There’s a proverb – reportedly Russian – that goes like this:

The church is near, but the road is icy.
The tavern is far, but I’ll walk carefully.

It may or may not be real, but the sentiment surely is.  People do what they want to do.  We found ourselves in a close-but-not-exact situation.

Friday night, we went to Lake Isabella to hear a local blues band, 46 Long.  They had a keyboardist sitting in for the guitar player, and both are accomplished musicians.  The music was great, and the lyrics were terrible.  You done me wrong, you left me for another, I left you for another, I tried to leave you but I couldn’t.  Not exact quotes, but those were the threads throughout the songs.

Bettie mentioned that when she was in high school, she listened to secular music and was depressed because of that.  She said she wished there were Christian blues.  I told her that the two didn’t mix – Christianity and the blues are opposing concepts.  That would be like “dry water” or something.

I was wrong.

ChristianBlues.net is “the Internet’s first and largest source of blues music by Christian artists”.  They offer groups like the Victory in Heaven Blues Band, and have some free downloads.  I grabbed the tracks and will give them a listen.

On the “roads are icy” side of the proverb, we had planned to go to a hymnfest.  New Richmond is a river town about 40 minutes away, and as part of their River Days celebration, some churches were having a festival of hymns.  We had planned on going to it, but incoming bad weather helped us decide against the outdoor event.  In comparison to the blues songs, the songs for this include How Great Thou Art, Amazing Grace, and Victory in Jesus.  Bit of a difference, and much more conducive to a proper worldview.

Sunday, after supporting our church, we’re heading to see Holly Spears at the Elizabeth Ann Seton festival.  Holly is a Christian artist who has been through a lot and is joyously holding on to Christ.  She sang at our church last year, showing some of her art work and explaining how God is working in her life.

I’m standing at a crossroads
I am patiently waiting
And praying for light to be shown
Lord, which way should I go
I’ve been seeking out the answers
I’m still patiently waiting for God to say
Go down this road
It will lead you home
Don’t be scared, just go
I am with you
I am the way; I am the truth; I am the life;
I am the lamp that will guide your way always
I bring you love; I bring you peace; I give you strength;
I take away all your worries Give them all to Me

But God you see
I’ve been standing at this crossroads
For some time I have been praying and patiently waiting for you
Lord, please I beg what should I do
He said, I see your heart is in the right place
Yes, you’ve been patiently waiting
Now I say child go down this road
I have plans for you
Plans to prosper you and not to harm you
There is hope

I am the way; I am the truth; I am the life;
I am the lamp that will guide your way always
I bring you love; I bring you peace; I give you strength;
I take away all your worries Give them all to me
Lay your burdens down; have faith and then you’ll see
I am the way; I am the truth; I am the life;
I am the lamp that will guide your way always
I bring you love; I bring you peace; I give you strength;
I take away all your worries Give them all to me
Lay your burdens down just leave them at my feet
Then, follow me

(from Crossroads on Holly Spears’ Redemption Road album)

We are called generally to be in the world, but not it.  We are called specifically to be salt and light.  We attend a blues concert, plan on singing hymns, and celebrate somebody’s victory over darkness.  And we go live and shine.

Whether the church is near or far, we do have to walk carefully.

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