I believe in the Lamb who was crucified, and hung between two thieves

If you take me apart, piece by piece, one of the corner stones is the 1990 album Beyond Belief by the Christian group Petra. For one thing, it introduced me to rock music.

You see, I’m not from around here. I’m a cultural immigrant. The Christian subculture is far stranger than the secular majority realizes. A paralell society. To me, this isn’t just good music, it is the best of the world I left behind when I abandoned the faith. A memory from the Old Country.

In 1990 I expected Jesus to return within the decade. I misheard the title of the next song as the “Last Days“, and it was one of my favourites. The choice was appropriate: The song is about believers who lose their way in the fog, and “never return to the fold”. People like myself.

When I have returned to Petra since, it is partly for nostalgic reasons, but also because their songs were genuinely good, exploring an area of music that was closed to the nonbelievers. I have no nostalgic memories of their earlier material, but it too is good.

This is the world I lived in, and left:

All the King’s horses and all the King’s men
Gonna ride down from heaven from where they’ve been
All the King’s horses and all the King’s men
Gonna put this world back together again

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