they won't do either of us any favours, and I know how hard it is to get vomit out of computer keyboards. But the God I know and love is very different from that God--but you knew I'd say that didn't you?

I also don't want to sell God short by saying he's all butterflies and lollypops and rainbows either. The Bible makes it clear that God brings suffering on people. The big question is alway "why?".
God's written a book on that subject, so I'm not going to be able to get the nuances right in a blog comment, so please forgive me if this sounds glib, it's not meant to be: I think that there's suffering in the world because God wants us to realise that there's more to the universe than just ourselves. He wants us to realise that the world is not right and that we really need God.

God really, really doesn't want us to go to hell. He himself suffered and died so we wouldn't have to go there. It's that bad, and he loves us that much.

You know where this is going, right?

We need a relationship with God, but our sin means that we can't have a relationship with him. So Jesus dies so we can be forgiven our sins and have a relationship with God.

Of course, having gone through what you've been through I'd understand if you didn't--but the offer's still open. Contrary to what the nuns may have told you, anyone can go to heaven, you pretty much just have to say thank you.

I know that may not be that convincing coming from me, but Jesus says it himself. What does he mean by "all sins will be forgiven the children of man, and whatever blasphemies they utter", other than that we can be forgiven everything?

If you need God's forgiveness--and I sure as hell do--it's a very generous offer. In fact it's probably because the forgiving bit is so unbelievable that we gloss right over it and go straight to the unforgivable bit. But if Jesus is right--and I think he is, he is God after all--then we can be forgiven everything.
Jesus has to mean that no-one will go to hell for dying of AIDS, or Hep C, or even for being angry with God. Doesn't he?