I Got Soul, But I’m Not a Soldier

This Sunday we’re having our last Sunday-evening Merge gathering (starting October 28 it will be weekly, and take place on Sunday morning.) And for the occasion, I wanted to present a message/discussion called “I Got Soul, but I’m Not a Soldier”, about basing our spirituality on Christ’s love instead of a defensive, combative religion often presented to us by a majority evangelical sub-culture. When I really looked at the lyrics of the song by The Killers entitled “All These Things that I Have Done” I was amazed. I’m going to comment on them intermittently. Here goes…

When there’s nowhere else to run
Is there room for one more son
One more son

Here’s a man who’s reached the end of his rope, and is asking to be let into God’s family. Although he doubts if he’d be accepted as a child of God.


If you can hold on
If you can hold on, hold on
I wanna stand up, I wanna let go
You know, you know – no you don’t, you don’t

He’s in a state of paradox. He wants to hold on to his life as he knows it, but even more, he wants to stand up and let go of everything, you know? No… you don’t know.


I wanna shine on in the hearts of men
I wanna mean it from the back of my broken hand

There’s an overwhelming desire to escape the darkness… not only to live in the light, but bring that light to other people’s hearts as well. There’s also a longing for authenticity. To take what he knows (the back of his hand) even though it’s broken and shattered… and to let that be his platform for vulnerability and healing.


Another head aches, another heart breaks
I am so much older than I can take
And my affection, well it comes and goes
I need direction to perfection, no no no no

His desire for redemption comes not only from his own condition, but from the pain he sees all around him. But he doubts his ability to really help, because he’s old and worn out, because his love is inadequate and inconsistent. He’s crying out for some guidance and support.


Help me out
Yeah, you know you got to help me out
Yeah, oh don’t you put me on the back burner
You know you got to help me out

This is the desperate prayer of a man backed into a corner… begging God not to ignore him.


And when there’s nowhere else to run
Is there room for one more son
These changes ain’t changing me
The gold-hearted boy I used to be

He used to be a good kid… probably raised in Church. But after “falling from grace” he hasn’t heard any advice yet that’s worked. All promises, no delivery. Some people have tried to return him to the ranks of Christianity… to recruit him back to the team, but what they’re saying just doesn’t ring true.


Yeah, you know you got to help me out
Yeah, oh don’t you put me on the back burner
You know you got to help me out
You’re gonna bring yourself down
Yeah, you’re gonna bring yourself down
Yeah, you’re gonna bring yourself down

Still conflicted, he wants Jesus to come in and rescue him, but he knows that Jesus can’t doing it without bringing himself down. In other words, his Savior will take his place at the guillotine.


I got soul, but I’m not a soldier
I got soul, but I’m not a soldier [x10]

With an actualization of his own spirituality, he is proud to say he has a soul. He realizes that he’s worth something after all. And yet, he refuses to join the ranks of the “us-and-them” subculture that raised him. Now that he’s aware of his soul again, this time he wants to use it to bring love, joy, and peace… to “shine on in the hearts of men”.


Yeah, you know you got to help me out
Yeah, oh don’t you put me on the back burner
You know you got to help me out
You’re gonna bring yourself down
You’re gonna bring yourself down
Yeah, oh don’t you put me on the back burner
You’re gonna bring yourself down
Yeah, you’re gonna bring yourself down

Over and in, last call for sin
While everyone’s lost, the battle is won
With all these things that I’ve done
All these things that I’ve done
If you can hold on
If you can hold on

He’s redeemed… he’s rescued. Sin’s grasp on him is fading fast. But the duality remains. Everyone around him is lost, but he feels a personal victory. He’s no soldier, but he’s won a battle in his heart against the multiplicity of wrongs in his past. And now, finally, he’s got something worth holding on to.

4 thoughts on “I Got Soul, But I’m Not a Soldier

  1. Hey, Ryan. It’s Rob, I was one of the BBC kids there last Sunday night when we discussed this. I took your advice and went and read the whole thing and I just wanted to say thank you, it encouraged me yet again. Thanks alot, I’ll probably be by again sometime this weekend.

  2. Hey, Ryan. It’s Rob, I was one of the BBC kids there last Sunday night when we discussed this. I took your advice and went and read the whole thing and I just wanted to say thank you, it encouraged me yet again. Thanks alot, I’ll probably be by again sometime this weekend.

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