Song of the Day: Andrew Peterson

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Last week in the comments, someone mentioned the Old Testament story of Gomer, the prostitute that Hosea married, and all I could think about was how hilarious that name is to me and how deeply ungraceful and unpoetic it sounds. Fitting, I suppose. So thanks not only to Jim Nabors but to my long nurtured appreciation for ridiculous sounding words like Sponch, Fleep, Yomple, and, yes, Gomer, I just don’t think I could ever listen to someone sing that name in a song without snickering a little. What can I say? The ten-year-old in me is alive and well.

I haven’t asked, but my theory is that Gomer tickles my brother Andrew’s funny bone in the same way it does mine. So when he wrote a song about Gomer’s story, he managed to do it without ever mentioning her name. Of all his songs, it’s one of my favorites, and I don’t snicker a bit when I hear it.

 

Hosea by Andrew Peterson

Every time I lay in the bed beside you
Hosea, Hosea
I hear the sound of the streets of the city
My belly growls like a hungry wolf
And I let it prowl till my belly’s full
Hosea, my heart is a stone.

Please believe me when I say I’m sorry
Hosea, Hosea
You loveable, gullible man
I tell you that my love is true
till it fades away like a morning dew
Hosea, leave me alone

Here I am in the Valley of Trouble
Just look at the bed that I’ve made
Badlands as far as I can see
There’s no one here but me, Hosea

I stumbled and fell in the road on the way home
Hosea, Hosea
I lay in the brick street like a stray dog
You came to me like a silver moon
With the saddest smile I ever knew
Hosea carried me home again
Home again

You called me out to the Valley of Trouble
Just to look at the mess that I’ve made
A barren place where nothing can grow
One look and my stone heart crumbled
It was a valley as green as jade
I swear it was the color of hope
You turned a stone into a rose, Hosea.

I sang and I danced like I did as a young girl
Hosea, Hosea
I am a slave and a harlot no more
You washed me clean like a summer rain
And you set me free with that ball and chain
Hosea, I threw away the key
I’ll never leave

[“Hosea” is from Resurrection Letters, Vol. II which is available today in the Rabbit Room store at Song of the Day prices ($10 CD/$7 Download)]

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.


49 Comments

  1. rushmore

    The little verbal pause between “carried me home” and “…..again” is so wry that it might just be my imagination that the pause even exists. But that and the “I swear it was the color of hope” line destroy me even after dozens (hundreds?) of listens.

  2. Heather

    I hope I don’t kill your buzz when I point out that “Gomer” is pronounced “Go-mair” and not “Go-muhr.”

    My pastor has started a sermon series on the minor prophets, starting with Hosea. And it’s weird because I see Hosea everywhere now! I’ll have to listen to this song, the poetry is lovely and haunting and hearbreaking all at once.

  3. Breann

    This is one of my favorites, as well.

    Speaking of Bible names that tickle your funny bone…What about Dorcas? Try reading that story with a Sunday School class full of 4th grade boys without snickering!

  4. Leanore

    This song went from being at the bottom of my preferences on the album, all the way to the top…a big learning curve both in musical taste and spiritual insight.
    When I first listened, I would think, “Oh yeah, that’s them.” After a couple dozen listens, at least, I finally arrived at, “Oh no, that’s me.”

    And now it’s become a prayer.

    Thanks, Andrew. If you keep writing such excellent quality music, we’ll forgive you for misspelling Jim Nabors.

  5. Kyle Carlson

    Have adored this song since RL:V2 came out.

    The best word in this song is “again” at the end of verse 3. Gomer (channeled by Andrew) says “Hosea carried me home… again.” The slight pause before the word “again” underlines the stubborn, persistent grace that continually carries her home in her sinful brokenness. This is such a beautiful picture of the gospel – both the God-breathed passage of Scripture and Andrew’s powerful, poetic rendition of it.

  6. Jess

    Okay, Gomer is good, but the Bible name that beats all is Harhur. Seriously, I woke my sister up one morning because I was laughing so hard at my morning Bible reading.

  7. Peter Br

    I love sharing this song with friends because it’s so simple and so powerful. At first I wondered how Andrew would pull off a song about Hosea without sounding hokey, but he did again — as usual, by stepping into the role of the offender so we can see ourselves there.

    Jess: wasn’t he in The Man With Two Brains?

  8. Loren

    Wow! Great song, which makes two great Gomer-songs for me. I’ve long loved and appreciated Michael Card’s “Gomer’s Song” (Age of Wisdom album…I think!). Card must have had similar feelings as Andrew because while he uses Gomer’s name in the title, that song is also in first person!

    LOL to Harhur and Dorcas, though I think my all-time favorite Bible name is Maher-Shalal-Hash-Baz (Isaiah 8:3). My dad is still looking for a grandchild with this name…. 🙂

  9. Leanore

    Goooolllly…no, no, I’m not blushing, not really…

    That’s kind of like writing an essay test without reading the one big question for your whole final grade.

    Feel free to misspell anything you jolly well please, Pete.

    You guys are the best and I wish I could be at Hutchmoot. Doesn’t Evie need any kitchen help?

  10. BuckBuck the Nordic Wonderduck

    If I say the word “slacks” out loud too many times in a row, it makes me feel nauseated. ‘Same thing happens with the word “shears.”

    I love this song. It’s unbelievable that God loves me like this.

    It’s also convicting, because He loves a million people I overlook every day like this.

  11. Alyssa

    Call me old-fashioned, but I just find it so refreshing to have discovered a group of people who make words plural without an apostrophe. I definitely choose my friends based on their apostrophe usage. I have lots of friends.

    I’m with Leanore on the song — the message of Hosea unfolded within me over much time and many listens. But that’s what I love so much about the work of this community of artists. It engages your mind and heart, and so many times it has welcomed a work of the Spirit in my life.

  12. Canaan Bound

    I’m pretty peevish…so there are a lot of things that bother me. Grammatically speaking.
    I live in Kansas, where people frequently dangle prepositions at the end of sentences. (i.e. “Where are you at?”) Drives me batty!
    Another common misusage that grates on my nerves is using THAT instead of WHO when referring to a person. (i.e. “I have a brother that plays the guitar.”)
    OOOh, and totally unrelated, I can’t stand the sound of nail clippers. I’m twitching just thinking about it.

    Somehow this all seems far from the point of the post. Oh, well…

  13. Peter Br

    Ah, fellow apostropheans! We’re practically overflowing with C.S. Lewis “you too” moments. Too bad it’ll have to be in virtualspace for at least another year.

    As a now-Texan married to a Mississippi native, I have come around on the occasional prepositional ending. Just remember that I did it for love.

  14. Ron Block

    @ronblock

    That drive’s me crazy when I see people that do that apostrophe thing, and also using “that’s” instead of “who’s.”

  15. Ron Block

    @ronblock

    “Can you tell me where the library is at?”

    “Here at Harvard we do not end our sentences in a preposition.”

    “Okay. Can you tell me where the library is at, jerk?”

    Made clean for blog consumption.

  16. BuckBuck the Nordic Wonderduck

    What about how the heads aren’t connected to the bodies on crosswalk sign people? They just float.

    Yeah, no big deal. I’m just crossing a road with my girlfriend and my floating head. And her floating head.

    If I ever find out that I have just six months left to live, I’m getting a massive black sharpie and starting a road trip.

  17. Nicole M

    I find it incredibly amusing to see how far afield the discussion has wandered. However, grammar is a topic that I feel rather passionately about. For example, he misuse of apostrophes makes me cringe every single time I see it. Also, when people misuse they’re/there/their and your/you’re it drives me batty.

  18. Nicole M

    [Just realized I forgot the “t” in the word that was supposed to be “the” in my comment. Grammar is something I feel passionately about. Apparently, proofreading, not so much.]

  19. Pete Peterson

    I just started reading Faulkner a couple of weeks ago and nearly threw the book across the room after the first couple of pages because it was full of uncapitalized sentences and incomplete thoughts. Hated it. Passionately.

    I stuck with him though and now I love it to death. (Though I still loathe most of the first story in Go Down, Moses.)

  20. Emily

    In two months I will be graduating with an English degree, and I’ve never read Faulkner. Maybe that’s why.

    To get back to the original topic, this is a great song. I consider it the musical highlight of my morning.

  21. Jess

    A grammatical error
    Is a terror of terrors
    Unfortunately encountered often
    When teenagers are talkin’

    (Or, more likely, textin’, but that doesn’t rhyme.)

  22. BuckBuck the Nordic Wonderduck

    All joking aside, it seems like I have serious struggles with grammar/proofreading lately. I was an English major in undergrad, and that venue demanded perfection. However, ten + years of daily e-communication has changed the foundations of how I interact with language.

    Language moves so fast in my life. I simply don’t have time to check all my emails, FB’s, texts, chats, and bloggery to infinity. And even when I do check something, my eyes seem to skim over details.

    Also, because of the web, I’ve learn to read for skeletal content. Scanning hundreds of pages for a few details has rewired my brain. I can feel it.

    Somewhere in that, I’ve lost what I used to know. I put commas where they feel right. Sentence fragments. capitals take too much time.

    Is that sloppy, or simply surviving in a fast world? My linguistics class in grad school taught us how language is never static. It constantly morphs with the culture. But still, I feel guilt.

  23. Kyle Carlson

    OK, fellow language nerds. If you haven’t heard this rant by Taylor Mali, you owe yourself the next three minutes.

  24. Loren

    Oh what a fun read after a long day! Love the–oh no, lost the word–comment trail…. No, comment thread, that’s the word.

    Here in Michigan this former English teacher winces with every “Myself and my friend did such and such,” and don’t get me started on the fact they have “ashphalt” here, not “asphalt”….

    Buck Buck, my husband hears your guilt but may not absolve you. Even though he’s a civil engineer/math whiz he’s a terror on proper English usage even in this age of e-communication. …I’ve come to accept him despite it all. It’s my own fault; one of the reasons I married him was because he got a higher score on his AP English test than I did 🙂 .

  25. Ron Block

    @ronblock

    Kyle: I loved that. Like, thanks. Like, I mean, I’m not all, like saying it isn’t just my opinion. But I liked it, and everything. Ya know what I mean?

  26. BuckBuck the Nordic Wonderduck

    One of the biggest arguments of my life was with a linguist who insulted the Oxford English Dictionary. I was deeply disturbed by the arrogant nonchalance with which he treated the RULES of grammar and language. He chose to live too unbound by them. It upset me when he talked about how grammatical rules were in constant flux, and then he had the audacity to suggest that literacy was ultimately subservient to orality.

    Many years later I read Walter Ong’s book, _Orality and Literacy._ I started to realize what a profound impact it has had on my life to be raised in a culture of literacy.

    You know, I don’t even question that “rules” (determined by experts, yet regularly change) impact how I make sentences. They impact what I allow to become a written phrase. I allow them to bind my art making, just like the visual arts allowed the French and English salons to determine what qualified as “good” art for a very long time.

    There’s a certain amount of this that is inevitable. If you mix all your paint colors together, you get ick. If you mix all your music notes together, you get ick. There are chords, rhythms, color theory, methodologies to art. We can’t go free form, or chaos will erupt.

    But should form kneel to function? Or should function kneel to form?

    I know someone who reads her local rural newspaper with a red pen in hand. She writes the editors and fusses about who dangled this or that. The articles are comprehensively awful. But if there were a forrest, it couldn’t be seen for the trees.

    I dunno.

    The older I get, the more I like the freedom to write “dunno” if I feel like it. Or a one sentence paragraph. Or use a fragment as a sentence.

    Writing owierjowiekjwer is another matter. You can’t understand that, because it is senseless. But can we command language without constantly obeying it?

    Any thoughts?

  27. Dryad

    I have myriad opinions on the importance of grammar and punctuation in daily life; I have learned not to cherish them to the exclusion of my friends. (On the other hand, they are a powerful weapon against my enemies. Beware, all ye who trod on my e-toes.)
    In regards to comment 24:
    BuckBuck, if I brought my own sharpie and camo outfit, could I join you on your vandalistic renovating road-trip? I can also pay for gas, if necessary.

    Finally, what (if any) are your opinions on the difference between myriad and myriads, and how do you pronounce them?

    Bonus Question: What does ‘opaque’ mean?

  28. Ron Block

    @ronblock

    Becca: I seem to remember reading Lewis on that topic. Yes – it was in The Abolition of Man. Only someone who understands the moral law and has internalized it can understand it enough to change it. Jesus did so in certain respects, or at the very least he revealed the intention, the spirit, behind the Law. Likewise, a musician who understands the rules can then bend them where necessary.

    The same holds true with children. A condition of no rules, no boundaries, results in chaos (Lord of the Flies, or ask any permissive parent), because children then have only “I WANT” at the center of their being rather than being shown how to live life with other people. In language, only when we understand the form, grammar and such, can we then bend the rules to suit our particular style or intention. Like, ya know what I mean?

  29. Jess

    Becca: I write “dunno,” “wanna,” “gotcha,” etc, because that is what I say, and because I feel that a few “dunno”s thrown in there make me a little more authentic. Most of the time (excluding such horrific binding things as research papers), I write how I speak… Fortunately for readers, I AM aware of grammar rules (and in fact I am in love with grammar rules), both when speaking and writing. Also fortunately for readers, I’m not a Texan (don’t mean no offense to ya’ll Texans readin’ this, jest sayin’). 😉 UNfortunately, I tend towards trailing off and so my writing is peppered with… that sort of thing. Need to work on that. 😉

    Dryad: I am currently under the impression that “opaque” means solid-colored, non-transparent. However, this particular word always gives me trouble….

  30. Jess

    Oh dear. I put an “S” on the end of “toward”. Before you take offense, Mr. Slone, let me defend myself: that is how I speak. 😉

  31. Canaan Bound

    Taylor Mali is hilarious. Unfortunately, he tends to be a little edgy. Maybe even abrasive.

    But since you brought it up, Kyle, let me just say this – I think there could definately be some slam poetry goin’ on here in the RR.

  32. Mike

    I stumbled and fell in the road on the way home
    Hosea, Hosea
    I lay in the brick street like a stray dog
    You came to me like a silver moon
    With the saddest smile I ever knew
    Hosea carried me home again
    Home again

    What if this was our real perception of God?

  33. Witmer

    This song has such a sweetness to it… I imagine it is the sweetness of broken repentance, redeemed.

    When I sat to write from my own brokenness, illuminated by Gomer’s story, I found myself thinking from Hosea’s/God’s perspective.

    I was startled by the frustration-fueled passion that emerged, and the stubbornness of His love, calling us into the wilderness to speak tenderly to us.

  34. Daniel

    Could someone please please please give me the chords to this song! I cannot find them any where on the interwebs.

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