The Gospel and Willie Nelson

If you ask me, Willie Nelson is one great American!


When we moved Savannah to Austin we went to eat at Stubbs—not only for the great BBQ, but because Willie has played there!  (My guess is that Willie has played a lot of places in Austin, but I had my picture made with this sign!)

Any way, I have always loved Willie’s music.  So I was thrilled to get his latest book for Christmas, Roll Me Up and Smoke Me When I Die: Musings from the Road.  It is full of wonderful little stories, and thoughts, and even theology.  Like this:


I have spent all my life in church.  The Bible says that our body is our church, our temple, and I have spent seventy-nine years in this temple.  We all live in church.

Church is not a building; it is our body, our temple, and we should take care of our church.  It is the only one we get this lifetime, and we will be judged by the way we treat it.  The better we treat our body, the longer, healthier the life we will have, and the more we will be able to do for the world and ourselves.  We are our brother’s keeper, and he is ours.  Treat him the way you want to be treated.  You get back what you give.  Good for good, bad for bad; for every action there is an equal and opposite reaction.  If you dish it out, you better be ready to take it.




We were made in his image. Duh!  Why don’t we know it and act like it?  If we admit that we are children of God, we can go a long way towards fixing what’s wrong.  Maybe that is our reason to be here, end of story.

I don’t know where Willie’s theology came from.  Perhaps from his grandmother; or maybe the Methodist, Baptist, Pentecostal churches he grew up attending; or maybe the gospel he has discovered on the road all these years.  We can’t rule out that maybe it has come from one of his “special” cigarettes he has been smoking since he gave up the “normal” ones.

Not sure I even agree with all of it, but it is better than a lot of the theology that will be spouted from pulpits this week!  Maybe even mine!

At the very least, it is something to ponder in your heart (that is my sermon this week) while you sing a Willie song!


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