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Cash on the line

Today is Johnny Cash's birthday, and National Review Online has a pretty good read on how Hollywood "De-Christianized" him:

Leaving out Cash’s Christian faith from his life story is like leaving out half-naked 19-year-old girls from Hugh Hefner’s. It’s like telling the story of Jackie Robinson without ever mentioning race or segregation.

The tension between the flesh and spirit, between things of this earth and things of heaven, animated all of Cash’s music. It’s what drew audiences to him generation after generation. Sin and redemption, good and evil, selfishness and love, and the struggles of living by a standard set not by man but by God — all were driving forces in Cash’s work and life.

While the rock-’n’-roll crowd was busy extolling the virtues of sexual freedom and rebellion, Cash was exploring eternal themes. Even his secular songs mined unusual territory for popular music.

When that conflict between good and evil is a central part of your life, well, that's where great art comes from. It was a ine line to walk, and Cash was interesting when the good won, and fascinating when the bad did. Because he accepted that struggle and wrote about it unflinchingly, people felt they knew him and felt that he understood him. The story includes the great observation by Bono about Cash: “He doesn’t sing for the damned. He sings with the damned.”

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