Anderson, Indiana Concert Review
November 16, 1995
[Intro to Save Me]
Good evening. You guys want to be in the band tonight? Here's what you do - you get your car keys out. Get them out of your pocket and hold them up in front of you and then you shake them and just try to keep a beat with them. That's all you gotta do.
[The Howling] Thank you!
[Calling Out Your Name]
This is a song off the new album. It's called Cry the Name.
[Cry the Name]
[Intro to I See You]
All right, this is a sing along song, so, what we'll do is I'll sing a line to the song and then you sing it back. OK? Ready?
[I See You]
Thank you, you're singing very good! I'm going to introduce a guy that I've been co-writing with now for eight years, and we've, uh, done a lot of stuff together. This is Beaker. (Applause) Back there with the singers is his wife Julie. (Applause) They now have a 16 month old boy named Aiden, and Beaker wanted to write him a song, and we wrote about 500. None of them were good enough (audience laughter). So I was definitely relieved when we finally wrote this. This is called Let Mercy Lead.
[Let Mercy Lead]
That's Rick Elias on guitar over there (applause). This is a song that you guys have to sing because it's too high for me to hit. Your part goes "one thing" (Rich strains to hit these notes since they are so high, and as a result, he sings off key). See what I mean? (audience laughter) Can you do that?
Audience: "One thing"
RM: You can do it! You do it great! So, please do it every time, and if you know the part about "the pure in heart" you can sing that too.
[My One Thing]
This song is called Brother's Keeper.
[Hold Me Jesus]
This here's the first song me and Beaker ever wrote together, and we started in Lincoln, Illinois, and we finished in St. Louis, and it's called Boy Like Me/Man Like You.
[Boy Like Me/Man Like You] (audience cheers at the mention of Indiana in the song)
Thank you. I've always wished I'd grown up in a state that had fewer syllables so that I could cheat and when I was in Ohio I could, you know, sing "Ohio," and when I was in Kentucky, "Kentucky," but Indiana has more syllables than you can cheat on very easily so it keeps me honest. I'm not above doing things just for the sake of applause (audience laughter). In fact, of all my 63 top addictions (audience laughter) applause is pretty high on the list (applause). It's very dangerous, and, uh, thank you for clapping, and please remember that you did that when I turn into a brat.
This is a song I wrote, probably, you know, I had a kind of privileged childhood. I grew up sort of in a Norman Rockwell painting. The only thing that was weird in my raising was the Communist headquarters - you may not know about this (audience laughter). But the Communist Headquarters was in our barn (audience laughter). I don't know if you know how they populated when I was a little kid - I understood this perfectly well that the Communist populated their countries by hiding out in barns in Indiana and if you were late going out to do your chores, and you had to go out after dark they would snatch you (audience laughter), and take you over to Russia and turn you into a Communist, and I wasn't ever sure at the time what a Communist was but I knew they were bad (audience laughter). I knew they were scary, so I always tried to avoid going out to the barn for any reason, at all, because it generally, there was work to be done once you got out there (audience laughter). Which work has never been a big addiction of mine (audience laughter).
That's I think how I became so religious (audience laughter). No, not the avoiding work part! Religion is in all in favor of work and stuff. But, the being scared of going out to the barn because I always was, because of the Commies, you know (audience laughter). So I would quote the 23rd Psalm all the way out to the barn several times. I could get it in about five times before I got to the barn and I felt fairly covered. Then on the way back from the barn I normally could get all the way to "I shall not want. He maketh..." and then I'd be at the door and out of breath.
So I think if you want to be religious, the key is to march straight ahead in to whatever scares you the most, and that will make you learn more of the Bible (audience laughter). You don't memorize as much when you're running as when you're walking fearfully toward the headquarters of the enemy.
I had a great-grandmother that lived right next door to us. She was a great woman. She probably, if I think about who the person, you know, whatever spiritual director that might have had the most impact on my life it would probably be my great-grandmother, because she was really a wonderful woman and had a very down to earth approach to religion. She said bad words sometimes, and I loved that (audience laughter). That's why I always liked Christmas - because it was the only time you could say 'ass' in church (audience laughter). I used to sing that line out of that carol over and over again (audience laughter).
But anyway, when she finally died, I realized how mortal we all were because everyone who knew my great-grandmother just assumed that she wouldn't die and when she finally did, it was kind of sobering. So I wrote this song not because of her death, but because I'm so selfish that when anyone else dies, I think about how I'm going to do that too someday. Unless I stay really lucky. But I doubt that that will happen, so that's how this song came about.
Thank you. Now we'll do a song that I forgot to put on the last album. We wrote it for the last album but then we forgot to record it (audience laughter). So we ended up with only nine songs, we had to write a real bad one quick (audience laughter). I won't tell you which one that was (audience laughter).
This is, you know, I often take the part of the underdog. I think I'm a natural born bleeding heart. I noticed there were no good Christian break up songs (audience laughter and applause). So I decided to write one (audience laughter). Because I know more about that. Everyone else was having babies, you know, and so, I helped co-write songs for people who had kids. They had to fill in most of the information and I just used my imagination (audience laughter). I got tired of that, so I decided to write something I knew something about (audience laughter). I'm always worried though about doing it in front of people because of all the Focus on the Family stuff (audience laughter). But even in good families you break up sometimes, and I don't think it has to be looked at as a happy thing - that's why we try to avoid at as much as possible because it is an unhappy occurrence.
Do you ever just wanna, do you ever find yourself sitting in church on Sunday morning and you just get this urge to stand up and say "OK, cut the bull...!" (audience laughter and applause). Well, that's what this song is about. It goes...
[We Are Not as Strong as We Think We Are]
Thank you. Well, that's kind of a downer song - I'll try not to do it again (audience laughter).
This is a song I wrote a long time ago, just because everything was going great. I think - have you ever seen the movie The Trip to Bountiful? You should get that if you haven't seen it because it's a really wonderful movie. Geraldine Page is in it. She's talking, her character is talking about how some days everything goes great, some days everything goes rotten, which I agree with most of. Except most of the time for me it's been decades (audience laughter). She says "I guess some days the Lord's just with you," and she says, "Maybe the Lord's with us all the time we just don't know it." I tend to think that that must be the way it is because I think if you're a Christian then you just have to assume that God is good, right? And if God is good, than I think we also pretty much assume that life is a gift from God and if God is good and he gives us life, then life must be good even if we don't particularly like it. It's not important to like it, it's just important to not die (audience laughter).
As long as you can, don't die (audience laughter). So this is, I wrote this because things were going good but I realized that things don't always - things always go good, I guess, but things aren't always pleasant. Then I was thinking about the whole thing of going out to the barn when I was a kid and how scared I was and how scared of the dark I was until I became a teenager (audience laughter). That fixes that! Once you become a teenager, the scariest thing in life, in all of life, is the whole thing of being in love. I think it's a very - you put yourself in a very precarious place when you decide to do that. I have this theory about marriage and singleness. My theory is that - well, my dad gave me this really great advice one time. He said "if you can live without her, do." (audience laughter)
Audience member: Preach it man, preach it!
RM: Well, I did, and that's why I write break up songs - and other people write dating songs (audience laughter and applause).
But my theory is that for those of us who are too weak to remain single, God gives us a spouse. For those of us who are too hung up to handle marriage, God gives us celibacy. So, pick your weakness. Pick your poison, I guess. But anyway, for those of you who do choose to be in love and stuff, go for it (audience laughter). And I think it's a good thing - I've heard a lot about it (audience laughter). Anyway, Kelly and Bill are going to get married I think in July or something really soon. So, good luck, and I think this song may be applicable.
[If I Stand]
Thank you. That's why I always tell these really sad stories (audience laughter). It works! (audience laughter)
We're doing (coughing)... excuse me... so sorry. I didn't mean to get this cold. We're doing this tour with International Bible Society and you know I've worked for years with Compassion. I'm still a Compassion Rep., and I still love the work with Compassion International. Are any of you Compassion Sponsors? (applause). It's a great organization, but because I moved to the reservation last fall, and I'm beginning to get somewhat acquainted with some of what we're up against in terms of, or what the church is up against in terms of working with Native Americans, I decided to do this tour with International Bible Society because they have an edition of Scriptures that I'm very excited about. It's called The Jesus Way. What The Jesus Way is, is an edition that's easy to read English partly because for many Native American people, English is a second language.
---Recording cuts to---
[Quoting Deuteronomy to the Devil]
[The Color Green]
OK, this next song is a dance song, so if you don't dance, we'll be wasting our time.
Thank you. Wow, you guys are the best dancing we've had so far (applause), which is a such a shock because I'm from Indiana, and I don't dance! You know, I always went to dances, because you don't meet a lot of girls hanging out at home. Not the datable kind - unless you live in Arkansas (audience laughter).
So I'd always go to dances, and not dance. I was always the guy hanging out by the punch bowl, wishing I was a Nazarene, because that way if someone asked "you want to dance?" I could say, "No, it's against my religion." (audience laughter) I always had to go "No, I'm too hung up." (audience laughter) But I could hang out great. I could hang out with the best of them.
Where I live, there's this road, and you can go... the thing about roads up here is you know how straight they are? I always liked that. So after the dances or ball games or whatever, we'd all go up... I don't know if you remember this, but they used to build trucks out of steel and stuff (audience laughter). So these things were indestructible, and we'd all take our dad's trucks up on North Cart Road and we'd park side by side and we'd tune that AM station, you know, on that high fidelity radio and we'd have tons really bad sounds coming out of our trucks.
And you'd take walks and you'd put the tailgate down and lay out in the backs of those trucks and you'd look up at the stars. It looked so beautiful and we had everything figured out. We were so smart. We got dumber (audience laughter). As time went on, I can't remember anything. We knew how to impeach Nixon - which I wish I could remember what that was now (audience laughter). We knew how to end the war, end poverty and get rich all at the same time. Then, you know, like I said, now we can't remember. But the nice thing about getting older is that it bothers you less and less how stupid you are (audience laughter). Because you hang out with smart people long enough and you see that they have nothing that you want. It's more important to be alive than it is to be smart. Better a living dog than a dead lion, I guess.
And so, there were times though, I was always the last one to leave - because I never wanted to miss anything. Nothing ever went on, so I don't know what I was worried about, but the cool thing would be, because of how straight the roads were, what you could do was if it was a full moon, you could drive just a little bit faster than you knew you should and when you got your speed up really good, then you turn your lights out, and you drive by moonlight... until you took out a row of fences or something (audience laughter).
Well, I went back there - they've ruined it. They built houses all over the place. It's not a whole lot of fun anymore. But I did notice one amazing thing last time I went up there - that is that the stars are still up there. There are things that don't change. There are people who become obsessive with antiquities. There are people who become obsessive with what's current. I don't think either one amounts to a hill of beans. I think what is eternal is what really matters. So, that's that.
I went to this church one time where they wanted me to dance. Those churches always scare me (audience laughter). That's why I so glad there are denominations. I think it's wonderful, if you want to dance that you can go to a church that does that, I just don't want you to do it at my church. We just like to sit still. Anyway, I went with a friend of mine. We got there, and everyone's dancing around, and I was doing my Hoosier thing (audience laughter). This lady came up and said "Dance brother, don't you have the Spirit?" And I went, "Wow, you know, I didn't realize that dancing was one of the fruits of the Spirit... or any of the gifts either. I didn't know that was the equivalent of being spiritually vital."
And she went, "Well, David danced."
And I said, "Well, right lady, in his underwear! How far do you want to take this?" (audience laughter) So I think dancing is fine for those of you who like to do it. The most reiterated command in the whole Bible- you might not know this, but the most reiterated command in the whole Bible is the command to sing.
So, I figure when you find a command that is easy to follow and fun to follow you should follow it a lot, because not all of them are that easy. And certainly some of them are less fun than that. So, in the effort to up your chances here tonight, we're going to ask you to sing. This is kind of a song about growing up in Indiana, but it's also kind of a song about living in the presence of the God who is eternal, and who doesn't change. If you want to sing this, please do.
[Sometimes By Step]
Wow! You guys sound great!
Thank you. Thank you very much. We've already done all the songs we know...
Audience members: We love you Rich!
RM: Thank you so much! ... so we thought you guys could do the encore. That's why we had the discount ticket rate for this particular audience. So Ashley's going to lead you, and you sing with her.
[It is Well with My Soul]
And I think that is what Christian music is really about. And you do it really good. So I hope you go to church frequently, and sing. I get so nostalgic when I come back here. I remember when I was a kid everyone else played basketball really good. I never could play basketball. I think that's why I always liked church (audience laughter). Because men don't sing in Indiana very much . And you go to church and they would sing and they sang so badly (audience laughter), and so loud (audience laughter). It was always wonderful to hear. Because it was kind of reassuring, in some sick sort of way (audience laughter).
I remember, you know, you go to these parties on Saturday night and people would say, about 8:00 on Sunday morning "Whoa, I have to go - I gotta get to church!" People would say, "Why do you want to go to church, all those hypocrites." And I say, "Look, why do I want to stay here with all you hypocrites?" (audience laughter) I never knew why going to church made you a hypocrite. They'd say because you go to church and you're all "Holy, Holy, Holy" for two or three hours, and then you go home and sin. I'd say "exactly!" (audience laughter) For two or three hours you're doing pretty good! (audience laughter) Maybe the problem isn't that you go to church, maybe the problem is that you go home!
I never understood why going to church made you a hypocrite either, because nobody goes to church because they're perfect. If you've got it all together, you don't need to go. You can go jogging with all the other perfect people on Sunday morning (audience laughter). Every time you go to church, you're confessing again to yourself, to your family, to the people you pass on the way there, to the people who will greet you there, that you don't have it all together. And that you need their support. You need their direction. You need some accountability, you need some help.
Saying someone is a hypocrite is such a sore thing to say. It's kind of like saying they're human. We know there are people who think better of us than we know they have reason to. Funny thing about the whole thing. I love the story about Jesus calling Nathaniel. I think it's so funny. That he calls him and he says, "O behold an Israelite in whom there is nothing false." And Nathaniel, I love this, because he's like "Oh, how did you know me?" And Jesus said "Look, before you ever saw me, while you were still sitting under a fig tree, I saw you." And Nathaniel, who had so casually met the Lord, suddenly was crushed by the knowledge that God has of him.
I think it's funny that when Adam and Eve sinned, they covered themselves with a couple fig leaves. Then Nathaniel, who I think the Lord said sarcastically "O behold an Israelite in whom there is nothing false," he was sitting under a whole tree of those leaves. I think we all do that too. And we have reason to. If you knew what I was really like, you wouldn't pay to be here. I'd have to go out and get a real job (audience laughter).
The thing that's so funny about all that though, is that God does see us as we are. And you can't fool Him. And what's even funnier - you know the story about Jesus and the rich young ruler? I love that story. And you know what I think is really funny is that in all three of the synoptic Gospels, that story immediately follow the story of Jesus blessing the children, which I think is a hysterical story, because you think about the apostles and how they're good Hebrews and they're good monotheists and they're probably really struggling with the idea that God can become flesh. Lucky for Jesus they weren't Greeks - they never would have bought that.
They finally begin to get a hold of, they get a grasp that maybe God can become flesh and dwell among us, maybe God can be a man, and then they come back and not only is God a man, but He's acting like an idiot! He's hanging out with a bunch of kids. He's blessing them, you know, and you think "How do you bless children?" Well, the best way I know is that you pick them up and you just throw them as high as you can, and you catch them right before they splatter (audience laughter). You get down on all fours and you run around the room and you let them ride you and you buck them off. You beard them. You put your mouth against their bellies and you make funny noises. Here's Jesus probably doing all this business.
His disciples were humiliated! And they said "You should not be making such a fool of yourself!" And I love this, Jesus says, "Here, look, look fellas. I'll call the shots here. I may be dumb, but I am God. And I'll tell you what else, if you wanna come into my kingdom, you'll come in like one of these or you won't come in at all." What is remarkable is that in all three synoptic Gospels, the rich young ruler comes up immediately afterwards and asks the stupidest question in the Bible, which American Christians in the twentieth century perpetually ask, and it's such a hack off. "Good Master, what must I do that I might have eternal life?" And the reason this is such a ridiculous question is because while this young ruler is coming up with this brilliant question for his big photo-op with the Master, the Master had already answered the question.
Jesus had just got done saying he must be like a child, or he cannot come into My kingdom. And this guy comes up and asks "what must I do?" It's not what you do. It's what you allow Christ to do. This young man was so arrogant that when God Himself spoke, he didn't bother to listen.
And here's the amazing thing in the Gospel of Mark, which you know is the briefest of the Gospels. And anytime you come across a detail in the book of Mark, take note of it, because he didn't waste time. He gives us three details that the other two synoptics leave out. He says this amazing thing - that Jesus looked at the man. Jesus, who was God, is so humble, that when this man, who was a mere mortal, who would like you and me someday be dead and no more, and would just stink up the ground for a while and then that's it. This man would not listen to God, but God is so humble that He took note of this man. He looked at him. And when God saw him, He loved him. And it was because God loved Him, I think, that He spoke.
Some of us are so afraid that God's not going to look at us. So we're out there doing all sorts of things to get God to take notice, but folks, God notices you. The fact is, He can't take His eyes off of you. However badly you think of yourself, God is crazy about you. God is in love with you. Some of us even fear that someday we'll do something so bad that He won't notice you anymore. Well let me tell you, God loves us completely. And He knew us at our worst before He ever began to love us at all. And in the love of God, there are no degrees, there is only love.
So tonight I'm going to say to you what the angels said to every character in the Bible that they encountered, except for Mary, the mother of Jesus. They said "Don't be afraid." We've got a little while to go yet in this life, and it's a scary thing, but don't be afraid. Be of good cheer. He has overcome the world. And He has chosen to dwell within us. And we ain't all that big a deal, but our Savior is. He will walk with us through this life, and when it's over, He will raise us up again, and take us to be where He is. Not because of what we've done, but because of who He is. Because of the love He has for us.
So go, and live in that awareness... love one another... read your Bible... wash your dishes... make your bed... and don't be afraid. Here's one more song for us.
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