Dear Spirit: Should I Stay or Should I Go?

Standing at the Deli the other day, Should I Stay or Should I Go? began playing. Spontaneously, I said, “I love that song!” In a moment, my current struggle was revealed. Freud would be so proud. 

You see, I am torn between being a part of our crumbling institutions or leaving them entirely. “If I go there will be trouble, if I stay there will be double,” sing The Clash in this song. I don’t see a clear path. I’m wandering in the wilderness. Throughout my five decade life I’ve often felt that I am just a bit out of sync with the world around me. I can look the part: I have short hair, own a suit, a white shirt, and boring ties, and I can even talk “white guy” language. Yet I am never happy in those situations. I never feel I’m my authentic self, or on my true life path, and rarely feel I’m following God’s will in those situations.The pull of the culture is strong. The pull of the “you must fit in to be worthy” messages dominate our culture. 

And, so, I’ve spent much of my time dancing on the border between the ways of the world and outside the world. I’ve been wandering in the demilitarized zone between North and South Korea, in the neutral zone between the Romulans and the Federation, and the space between Egypt and the promised land. In the last month this dance has become less satisfying. Our culture is changing. We are moving into postmodernity whether folks like it or not. I yearn to live in postmodernity while many fear it. 

So, today my prayer is from The Clash

Darling you gotta let me know 
Should I stay or should I go? 
If you say that you are mine 
Ill be here til the end of time 
So you got to let know 
Should I stay or should I go?

Always tease tease tease 
Siempre – coqetiando y enganyando 
Youre happy when Im on my knees 
Me arrodilla y estas feliz 
One day is fine, next is black 
Un dias bien el otro negro 
So if you want me off your back 
Al rededar en tu espalda 
Well come on and let me know 
Me tienes que desir 
Should I stay or should I go? 
Me debo ir o que darme

Should I stay or should I go now? 
Should I stay or should I go now? 
If I go there will be trouble 
An if I stay it will be double 
So come on and let me know

(full lyrics available at

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