The Eagles Rock ‘N’ Roll Theology
Listening to the Eagles on Spotify, I came across the song Learn to be Still and could not remember knowing it, though maybe I did at some point.
The song arrested my attention, so I listened to it on a loop for a while before looking up the lyrics.
Of course, the notion of being still is one every Christian has considered. The Psalmist David insisted so eloquently that we do this, when he wrote,
Come, see the works of the LORD,
who brings devastation upon the earth.
He makes wars to cease throughout the earth;
He breaks the bow and shatters the spear;
He burns the shields in the fire.
“Be still and know that I am God;
I will be exalted among the nations,
I will be exalted over the earth.”
The Eagles’ song goes like this:
Just another day in paradise
As you stumble to your bed
Give anything to silence
Those voices ringing in your head
You thought you could find happiness
Just over that green hill
You thought you would be satisfied
But you never will
Learn to be still
We are like sheep without a shepherd
We don’t know how to be alone
So we wander ’round this desert
Wind up following the wrong gods home
But the flock cries out for another
And they keep answering that bell
One more starry-eyed Messiah
Meets a violent farewell
Learn to be still
It is possible they are taking all religious types to task, calling out all believers of every kind. The reference to a starry-eyed Messiah meeting a violent farewell and the notion of following “the wrong gods home” could be aimed at the faith of the Christ-follower. Seems to fit.
I am not going to quibble over this. I am settled in my faith and satisfied that the Messiah is all He claimed and that death was the victim, not Him. That settled, I want to move on to consider the words that really caught my ear. Here they are…
There are so many contradictions
In all these messages we send
How do I get outta here?
Where do I fit in?
Though the world is torn and shaken
Even if your heart is breakin’
It’s waiting for you to awaken
Someday you will
Learn to be still
Contradictions and Conflict Everywhere
The writers, Don Henley and Stanley Lynch, in this part of the song, turn their attention to the messages we send rather than the ones we receive. They boil all of our questions down to questions about how to get out of whatever jam we find ourselves in and how to find where we fit in the scheme of things.
Contradictions! How do I get out? Where do I fit in?
This makes me consider, and when I do consider, I consider that, for humanity, every discovery is self-discovery, and every inquiry is a look inside. We don’t know anything if we fail to know ourselves. We project. We look at the world and at others through the lens of prejudice. We see the worst of ourselves in the best of others and the best of ourselves when making comparisons and judgments.
“We see the world not as it is, but as we are,” wrote author Anais Nin.
Long before that, the Apostle Paul wrote to his protégé, Titus, “To the pure, all things are pure; but to the defiled and unbelieving, nothing is pure. Indeed, both their minds and their consciences are defiled.” (Titus 1:15)
Wasn’t Paul saying the same thing as Anais? If you do not trust your own heart, you will never trust another’s. Suspect people suspect people of suspect behavior.
Some call the innocent “gullible.” What??? No! Innocence is not a thing to be mocked. Those who do so are the worst kind of people. They not only revel in their own indiscretions and indulgences; they do their best to pull others into their cleverly disguised misery. They marginalize the innocent by calling them gullible and unrealistic and not living in the real world. Pathetic.
Just because you know that misery loves company does not mean you need to be the poster child for it .
Just…be still, will ya?
When my oldest daughter was young, maybe four or five, she had a Black Widow spider crawling up her calf.
“Be still!” I told her. “Don’t move. Daddy will get it.”
She froze. I scooped the thing up in a paper towel and crushed it. Crisis averted.
What if, rather than filling every hole with desperate activity, if rather than the frantic pursuit of the ever-elusive “happiness” you so desire, you learned instead to just be still? What if you didn’t have to fill every silence with your own voice? What if you didn’t have to find ways to medicate your broken self? What if you could just be still? What if the God that Henley and Lynch either missed or dismissed just needed another moment of your time, your attention, your focus? What if you gave Him room to work out His will in your life? What if you gave Him the time to mold your mind, fashion your fashion, and mend your broken heart?
He makes wars cease – even the internal wars that ravish our lives and leave us in ruins.
He breaks the bows, shatters the spears, and incinerates the shields of the Enemy’s super soldiers of doubt, disbelief, and derision.
I pray, my friend, someday you will
Learn to just be still.