Wednesday, 23 April 2008

Josh Ritter>Thin Blue Flame

I've only just discovered Josh Ritter and I'm very glad to have found him. Not least because you can legally download a few of his tracks on his website - and I don't mean just the ones not worth listening to. I became interested in his music after reading an article describing him as a 'new Bob Dylan' - probably not a title Ritter would choose for himself and even though I can see why parallels are drawn (American, folk, guitar, poetic lyrics), whilst Ritter is good he's not that good.

However, his cracking song, 'Thin Blue Flame' (The Animal Years, 2006 and legally downloaded here) would grace any Dylan album. The lyrics are great - written as if a vision or dream. The protaganist takes a look at heaven and concepts of judgement found in religion. He concludes that the kind of heaven he's interested in, isn't the traditional one in the sky but the one on earth - the people, the land and the world around him. Ahhhh - and of course this is the very discovery Christians are suddenly awakening to. Tom Wright is busy educating evangelicals in the idea of a heavenly and earthly union - the breaking in of God's reign. Josh Ritter seems to have got there somehow, too.

'I wondered what it was I¹d been looking for up above
Heaven is so big there ain¹t no need to look up
So I stopped looking for royal cities in the air
Only a full house gonna have a prayer'


Cosmo said...

These are great lyrics. (I also like the way they are presented on his site.) It's a nice imagining of the new heavens and earth.

I smiled becuase as I was ready your post I thought to myself, I must mention N.T. Wright in a comment, but you beat me to it.

I'm reading 'Surprised by Hope' at the moment.

Have you looked at Wright's "unofficial" website? Loads of great stuff to read, listen and watch.

Nick Coke said...

Just started reading 'Surprised by Hope' last night. So far great stuff - I'd love to know how the more conservative evangelicals are handling it. Wright will probably be labelled a 'liberal' soon even though they've enjoyed holding him up as their champion in Biblical studies for the last 15 years! I think I had already found the website through a link on your amazing blog! (

Cosmo said...

Nice 'hat tip'. Thanks. Although I have been severely lacking in posting lately - even though I've got ideas in my notebook!

In regards to Wright, yes it will be interesting to see what the wider reaction will be, even though he has been saying this stuff for years.

Did you read his precurser to your current book? 'Simply Christian'. Equally as good.