There's a method to the madness
by John Fischer
Yesterday, God spoke to me through a Jackson Browne song. Then someone pointed out that there are some questions about Jackson Browne's alleged treatment of women, his current or former drug use, and his New Age beliefs.
I am glad this came up, because it allows me to extrapolate on one of my favorite and freeing worldview principles: All truth is God's truth. If something is true, it belongs to God regardless of the source, and God is not stingy with His truth. He doesn't only let good, upstanding, righteous, God-fearing people access to it. (Actually if that were true, we'd all be out of luck, but I won't go there!) Anyone can play in the big pool of inspiration. In fact, severely imbalanced people are the ones who historically seem to have more access to what's there than others.
I used to have a T-shirt that read, "Conform, go crazy, or become an artist," meaning being an artist somehow legitimizes borderline madness. Artists are traditionally imbalanced—the consequences of paying attention to only half of your brain. It's part of the requirement.
Over and over it's true that the great masters led troubled lives. Alcoholism, abuse, depression, asylum are common among brilliant artists including even some of the more famous writers of hymns.
I share this with you not to burden or judge, but to set us all free to celebrate the truth wherever we find it, and learn how to train ourselves to expect God to speak at all times, through anything or anyone. He does not limit Himself; we do.
The ability to write a song that has truth the Holy Spirit can use in someone's life has nothing to do with the songwriter's own spiritual condition, and even if it did, we are not anyone's judge anyway.
I have always found lots of truth in Jackson Browne's songs. I have no idea what is going on in his head and heart. I have a feeling it's quite a lot.