have seen the slow corruption
Of the best ideas of Christ
In the pulpits of our nation
Gospel turned into white lies
If you preach a subtle hatred -
The bible as your alibi
Goddam you right here in Ohio.”
- From All Over Ohio by Over The Rhine
Linford and Karin from Over The Rhine are much more a pastoral band than a political band but when they make political point they always hit the nail; prophetic punch with poetic grace.
And so on their new record Meet Me At The Edge Of The World. A double album of songs about life, love and the farmland of Ohio, is all encapsulated in this opening song of disc 2. In a lovely conversation between the duo, who are a married couple, declaring their love and need of each other, Linford takes this political/ecclesiastical nail and hammers it in.
Christian faith has often incited hatred rather than defuse it as Christ so wonderfully did. There is this almost unbelievable ability to read the Gospels about Jesus, where he models humility and speaks of love for neighbour and enemy, and preach sermons that incite hatred, sectarianism and division.
If it angers Linford in Ohio then it needs also exposed in Northern Ireland. An arrogance and pride that sets us up above others or other social or religious groupings is a slow corruption of Christ’s teaching. Humility, confession, repentance and need for forgiveness are central to our understanding of the Gospel; the opposite of arrogance indeed.
Fellow preachers? Beware. If we corrupt; goddam!