Published on Sep 4, 2012
Calvary Chapel Spring Valley | Sunday Evening | September 2, 2012 | Pastor Derek Neider
Published on Sep 19, 2012
Calvary Chapel Spring Valley | Sunday Evening | September 16, 2012 | Derek Neider
Here is an article I wrote a couple of years ago:
Solomon, Woody Allen, Coldplay and Kansas
What does King Solomon, the movie director Woody Allen and the modern rock bands Coldplay and Kansas have in common? All four took on the issues surrounding death, the meaning of life and a possible afterlife, although they all came up with their own conclusions on these weighty matters.
Let me start off by pointing out what they all had in common. First, they were very successful and rose to the top of their fields. Second, they were very famous and of course, thirdly they were wealthy and experienced the privileges that fame and wealth brought. Finally, they were still seeking answers to life’s great questions even though it seemed they had experienced all the world had to offer.
Unlike many the past grammy winners of “Best Rock Album,” Viva La Vida or Death and All His Friends by Coldplay is filled with songs that deal with spiritual themes such as death, the meaning of life and searching for an afterlife.
Leadsinger Chris Martin notes, “…because we’ve had some people close to us we’ve lost, but some miracles — we’ve got kids. So, life has been very extreme recently, and so both death and life pop up quite often” (MTV News interview, June 9, 2008).
Russ Briermeier of Christianity Today observes that this album is “often provocative, spiritual, and seemingly on the verge of identifying a greater truth, asking and inspiring many questions without providing the answers.” It reminded me of King Solomon’s search for answers in the Book of Ecclesiastes in the Old Testament. Solomon also dealt the subject of death a lot. Ecclesiastes 7:2-4 asserts, “It is better to spend your time at funerals than at festivals. For you are going to die, and you should think about it while there is still time. Sorrow is better than laughter, it may sadden your face, but it sharpens your understanding.”
The subject of death is prominent in the songs “Poppyfields,” “Violet Hill,” “Death and All His Friends,” “42,” and the “Cemeteries of London.” Then the song “The Escapist” states, “And in the end, We lie awake and we dream, we’re makin our escape.” In the end we all die. Therefore, I assume this song is searching for an afterlife to escape to. The song “Glass of Water” sheds some more light on where we possibly escape to: “Oh he said you could see a future inside a glass of water, with riddles and the rhymes, He asked ‘Will I see heaven in mine?’
Coldplay is clearly searching for spiritual answers but it seems they have not found them quite yet. The song “42“: “Time is so short and I’m sure, There must be something more.” Then the song “Lost“: “Every river that I tried to cross, Every door I ever tried was locked, I’m just waiting til the shine wears off, You might be a big fish in a little pond, Doesn’t mean you’ve won, Because along may come a bigger one and you will be lost.”
Solomon went to the extreme in his searching in the Book of Ecclesiastes for this “something more” that Coldplay is talking about, but he did not find any satisfaction in pleasure (2:1), education (2:3), work (2:4), wealth (2:8) or fame (2:9). All of his accomplishments would not be remembered (1:11) and who is to say that they had not already been done before by others (1:10)? This reminds me of the big fish in the little pond that Coldplay was talking about. Even if you think you are on top, are you really? Also Solomon’s upcoming death depressed him because both people and animals alike “go to the same place — they came from dust and they return to dust” (3:20).
In 1978 I heard the song “Dust in the Wind” by Kansas when it rose to #6 on the charts. That song told me thatKerry Livgren the writer of that song and a member of Kansas had come to the same conclusion that Solomon had. I remember mentioning to my friends at church that we may soon see some members of Kansas become Christians because their search for the meaning of life had obviously come up empty even though they had risen from being an unknown band to the top of the music business and had all the wealth and fame that came with that. Furthermore, like Solomon and Coldplay, they realized death comes to everyone and “there must be something more.”
“All we do, crumbles to the ground though we refuse to see, Dust in the Wind, All we are is dust in the wind, Don’t hang on, Nothing lasts forever but the Earth and Sky, It slips away, And all your money won’t another minute buy.”
Both Kerry Livgren and Dave Hope of Kansas became Christians eventually. Kerry Livgren first tried Eastern Religions and Dave Hope had to come out of a heavy drug addiction. I was shocked and elated to see their personal testimony on The 700 Club in 1981 and that same interview can be seen on youtube today. Livgren lives in Topeka, Kansas today where he teaches “Diggers,” a Sunday school class at Topeka Bible Church. Hope is the head of Worship, Evangelism and Outreach at Immanuel Anglican Church in Destin, Florida.
The movie maker Woody Allen has embraced the nihilistic message of the song “Dust in the Wind” by Kansas. David Segal in his article, “Things are Looking Up for the Director Woody Allen. No?” (Washington Post, July 26, 2006), wrote, “Allen is evangelically passionate about a few subjects. None more so than the chilling emptiness of life…The 70-year-old writer and director has been musing about life, sex, work, death and his generally futile search for hope…the world according to Woody is so bereft of meaning, so godless and absurd, that the only proper response is to curl up on a sofa and howl for your mommy.”
The song “Dust in the Wind” recommends, “Don’t hang on.” Allen himself says, “It’s just an awful thing and in that context you’ve got to find an answer to the question: ‘Why go on?’ “ It is ironic that Chris Martin the leader of Coldplay regards Woody Allen as his favorite director.
Lets sum up the final conclusions of these gentlemen: Coldplay is still searching for that “something more.” Woody Allen has concluded the search is futile. Livgren and Hope of Kansas have become Christians and are involved in fulltime ministry. Solomon’s experiment was a search for meaning to life “under the sun.” Then in last few words in the Book of Ecclesiastes he looks above the sun and brings God back into the picture: “The conclusion, when all has been heard, is: Fear God and keep His commandments, because this applies to every person. For God will bring every act to judgment, everything which is hidden, whether it is good or evil.”
You can hear Kerry Livgren’s story from this youtube link:
(part 1 ten minutes)
(part 2 ten minutes)
Coldplay - Cemeteries of London ( FULL VIDEO)
The brilliant video for Cemeteries of London. It’s the perfect mix between music and image, Coldplay sold around 8 million albums with Viva La Vida.
Coldplay is my favorite band and I hope to have many more posts in the next few days. Here are some posts I have done up till this point:
Coldplay – 42 Live Coldplay perform on the french television channel W9. I wrote this article a couple of years ago: The Spiritual Search for the Afterlife Russ Breimeier rightly noted that it seems that Coldplay is “on the verge of identifying a great Truth” and their latest CD is very provocative. Many songs mention [...]
Are Gwyneth Paltrow and Chris Martin looking for Spiritual Answers? (Coldplay’s spiritual search Part 4)
CP I wrote this article a couple of years ago. Are Gwyneth Paltrow and Chris Martin looking for Spiritual Answers? Just like King Solomon’s predicament in the Book of Ecclesiastes, both of these individuals are very wealthy, famous, and successful, but they still are seeking satisfying answers to life’s greatest questions even though it [...]
Insight into what Coldplay meant by “St. Peter won’t call my name” (Series on Coldplay’s spiritual search, Part 3)
Coldplay seeks to corner the market on earnest and expressive rock music that currently appeals to wide audiences Here is an article I wrote a couple of years ago about Chris Martin’s view of hell. He says he does not believe in it but for some reason he writes a song that teaches that it [...]
Will Coldplay’s 2011 album continue on spiritual themes found in 2008 Viva La Vida? (Series on Coldplay’s spiritual search, Part 2)
Views:2 By waymedia Coldplay Coldplay – Life In Technicolor ii Back in 2008 I wrote a paper on the spiritual themes of Coldplay’s album Viva La Vida and I predicted this spiritual search would continue in the future. Below is the second part of the paper, “Coldplay’s latest musical lyrics indicate a Spiritual Search for the [...]
Will Coldplay’s 2011 album continue on spiritual themes found in 2008 Viva La Vida? (Series on Coldplay’s spiritual search, Part 1)
Coldplay performing “Glass of Water.” Back in 2008 I wrote a paper on the spiritual themes of Coldplay’s album Viva La Vida and I predicted this spiritual search would continue in the future. Below is the first part of the paper, “Coldplay’s latest musical lyrics indicate a Spiritual Search for the Afterlife.” Coldplay’s latest musical [...]
Coldplay – Every Teardrop Is A Waterfall (Official) The new single – download it now from iTunes at http://cldp.ly/itunescp (except in the UK, where it will be released to download stores at 12.01am on Sunday June 5th). Written by Berryman / Buckland / Champion / Martin / Allen / Anderson. Produced by Markus Dravs, Dan [...]