It only took two or three notes of Norman Greenbaum’s 1969 hit “Spirit in the Sky” to appear on the car radio before my teenage daughter had reached the volume dial and turned it up high.

A special satisfaction comes when she enjoys the same music that I embraced when it originally hit the charts. My “current” music is her golden oldies.

“Spirit in the Sky” has such a great sound that Rolling Stone magazine named it one of the 500 greatest songs of all time. It is one of those tunes that keeps showing up everywhere from baseball games to the movie screen.

For example, in Anaheim, California, the Angels’ play it while introducing their lineup. And my daughters associate the song with the wonderful Denzel Washington movie, “Remember the Titans” — filmed on the beautiful Berry College campus I might add.

As a young teen when the song first hit the radio, I was pleased that the popular rock song affirmed my faith: “Gotta Have a Friend in Jesus.” (We ignored the doctrinal weakness of another line claiming: “Never been a sinner; I never sinned.”)

A Wikipedia article says that Greenbaum, a Jew, wrote the hit song in about 15 minutes after hearing country crooner Porter Wagoner do a gospel number on TV — and wondering if he could come up with one. So it’s not like he read a few volumes of Barth, Tillich or Bultmann first.

However, I have learned not to expect every aspect of the culture to affirm my narrow perspectives on life and God.

There are times for theological debate. And there are times to just rock out a little while driving down the road — especially if the joy of a 40-year-old song is being shared with someone you love.

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