“…and if the devil doesn’t like it, he can sit on a tack. WHAT?! Sit on a tack! WHAT?! Sit on a tack! And if the devil doesn’t like it, he can sit on a tack and staaaaayyy.”
Being raised in an evangelical Christian home, a great tenure of my childhood was spent singing around campfires and in large group settings. This was not something I preferred to do, and in the process of, would allow my mind to wander to the dramatics of the entire procedure. Here we were, a group of people, singing songs, to…God? I guess. Or ourselves? I wasn’t really sure which, or what we were doing, or why we were doing it, but it was happening, and it’s what you did. I took a lot of the content quite literally, and it kind of seemed rather bizarre to me. These weren’t my stories to tell, and to be honest, I really didn’t feel I had earned the gravitas to be crooning Amazing Grace, at age eight.
Balancing the choice of burning damnation and streets paved with gold, in song, left something to be desired, but there was one song that always made me smile. “I’ve Got the Joy, Joy, Joy, Joy” (yep, four joys) It’s fairly upfront. The singer goes on verse after verse describing no less than a dozen ways the joy and love and peace and far out faith they carry for Jesus Christ enacts unending amounts of understanding, redemption and the manifestation of miracles. Then, unexpectedly about halfway through this odyssey of praise, there is one lyric that suggest that if the Devil doesn’t like it, he can sit on a tack, and STAY. Immediately following this clear threat to the Evil Almighty, the song goes back into another half-a-dozen verses of omniscient celebration. It is a strange and unexpected interlude.
This song made me laugh with the irony of having to face an eternity reek with sulfur while the Father of All Lies was merely being subject to a tack sit. A tack sit? Really? I mean my science teacher had been subject to a tack sit, and she wasn’t anywhere near as bad as Satan. I had great and creative fantasies of how this scenario would come to fruition and a few questions surrounding the process. What would the seating arrangement would be? Would there be that unfortunate moment where the Devil sits down and the tack just ends up in the center of his pants with no flesh to adhere to, and it’s all a huge letdown? Why not step it up and perhaps put a few tacks down? Or maybe something more physically detrimental that has proven traction in historical iambic pentameter such as setting his pants on fire?
Things like this caused me to really think about the words we were saying. For some people, that is dangerous territory, because it questions faith. However, for me, I felt no faith was of value without logic. If he has to sit on a tack and I have to burn in hell, the whole system seems rather maligned to me. Some days I wished I had faith in our repetition, it would have made things a lot easier. I wished I could just have believed the things I was taught and take them to the bank like so many people I know. I wished I could blame the negative things in my life on God’s ability to test and the Devil’s ability to tempt, but it just isn’t that way. I know for every action, there is a reaction. Energy is neither created, nor destroyed, and I am responsible for my own energy and whether it is positive or negative. I know that even if there is a mastermind out there conducting this great scape we call life, they have given us incredible power to choose our own adventure, and be responsible for the circumstances, good or bad. I’m thankful to have realized this, and owned the fact I am solely responsible for my own outcome, and that charge gives me great power. Phenomenal, awesome, strong power. And if anyone doesn’t like that?They can sit on a tack.