I guess I’ll continue sharing Petra songs and my thoughts about them. It seems to be working for the time being. The great thing about it is that I have a LOT to choose from so this could end up going on for quite a while.
Never Say Die is an album that I didn’t get into immediately. Remember that I was sixteen when I first heard Petra. That was in 1986 so Never Say Die was already a bit dated at the time. It was released in 1981 and has a much more diverse collection of songs than either More Power To Ya or Not Of This World. There are still some hard rock songs (Angel Of Light is one of their best) but there are very mellow moments like The Coloring Song and For Annie. I think it was another year after my initial discovery of Petra that I went and bought all the albums I could find. So I was most likely seventeen and really into Stryper and some of the heavier bands. Even Petra had gotten more of “metal” edge by that point and were doing things like This Means War! The stuff one Never Say Die, even the rocking stuff, felt old so it didn’t really appeal to me at the time. It wasn’t until I was out of high school and really diving into some of the early Christian rock stuff that I sat down and gave it a fair listen. When I finally did, it blew me away. It helped that I had also gotten more into bands like Styx, Heart, and Pink Floyd. When I noticed shades of those bands on this album it started to get much more airplay on my stereo.
I’m sharing Killing My Old Man tonight for two reasons. First of all, it’s a really cool tune that reminds me of Pink Floyd’s Money. The bass line, the organ, and even the guitar solo all SCREAM Floyd. That alone is enough to make me like it. Secondly, it has some really interesting lyrics that apparently upset some folks when it was originally written in 1977. Supposedly it was meant to go on Come And Join Us but the label refused to release it due the “questionable” content of the lyrics. When you look at the words there is nothing questionable there. The message of the song may be confusing to some people because they don’t understand the concept but that’s not Bob Hartman’s fault. The lyrics go like this.
I can’t take it anymore
I’ve got to even up the score
Before he sweeps me off the floor
I’ve really got to find a way
Of taking care of him for good
I know he’d kill me if he could
So I’ll nail him to the wood
Killing my old man
You may not understand
He’s a terrible man
Got to make a stand
And kill the old man
Every time that I think he’s gone and I’ve finally won
He just keeps coming back, puts me on the run
I think I’d better do it now
Get my hammer and a nail
Pray to God I that I won’t fail
Lest he’ll keep me in the jail
And I don’t wanna stay in jail!
1 What shall we say then? Are we to continue in sin that grace may abound? 2 By no means! How can we who died to sin still live in it? 3 Do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? 4 We were buried therefore with him by baptism into death, in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life.
5 For if we have been united with him in a death like his, we shall certainly be united with him in a resurrection like his. 6 We know that our old self was crucified with him in order that the body of sin might be brought to nothing, so that we would no longer be enslaved to sin. 7 Forone who has died has been set free from sin. 8 Now if we have died with Christ, we believe that we will also live with him. 9 We know that Christ, being raised from the dead, will never die again; death no longer has dominion over him. 10 For the death he died he died to sin, once for all, but the life he lives he lives to God. 11 So you also must consider yourselves dead to sin and alive to God in Christ Jesus.
12 Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body, to make you obey its passions. 13 Do not present your members to sin as instruments for unrighteousness, but present yourselves to God as those who have been brought from death to life, and your members to God as instruments for righteousness. 14 For sin will have no dominion over you, since you are not under law but under grace.
Romans 6:1-14 (ESV)
I don’t know about anyone else but I sometimes need to be reminded to “kill” my old man. It’s a daily battle that I have to be committed to. Perhaps people were uncomfortable with the imagery of the song or maybe they were too worried that people would not get it. I’m glad the song finally got recorded and ended up Never Say Die. Once again, a simple rock song has spoken truth into my life and helped me have a deeper understanding of Scripture. If only we could say that about every Christian artist out there.
Grace and peace.