Thursday, October 16, 2014

Humble Stumble: Hymns for Imperfect Saints: "With God on Our Side"

I have a started a project in conjunction with my "The Humble Stumble: Lessons on Simplicity, Stillness, Fashion and Faith from a Bad Quaker" book. It's on Spotify -- "Humble Stumble: Hymns for Imperfect Saints."

I'll add a "hymn" a day.

These are not "hymns" in the traditional sense. Rather they're songs that have spoken to my soul in a spiritual sense -- even if they are not "spiritual songs" per se. Though my bias is that that our hearts hunger for beauty and meaning and when artists create something that sings deep in our souls, well, they've created a "hymn," even if it was unintentional.

Suggestions of songs that have spoken deeply to you are welcome!

I'll also post lyrics and video (when available) here.

Today's hymn is  Buddy Miller – With God On Our Side (Buddy's cover of Bob Dylan's song)

Oh my name it is nothin’
My age it means less
The country I come from
Is called the Midwest
I’s taught and brought up there
The laws to abide
And that the land that I live in
Has God on its side

Oh the history books tell it
They tell it so well
The cavalries charged
The Indians fell
The cavalries charged
The Indians died
Oh the country was young
With God on its side

Oh the Spanish-American
War had its day
And the Civil War too
Was soon laid away
And the names of the heroes
l’s made to memorize
With guns in their hands
And God on their side

Oh the First World War, boys
It closed out its fate
The reason for fighting
I never got straight
But I learned to accept it
Accept it with pride
For you don’t count the dead
When God’s on your side

When the Second World War
Came to an end
We forgave the Germans
And we were friends
Though they murdered six million
In the ovens they fried
The Germans now too
Have God on their side

I’ve learned to hate Russians
All through my whole life
If another war starts
It’s them we must fight
To hate them and fear them
To run and to hide
And accept it all bravely
With God on my side

But now we got weapons
Of the chemical dust
If fire them we’re forced to
Then fire them we must
One push of the button
And a shot the world wide
And you never ask questions
When God’s on your side

Through many dark hour
I’ve been thinkin’ about this
That Jesus Christ
Was betrayed by a kiss
But I can’t think for you
You’ll have to decide
Whether Judas Iscariot
Had God on his side

So now as I’m leavin’
I’m weary as Hell
The confusion I’m feelin’
Ain’t no tongue can tell
The words fill my head
And fall to the floor
If God’s on our side
He’ll stop the next war
Copyright © 1963 by Warner Bros. Inc.; renewed 1991 by Special Rider Music

Buddy Miller's website is


David H. Finke said...

So, Bill...

What did we as a nation learn since Bob Dylan wrote that in 1963?

If we didn't "stop the next war," at least a significant part of the public questioned it, and a goodly number opposed it. What? I said "it" as though there were only one? Let me count...

At least a number of them were in the video commentary accompanying this, but we seem to have a new one every few years — always, for some, with the assurance that since we are Americans, OF COURSE we have "God on our Side."

I welcome whatever YOU and the readers here can do to challenge that obscenity.


David H. Finke said...
This comment has been removed by the author.