February 28, 2013
Inside the Complicated Faith of Johnny Cash (DAVE URBANSKI, FEBRUARY 26, 2013, Relevant)
A writer once tried to paint Cash into a corner, baiting him to acknowledge a single denominational persuasion at the center of his heart. Finally, Cash laid down the law: "I--as a believer that Jesus of Nazareth, a Jew, the Christ of the Greeks, was the Anointed One of God (born of the seed of David, upon faith as Abraham has faith, and it was accounted to him for righteousness)--am grafted onto the true vine, and am one of the heirs of God's covenant with Israel.""What?" the writer replied."I'm a Christian," Cash shot back. "Don't put me in another box."So, exactly what "kind" of Christian was Cash?A staunch, conservative, Bible thumper? It sure seems so if you read the introduction to his 1986 novel about the life of the apostle Paul, Man in White: "Please understand that I believe the Bible, the whole Bible, to be the infallible, indisputable Word of God. I have been careful to take no liberties with the timeless Word."But based on a passage from his 1997 autobiography, Cash doesn't seem as steadfast:"Once I learned what the Bible is the inspired Word of God (most of it anyway) ... "(To be fair, he continues this shadow of doubt with a gushing endorsement of Scripture, noting how "truly exciting" it is to discover new interpretations and applications to his own life.)Further, it certainly can be argued that Cash was a private man and preferred to keep his faith to himself. "I don't compromise my religion," Cash once declared. "If I'm with someone who doesn't want to talk about it, I don't talk about it. I don't impose myself on anybody in any way, including religion. When you're imposing you're offending, I feel. Although I am evangelical, and I'll give the message to anyone that wants to hear it, or anybody that is willing to listen. But if they let me know that they don't want to hear it, they ain't never going to hear it from me. If I think they don't want to hear it, then I will not bring it up. "In short, "telling others is part of our faith all right, but the way we live it speaks louder than we can say it," Cash said. "The gospel of Christ must always be an open door with a welcome sign for all.""There's nothing hypocritical about it," Cash told Rolling Stone scribe Anthony DeCurtis. "There is a spiritual side to me that goes real deep, but I confess right up front that I'm the biggest sinner of them all." To Cash, even his near deadly bout with drug addiction contained a crucial spiritual element. "I used drugs to escape, and they worked pretty well when I was younger. But they devastated me physically and emotionally--and spiritually ... [they put me] in such a low state that I couldn't communicate with God. There's no lonelier place to be. I was separated from God, and I wasn't even trying to call on Him. I knew that there was no line of communication. But He came back. And I came back."
Posted by Orrin Judd at February 28, 2013 9:06 PM