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Old 12-02-2005, 09:40 AM   #1
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The Gospel According to Mr. Johnny Cash

So I just saw "Walk the Line", and loved it. Was never a hugh Cash fan, but am now an admirer, and I espeically love the whole "Man in Black" idea. Solidarity with the marginalized, the oppressed, the poor, etc. Yet I know it's controversial (probably because it's provacative and challenging).

So, I'm asking: what do you think of the Man in Black? (Not Cash himself, but the metaphor of someone in mourning for the forotten, the impoverished, the imprisoned). The soldier sent to die in the unjust wars of rich men.

Did he get the gospel right? Did he go to far (solidarity with murderers? Seriously, Johnny, wtf?)

Love to hear your thoughts. Below are the lyrics, which I love.

Man In Black - Johnny Cash
Well, you wonder why I always dress in black,
Why you never see bright colors on my back,
And why does my appearance seem to have a somber tone.
Well, there's a reason for the things that I have on.

I wear the black for the poor and the beaten down,
Livin' in the hopeless, hungry side of town,
I wear it for the prisoner who has long paid for his crime,
But is there because he's a victim of the times.

I wear the black for those who never read,
Or listened to the words that Jesus said,
About the road to happiness through love and charity,
Why, you'd think He's talking straight to you and me.

Well, we're doin' mighty fine, I do suppose,
In our streak of lightnin' cars and fancy clothes,
But just so we're reminded of the ones who are held back,
Up front there ought 'a be a Man In Black.

I wear it for the sick and lonely old,
For the reckless ones whose bad trip left them cold,
I wear the black in mournin' for the lives that could have been,
Each week we lose a hundred fine young men.

And, I wear it for the thousands who have died,
Believen' that the Lord was on their side,
I wear it for another hundred thousand who have died,
Believen' that we all were on their side.

Well, there's things that never will be right I know,
And things need changin' everywhere you go,
But 'til we start to make a move to make a few things right,
You'll never see me wear a suit of white.

Ah, I'd love to wear a rainbow every day,
And tell the world that everything's OK,
But I'll try to carry off a little darkness on my back,
'Till things are brighter, I'm the Man In Black
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Old 12-02-2005, 10:46 AM   #2
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One of my favorite parts of the movie was when his label was trying to talk him out of doing the Folsom Prison concert by saying the majority of his audience are "Christian folk" and don't want to see him playing for a bunch of murderers and thieves. Johnny just calmy turns to the label and says well then they really aren't Christians.
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Old 12-02-2005, 04:17 PM   #3
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That was my favorite bit, too. I found the clip of it.

http://movies.yahoo.com/movie/1808628394/details

Click on "movie trailer" and then the clip called "The World's Changed". What a great scene!
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Old 12-02-2005, 05:10 PM   #4
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"I shot a man in Reno, just to watch him die..."

Do you think Johnny Cash would have gotten away with lines like this if he wasn't white? I'm not trying to start a war here, it just baffles me that these kinds of lines didn't stir up a storm.
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Old 12-02-2005, 07:07 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally posted by U2Man
"I shot a man in Reno, just to watch him die..."

Do you think Johnny Cash would have gotten away with lines like this if he wasn't white? I'm not trying to start a war here, it just baffles me that these kinds of lines didn't stir up a storm.
He created characters, not all of them were people you would want to hang out with. Nothing more.

And his music did create quite a storm back then.

Not sure what color of skin has to do with it.
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Old 12-02-2005, 07:53 PM   #6
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Quote:
Did he go to far (solidarity with murderers? Seriously, Johnny, wtf?)
I think you can still feel something for those in prison. Yeah, you'd not want to hang out with them out on the streets, but I think what he was going for was Jesus's stance in the Bible about hanging out with the "undesirables."

"The Pharisees were indignant. 'Why does your teacher eat with such scum?' they asked his disciples. When he heard this, Jesus replied, 'Healthy people don't need a doctor; sick people do.' Then he added, 'Now go and learn the meaning of this scripture: I want you to be merciful; I don't want your sacrifices.' For I have come to call sinners, not those who think they are already good enough.'"--Matthew 9:11-13
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Old 12-03-2005, 07:42 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally posted by BonoVoxSupastar


He created characters, not all of them were people you would want to hang out with. Nothing more.

And his music did create quite a storm back then.

Not sure what color of skin has to do with it.
Well, if a young black hiphop star sang something like this, how would people and the media react?
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Old 12-03-2005, 07:50 AM   #8
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Hello guys! Thanks for the thoughts.

Mmmm....if the late great JR Cash was black....

Well, I tend to agree with BVS. It *did* create a storm. Hence the production company's unwillingness at first to go with him. And I'm sure he both lost and gained many fans for it.

Aislinn: Yes, I totally agree. I was characterizing the reaction of some to the idea of compassion for or interest in the welfare of criminals. Nothing could be more Biblical, to my mind. Yet we hear a lot of "tough on crime" rhetoric, to the point where some argue that juvie offenders should be put to death! I guess that's what I'm reacting to. I find that attitude antithetical to the Gospel.
The sins of the men in Folsom prison and elsewhere were real. They were guilty as hell. Yet still human. How much do we as a society really mean it when we say human life has worth simply because it is?

What I love about Cash's approach is that he doesn't take the easy way out. That is, the men weren't wrongly accused or driven by hunger to steal food or something. They had willingly, knowingly committed terrible crimes. By forcing us as listeners to confront that reality, the radical, incomprehensible nature of God's grace and forgivness become even more real, too. It the sin isn't real, grace ain't worth a whole lot.
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Old 12-03-2005, 01:14 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally posted by U2Man


Well, if a young black hiphop star sang something like this, how would people and the media react?
Well I would say they have, and it sparked controversy, some have gained from it others haven't.
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Old 12-05-2005, 01:40 PM   #10
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I've been listening to Johnny Cash since seeing the movie, I love that one called Singer Of Songs (on the Unearthed CD). It made me think of Bono, how he talked on 60 Minutes about being remembered for his music and not his humanitarian work.
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Old 12-06-2005, 10:52 AM   #11
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Cool thread. If you're interested in Cash's faith, you HAVE to check out "The Man Comes Around: The Spiritual Journey of Johnny Cash." It's stunning. Seriously, it reads like an Old Testament story. I'm glad the movie had the parts about faith, especially the part BVS mentioned when they were trying to get the record company to back the live album at the prison, but there's So much more to his faith. Miraculous things took place in this man's life.

If you want to check out the book, go to www.relevantmagazine.com, then click on the red "store" link and go to books and do a search for it. These people also did "Walk On: The Spirtual Journey of U2," and they did one on Bob Dylan as well. Cool stuff.
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Old 12-06-2005, 11:21 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally posted by coemgen
but there's So much more to his faith. Miraculous things took place in this man's life.
That's what turned me off to the movie. While I enjoyed the performances, it seemed that the role that his faith played in his life was downplayed. Especially irritating was the role of June as his "savior." She was a driving support in his life and provided unflinching stability, no doubt, but let's not get carried away.
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Old 12-06-2005, 12:05 PM   #13
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I can agree with you, stammer476. I was hoping there'd be more of his faith in there too. It was a huge part of who he was. Personally, I think that book I mentioned above is better as far as a story. There's a part where it tells how Cash reached a low point and basically went into this dark, long, maze of a cave to die. He knew he wouldn't be able to find his way out (I think he was on a drug at the time) and so he figured he'd just get lost there, away from everyone, and die. He then felt a presence come over him and felt the urge to make his way out. He some how did make his way out and June was there waiting for him!!! He didn't even tell her he was going there!!! Stuff like this took place throughout his entire life. God was at work in many ways — it'll give you goosebumps.
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Old 12-06-2005, 12:06 PM   #14
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Plus, U2 is mentioned in the book. (Of course )
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Old 12-06-2005, 12:27 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally posted by stammer476


That's what turned me off to the movie. While I enjoyed the performances, it seemed that the role that his faith played in his life was downplayed. Especially irritating was the role of June as his "savior." She was a driving support in his life and provided unflinching stability, no doubt, but let's not get carried away.
June is the one who brought faith into the forefront of his life. The reason you may have thought faith to be "downplayed" is that it didn't really take place yet, given the timeline of the movie.

The one disappointment I had was the minus of the cave scene, which coemgen describes.
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