‘Can you please turn the volume down?’: a poem of the perils of complacency

Sometimes people send me random stuff. I’m not normally irritated by this, mainly bemused. But in this case, it was wonderful. I have been talking with a friend of mine about the possible interconnectedness between worship and poverty, as a topic dear to my heart. One of the more memorable sections in my mentor Bryant Myer’s book Walking with the Poor speaks of the necessity for the development worker to die to oneself as Jesus did. Now, the New Testament does not really support the religious fundamentalism that we have seen in recent decades, but more of a Ghandi “I’m-going-to-do-all-I-can-to-see-change-even-if-I-must-die-for-love-to-flourish” kind of death. Such an approach to death is entirely self-giving, but it is not death for death’s sake – if death is not necessary, then all well and good! I think almost everybody wants to be sitting with a peach iced tea and watching grandchildren play in the grass. But, I think there’s something incredibly powerful about a person who is able to find a cause that they believe in so deeply that they say that even if it takes all I have and am, then that’s what it takes. I’ve always admired this about Mother Teresa and the thousands of people that, motivated by faith in Jesus, have selflessly served the least of these – mostly anonymously, and many of them did not see return for their labour.

Anyways, my friend sent me a poem they had obviously had for a while. I’m not sure when it was written – I’m not arrogant enough to presume that it was through our conversations, but I love it, so I asked if I could share. Make sure that you read to the end – enjoy!!!

‘Can you please turn the volume down?

In the busyness of life, a small note in a large orchestra, like a hairline crack in a perfect surface, comes a small sound. Yet it contains the power to destroy what we think and do.

Though small it is consistent,

It is the beginning of a drum beat,

It is rising it is increasing,

It resonates within us,

It is virtually undetectable, but cannot be ignored,

It is uncomfortable almost irritating,

Yet it contains something that is attractive

It gains our attention, it will not relent

It is an invitation to notice something

To look, to see, to hear,

It is on the edge of reality, yet it comes,


As a vibration its resonance is increasing

It bypasses the mind and catches onto something inside of people,

It is dangerous

Deliberately listening to it only invites “more” and something deeper.

It is an invitation; a drum beat for a gathering of a rapidly approaching war

As the drum beat increases, vibrates and penetrates through every part of us, we sense the call.

Like a call to arms

It is a call to shout and worship like we have never done before.

It is a call to aggressive, radical, violent worship,


It shakes the very foundations of our bodies, our minds and our lives

It is so loud that nobody can ignore it,

Some want to run from it, some to it

It is almost single handily dividing people by their own choices and responses.


It is the sound of the resurrected Christ

Jesus himself is rising up, mounting a white stallion, He is calling the troops.

He is calling out to those who will listen “Will you ride with me”?


He has fire in His eyes and a sword in His hand

His voice is a radical song a call to war

To be a radical warrior

It is a call to die

To be more dangerous than a terrorist and a human bomb

It is a call to ride with the Lord Jesus Christ as He readies for war.


It is worship on another level,

To enter in one has to die to self and go to where one has never been before.


It is a war of love

A radical violent aggressive stand against injustice and poverty

To go into places, communities and lives where people have lost hope, lost control and are dying.


And He is calling out to you and me “will you ride – will you ride with me “?



Can we turn the volume down?

“Hmmm not really”

Did you have another question?

– Coleman, 2012.

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