Using contemporary songs to illuminate Scripture and life

Friday, December 10, 2004

"Betty's Diner" by Carrie Newcomer

Connect with Scripture: Ephesians 4:11-16,25,31-32,5:1-2,18b-21
[11] And he gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the pastors and teachers, [12] to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ, [13] until we all attain to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to mature manhood, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ, [14] so that we may no longer be children, tossed to and fro by the waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by human cunning, by craftiness in deceitful schemes. [15] Rather, speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ, [16] from whom the whole body, joined and held together by every joint with which it is equipped, when each part is working properly, makes the body grow so that it builds itself up in love.

[25] Therefore, having put away falsehood, let each one of you speak the truth with his neighbor, for we are members one of another. [31] Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice. [32] Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.

[5:1] Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children. [2] And walk in love, as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us, a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.
[18b] Be filled with the Spirit, [19] addressing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody to the Lord with all your heart, [20] giving thanks always and for everything to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, [21] submitting to one another out of reverence for Christ.

Betty’s Diner
Today’s Song: “Betty’s Diner” by Carrie Newcomer, from the album, Betty’s Diner: The Best of Carrie Newcomer
For full album review, click here.

1. Miranda works the late night counter
in a joint called Betty’s Diner
chrome and checkered tablecloths
one steamy windowpane
she got the job that shaky fall
and after hours she’ll write till dawn
with a nod and smile she serves them all

here we are all in one place
the wants and wounds of the human race
despair and hope sit face to face
when you come in from the cold
let her fill your cup with something kind
eggs and toast like bread and wine
she’s heard it all so she don’t mind

2. Arthur lets his Earl Grey steep
since April it’s been hard to sleep
you know they tried most everything
yet it took her in the end
Kevin tests new saxophones
but swears he’s leaving quality control
for the Chicago scene, or New Orleans
where they still play righteous horns


3. Jack studies here after work
to get past high school he’s the first
and his large hands seem just as comfortable
with a hammer or a pen
Emma leaned and kissed his cheek
and when she did his knees got weak
Miranda smiles at Em and winks


you never know who’ll be your witness
you never know who grants forgiveness
look to heaven or sit with us

4. Deidra bites her lip and frowns
she works the Stop and Go downtown
she’s pretty good at the crossword page
she paints her eyes blue black
Tristan comes along sometimes
small for his age and barely five
but she loves him like a mamma lion

5. Veda used to drink a lot
almost lost it all before she stopped
comes in at night with her friend Mike
who runs the crisis line
Michael toured Saigon and back
hair the color of smoke and ash
their heads are bowed and their hands are clasped
one more storm has passed


By Carrie Newcomer, © 2004 Carrie Newcomer. Lyrics reprinted with the kind permission of Carrie Newcomer and Windchime Promotions, Inc.

Behind the Music
1. Chorus, How does the description of Betty’s Diner sound like a description of a church?
2. Chorus, Where is the comparison between Betty’s Diner and a church simply because both places offer similar things, and where is Newcomer making any obvious allusions to the church?
3. Where in the verses from Ephesians can you find these same descriptions from the Chorus?
4. Stanza 1, Besides food and coffee, how does Miranda serve her customers?
5. Stanza 1, What actions of Miranda do Christians need to enact in the church? Why? Where do the verses from Ephesians describe those actions?
6. Stanza 2, What does Arthur need in life? What about Kevin?
7. Stanza 2, According to the Chorus, how does Miranda help people like Arthur and Kevin?
8. Stanza 2, Miranda could be a metaphor for the ministry of Christians, and the Ephesians passage describes the ministry of Christians. How could a Christian minister to Arthur and Kevin?
9. Stanza 3, How does Miranda encourage Jack and Emma in their relationship? What kinds of encouragement and direction does the church provide for couples?
10. Stanza 4, What clues are there that Deidra (and her son) are struggling in life?
11. Stanza 4, Again referring to Ephesians, how could a Christian minister to Arthur and Kevin?
12. Stanza 5, How are Veda and Michael are picture of the line from the Chorus, “despair and hope sit face to face”? How do despair and hope probably change places at the table (in other words, do Veda and Michael both need and offer support?)
13. Stanza 5, According to Ephesians, is the church also a place where “despair and hope sit face to face”? Explain.
14. Bridge, While the Bible says that true forgiveness comes from Christ, how might it be correct according to Scripture to say that to find forgiveness you can “look to heaven or sit with us” at Betty’s Diner (or at church)? In what ways does God offer forgiveness through us?

“Betty’s Diner” © 2004 Carrie Newcomer. Lyrics reprinted with the kind permission of Carrie Newcomer and Windchime Promotions, Inc.

Scripture quotations from English Standard Version, Copyright(C) 2000; 2001 by Crossway Bibles. All Rights Reserved.

For full album review, click here.