Song of the Day: Andy Gullahorn

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Last week, the Proprietor and the usual suspects put on a special performance of the Behold the Lamb of God show for the Re:Create conference here in Nashville, and I was reminded once again what an amazing bunch of musicians those guys are. One attendee summed the show up nicely on twitter: “I dreamed that I celebrated Christmas in February while eating M&Ms and being serenaded by the world’s greatest songwriters. Wait. That just happened.”

This is one of the songs Andy and Jill Gullahorn sang during the in-the-round portion of the show. Fantastic stuff. It’s called “That Guy” and it’s from Andy’s album Reinventing the Wheel (available today at Song of the Day prices: $10 CD / $7.50 Download.)

 

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Pete Peterson is the author of the Revolutionary War adventure The Fiddler’s Gun and its sequel Fiddler’s Green. Among the many strange things he’s been in life are the following: U.S Marine air traffic controller, television editor, art teacher and boatwright at the Florida Sheriffs Boys Ranch, and progenitor of the mysterious Budge-Nuzzard. He lives in Nashville with his wife, Jennifer, where he's the Executive Director of the Rabbit Room and Managing Editor of Rabbit Room Press.


15 Comments

  1. Jenn

    The first time we heard that song was also at a BtLoG show but it was in 2007. We had been able to hear two other songs by Andy from that album from the lovely friends here at the Rabbit Room and were really going to shout a request for one of them when he started singing “That Guy”. We were glad we didn’t shout out our request. That is a hard-hitting, take your breath away song that more believers need to hear. Reinventing the Wheel is our favorite Andy Gullahorn album and we bought it that night in 2007 and have listened to it a LOT!

  2. Sir Jonathan Andrews

    Crazy. I just listened to this song this morning. I don’t mean my Itunes was on shuffle. I mean I looked it up and sat there and listened to it. The lyrics are something I need to remind myself of every now and then. (Every day) Why? Because I don’t love people. When I really lay it out there. I don’t. Most days others are just in my way. This song speaks to me about that and then right when I need it I’m reminded that I’m THAT Guy too. Teach me to love that guy. These lyrics have been my prayer for the past several weeks. Teach me to love like that. Thank you Andy G. and thanks for posting this Pete.

  3. euphrony

    I always describe Andy’s music as the kind that can make you laugh and cry at the same time. He takes something serious, make you laugh about it, and then pull the rug out from under your feet and turn it around on you. This song is a perfect example: you think you know where he’s going, the easy song about God loves everyone “God loves that guy”. But then BAM it’s about me and where my heart is

    Me on the other hand I can write somebody off
    Like the last check for a student loan
    I can love when it’s convenient
    But it’s not always convenient
    It’s not always the easy road
    I want to look past the outside to the well-meaning heart
    To the good they forgot that they had
    Teach me to love, teach me to love
    Teach me to love like that

    Crazy good. And I swear that the best song I heard in 2010 was the one he co-wrote with Jason Gray and put on his and Jill Christmas album – “I Will Find a Way”. I can’t hear it without breaking down; no idea how he can get through it at a show night after night.

  4. BuckBuck the Nordic Wonderduck

    I love this song in every possible way, but I have one question.

    Is Gullahorn suggesting that the reason we should love impossible people because of their good intentions gone amiss or because of their inherent good (imago Dei)? Am I missing something in my interpretation?

    Thanks.

  5. euphrony

    I think it very much has to do with imago Dei and with what Jesus called the greatest commandments – to love God and love people. What he seems to be getting at is that God’s nature is love while man’s nature is more bound in selfishness and the act of loving another, especially someone who seems on the fringe of society, is hard for us. The remembrance that we we are all created in His image is one way to overcome our own nature and reach out with love to the “unlovable”. Also (the last verse) the fact that we also have sin in our lives makes us little different from those we label as unlovable; judgment against them is judgment against ourselves, the best path being to learn to love like God and not like man. That’s the gist of the story I hear Andy telling in this song.

  6. BuckBuck the Nordic Wonderduck

    I guess where I am stuck is on the ‘why’ we are to love. Because sometimes people don’t have good intent. And God loves them still. And apart from imago Dei, sometimes I really am deeply hideous instead of good at all. And God loves still. Those are the times my love for humanity gets jammed most deeply -when there truly is no merit at all. So I’m thinking through that.

  7. BuckBuck the Nordic Wonderduck

    Trying to see if there is a prescription here for my particular weakness, I mean.

  8. Andy G

    Pete – thanks for posting this song.

    Euphrony – thanks for your great explanation of the lyrics in question

    BuckBuck – Can I call you “BuckBuck” or do you want me to use your full name, BuckBuck the Nordic Wonderduck?
    I think Euphrony explained my intentions pretty accurately. I am not saying that people merit love as long as they have good intentions. I am just saying we should treat them with love whether or not we feel like it and whether or not their actions are “worthy” of it. And yes – it is about seeing the image of God that is branded on every person.

    In general, I hesitate to explain much about this song because although I have heard from many people who have been moved by it, it is also the song that I get in the most trouble for. I have had Christians upset at me for being “too accepting” or for using graphic imagery so close to talking about God, and atheists upset at me for saying that God’s love was worthy of celebrating when He condoned the murder of women and children in the Old Testament.

    The truth is that this song was not written as a theological treatise on the nature of God’s love. I wrote it from beginning to end in about 15 minutes while driving in Ohio. It was part of a process for me learning how to forgive the person who broke into my rental car and stole my guitar just hours before. I was working through how to feel about someone I imagined was unlovable.

    So while I see the merit in holding each line up to the light for investigation (not really saying that is what you were doing), I encourage people to focus more on the heart of the song. To me that heart is saying God loves people even when they make bad decisions and do horrible things. It is also asking for the grace to look at all people through His lens.

    I am so grateful that some people connect with that message – but even more grateful for what that message did for me that day in Ohio. It was a 15 minute lesson on how to replace my hatred with compassion. I like to think it has changed the way I have looked at people ever since.

    I hope that helps.

    Peace,
    Andy G

  9. BuckBuck the Nordic Wonderduck

    Thanks so much, Andy. That does help. Thank you!

    I love the song you have written. I’m sorry you’ve received trouble over it, but I’m not surprised. God’s love shakes up our defenses, and that makes us uncomfortable sometimes. I’m grateful for the reminder of how radical it is.

    I hope my question wasn’t hurtful. What you have made is beautiful and convicting. I can feel the tenderness in it when I listen to the music.

    The reason I asked those specific questions is because I’m on a journey of trying to forgive someone who did something destructive with selfish intentions. I really want to love this person, but I just can’t seem to get there.

    I can’t tell you how frustrating it is not being able to command my heart to get over it. I want to obey Jesus and love him, but I’m really struggling; and I have been for a long time.

    I’ve spent a lot of time researching, trying to understand the “math” of what it takes to obey Jesus in those cases. Wow. It’s weird seeing that (“forgiveness math”) in print. I’m not a cold person. And I hate math, actually. It’s just that since my emotions have failed me in making this happen eight thousand million times, I’m now grabbing for facts… truth… whatever it takes.

    Now when I stumble onto a song (or book, or article) that seems applicable to that situation, my heart sort of leaps into my throat. I get hyper-analytical, trying to mesh it with the pieces of truth God has already provided. I’m sort of embarrassed writing this out in print… that I’m so desperate to figure out how to love. It’s sad that I could approach something of beauty like a starving child looking for something to eat. But I just need to know how this works. For real. Deep down. I’m so tired of this battle. Every detail is important, because my inner voice will use any loophole it can find to not forgive.

    Argh.

    Anyway, what you have created is lovely. I love your musical style, and the word pictures you have created. This is the first song of yours I’ve ever heard. I can’t wait to explore more of your work.

  10. Rushmore

    Didn’t Michael Card take a fair bit of heat for a line about Christ being God’s Own Fool? I can recall a controversy AP mentioned some time ago with his hidden track on Clear To Venus too:

    They say God blessed us with plenty,
    But I say you’re blessed with poverty.
    ‘Cause you never stop to wonder whether earth is just a little better than,
    The land of the free

    IIRC, some people really beefed about the “blessed with poverty” notion. And I think AP at some point said he changed the lyric in subsequent performances. This to me is a bit of a shame and I really wished he hadn’t – because that line really connected for me and it lost a whole lot of oomph with moderation. And that was always one of my fav. AP tunes.

    Art – real art that says something worthwhile and new – will usually confront accepted conventions and upset them; I think part of being an artist is being ready for the assault of the offended. Sometimes we need to be shocked to be woken up and to think about things in a new way.

    Now that stops a long way short of advocating the sort of ‘art’ that the world loves to produce about Christ and Christians. But when someone who loves the Lord uses a turn of phrase that makes me appreciate Him afresh, I’m grateful. Even when it occasionally makes me think I disagree with the writer a bit.

    I guess all I’m saying is if Gullahorn shocks and rocks (should that be “shocks and folks”?) a few people, he’s in good company. And he’s welcome in my mp3 player anytime. Where’s the new album Gully???

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