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  • Writer's pictureDr. Jim Baldwin

Hunkered Down Homilies – Love Heals

woman in front of "love heals" outdoor wall mural

Even though ENan and I are not what you would call “real country music fans,” we thoroughly enjoyed our recent visit to Nashville.  We walked up and down Lower Broadway listening to country songs from eight different stages all at the same time.  We went to a terrific venue one night called “The Listening Room Café” where five female songwriters shared stories and songs.  The thing that hit us about most of the songs we heard was how sad they were!  There was more heartache and heartbreak in Nashville than any town deserves. 

Brad Paisley was a surprise guest the night we went to the Grand Ole Opry.  He shared that early in his career he entered a song-writing contest.  When he looked at the songs he had already written, they were all sad ballads.  He decided to write something that would make people feel happy.  So he sat down and wrote a song about a man who loved his wife but he also loved to fish.  One day his wife gave him an ultimatum, “It’s either fishing or me.”  The hook line of the song is, “Well, I’m gonna miss her…”  That’s happy?

One afternoon we slipped away from the honky-tonk side of Nashville to visit a ministry called Thistle Farms.  Thistle Farms was created by an Episcopal priest who became burdened for women caught up in prostitution and sex-trafficking.  She began providing shelter for these women, then helped create a business where the women make lotions, soaps and candles.  Most recently, they launched a café that serves an excellent lunch.

The theme for their ministry is “Love heals.”  Life experiences have caused many people –  from country song writers to street walkers – to believe that “love hurts.”  The message of the world is that when you open your heart to someone in love, they will steal your heart, break your heart or rip your heart out.  The message of Thistle Farms – and the message of Jesus – is that true, unconditional love is the most powerful force in the world for healing.  Love heals our bodies, our minds and our spirits.

The Judds wrote a song that proclaims, “Love can build a bridge.”  That’s not just country music. That’s the gospel!

-Dr. Jim Baldwin

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