Sena wonders if I’m ever going to use Patsy Cline’s tune “If I Could See the World (Through the Eyes of a Child) in a blog post. She also brought home a potted plant she bought, an Easter Lily, ahead of Easter Sunday on April 9th next week. I thought of a couple of things, and of course one is a quote from Men in Black 3:
Agent O: “Agent K is dead!”
Agent J: “Well, I just talked to him last night!”
Agent O: “You are imagining things.”
Agent J: “I’m not imagining anything. Aqua Velva after shave! I didn’t imagine that. Where every stakeout, endless hours of cowboy music.”
Agent J and I have a few things in common. One of them is a mild dislike for country western (cowboy by extension) music. I can’t help it OK; the Patsy Cline tune is one of those.
I’m the first to admit I’m not a Bible scholar, but I’m going to talk a little bit about the apparent contradictions between being childish and childlike in the Bible. The reason is that the lyrics in “If I Could See the World” is either an obvious or accidental reference to the seeming contradiction between being like a child in one sense and in another sense, growing up and putting away childish things.
There’s no contradiction if you remember the scripture quotes are in different contexts. In childhood, we’re innocent, trusting, and open. Being open to the kingdom of heaven is the context for that. On the other hand, another context is when we grow up and recognize the duplicity in other people and the inevitable push to learn how to lie. If you don’t tell Aunt Clara that you love her gift of fruitcake at Christmas, you will be grounded for a week.
OK, so that’s the extent of my Bible scholarship.
I’m not a credible music critic either. But it’s easy to see the connection of the Patsy Cline song “If I Could See the World (Through the Eyes of a Child) to the book of Matthew. At the same time, the lyrics ignore the book of Corinthians, which tells how important it is to give up being childish. You need to lie to get by sometimes, although Agent J has trouble telling just where and when to stop lying. Much of MIB 3 is about the conflict over telling the truth and lying.
Come to think of it, that conflict could be much of what life is about.
Agent J after finally telling young Agent K that Boris the Animal will kill him when he goes to Florida to stop Boris, and that’s what Agent J wants to prevent: “I know I told you everything but…”
Young Agent K punches him in the nose: “That’s for lying to me! He punches Agent J again and says, “And that’s for telling me the truth!”
The Patsy Cline song is about seeing all of the good and none of the bad, all of the right and none of the wrong—and how wonderful that would be. Could it be ironic? On the other hand, in the real world of grownups, maybe Griffin has the idea:
Griffin: “The bitterest truth is better than the sweetest lie.” Well, sometimes.