I Wrote a Song Today: “This Is Not How It’s Supposed To Be”

Here’s a first draft demo of a tune I wrote today. It’s a white-dude reggae in the tradition of Bruce Cockburn, Elvis Costello and Eric Clapton. Reggae is an excellent genre for prophetic declarations against the systems of oppression. I think that if the prophet Jeremiah was around today he’d probably be a either into reggae or the blues (or both). As Christians we have a particular way of viewing evil and suffering: it’s not supposed to be like this. We reject the concepts of Karma or that God is powerless to address the problems in the world. Instead, we believe that evil is a result of sin that has taken root in the heart of every man. It’s the fruit of a foul tree that must be killed in order for righteousness to grow in it’s place. Kill the root, and you kill the tree. Christ didn’t die just to take a bunch of holy-rollers to a golden city in the sky. He died to kill the root of all evil so that he could establish a kingdom of righteousness in which evil and suffering would pass away. Not by eradicating the wicked, but by justifying the wicked. This song is designed to remind us of the redemption of created order and the failure of the church to respond to the cries of the oppressed.

This is not how it’s supposed to be
This is not how it’s supposed to be
Kill the root and you kill the tree
This is not how it’s supposed to be

The word we teach says that true religion
means to care for the widow and the orphan
but instead we have churches built on greed
serving themselves; ignoring the cries of those in need

Children soldiers fight for diamond mines
So that young brides can have ring that shines
See a child’s body being bought and sold
To try to fill the void in a broken soul

The disciples of gangsters follow the way of the gun
The seeds of mercy seem to die in the heat of the sun
Brothers kill brothers in the summer heat
A human sacrifice to the gods of the street

There’s a foul tree that’s planted in every human heart
It produces wicked fruit that tears the world apart
The blood of Christ can kill the root of sin
So the kingdom of righteousness can begin

We claim to love an invisible Savior
yet we struggle just  to love our next door neighbor
The idolatry of safety makes us blind and dumb
Yet Christ gave us power to overcome

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  1. #1 by sarah on July 30, 2010 - 4:03 pm

    thank you kirk for putting the rambling thought i’ve been having down into a clear format…and a lovely musical style.

  2. #2 by Heidi Vincent on August 1, 2010 - 2:52 pm

    We just listened to it, and really enjoyed it. Enjoyed it, in a “this really resonates with our souls” sort of way. Lyrically powerful. Thanks for sharing

    • #3 by kirkwardmusic on August 2, 2010 - 9:41 am

      heidi, i was definitely trying to give a voice to the feelings of frustration that you guys and the rest of us are feeling about the violence and injustice that has been happening this summer.

  3. #4 by rickcruse on August 5, 2010 - 1:55 pm

    Love the lyrics. Can’t remember how often I see or hear or learn of something and, unbidden come these words: It’s not supposed to be like this. Thanks for your song. I’m reminded of what Debbie and I learned in Kenya. We can’t change/redeem every broken life and situation. BUT, we can make a difference for some, even just for one. Wonder what things could be done if everyone who claimed to be a follower of Jesus simply engaged in one person’s life/situation to be redemptive.

    Rick Cruse — a longtime friend of the Meiners’ clan

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