Johnny Cash

Ragged Old Flag (Col. 3:11)

Our love of God must be primary. Everything in our lives, including our love of country, but be subservient to our love of God and must be properly ordered in light of the teachings of Jesus. Our citizenship of our country can never take priority over our citizenship in heaven.

Sunday Morning Coming Down (Romans 7)

“Sunday Morning Coming Down” is our reality into which the good news of Jesus Christ is spoken. The story of the Gospel begins with the recognition that we are enslaved to the elemental spirits of this world. (Gal. 4:1-9). Not unlike the demonics in the Gospels (Matt. 8:28-34), drug addiction, or other non-God-centered behavior, is a matter of possession and ownership of the person by evil. As Paul argues, we are enslaved to the one that we obey. (Rom. 6:16). And within this condition of slavery, “I do not do the good I want, but the evil I do not want is what I do.” (Rom. 7:19).

Ira Hayes (Exodus 22)

God is always found on the side of the oppressed, not because they are inherently better than the oppressor, but rather simply because they are oppressed. The challenge for us is to see the world as God sees the world. To see the world through the eyes of the Israelite slave or the Judean captive and not from the perspective of the Egyptian pharaoh or the conquering Babylonians.

San Quentin (Habakkuk 1)

Cash plays the role of the prophet. He sings about the dehumanization, brutality, and ultimate ineffectiveness of San Quentin Prison. His hatred for the institution pervades the entire song. Cash knows that he is singing for those who have no voice for the injustices that they face.

Greystone Chapel (Psalm 84)

The song uses the physical presence of Greystone Chapel as a metaphor for the vibrant spirituality that can be found within prison. It is a song about how a person’s mind who is aligned with Jesus can transcend his physical circumstances. In this way, the song echoes Paul’s observation that “where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom.” 2 Cor. 3:17.