Love is a Country

I have a few songs about love and relationships that I really like. My wife will tell you that I am no romantic. I am a forthright person and “love,” for me, is not sentimental. Now, that can get me in trouble sometimes! That is probably the reason I am drawn to any love song by Bob Dylan. No sentimentality; just plain complexity, joy, heartache and sometimes redemption.

I am fond of Bruce Cockburn's Lovers in a Dangerous Time , U2's Get on Your Boots , Dylan's  Sara and  Love Minus Zero/No Limit, Wilco's  Reservations and Johnny Cash’s cover of Hurt by Nine Inch Nails. Okay, I’ll stop. This is the stuff of popular music culture. The better side of pop culture as far as songs about love, romance, hurt and redemption are concerned.

Jakob Dylan captures the fight that is involved in love. By fight, I mean work. Here are a few lines from his song Love is a Country that evidence deep maturity:

The hardships of marching they’ve only just begun
Love is a country better crossed when you’re young

            Love is a country better served with someone

Unfortunately but realistically, it seems that this song is pointing to a love that did not last:

Now her ring’s on the seat riding shotgun next to my hat. With her name on the window where fog settles down on the glass

Love is a country you leave and not welcome back
You leave and not welcome back

Yet it ends with a celebration that all is not lost even within the ruins. There is still redemption.

Love is a country that won’t be overcome
That won’t be overcome.


Tim Lane

Dr. Timothy S. Lane is the President of the Institute for Pastoral Care and has a counseling practice in Fayetteville, GA. He is a minister in the Presbyterian Church in America (PCA), having been ordained in 1991 and a member of Metro-Atlanta Presbytery. Tim has authored Living Without Worry: How to Replace Anxiety with Peace, and co-authored How People Change and Relationships: A Mess Worth Making. He has written several mini-books including PTSD, Forgiving Others, Sex Before Marriage, Family Feuds, Conflict, and Freedom From Guilt.

He has experience in both campus ministry (University of Georgia, 1984-1987) and pastoral ministry where he served as a pastor in Clemson, SC from 1991 until 2001. Beginning in 2001 until 2013, he served as a counselor and faculty at a counseling organization  in Philadelphia, PA. Beginning in 2007, he served as its Executive Director until 2013.

In 2014, Tim and his family re-located to his home state, Georgia, where he formed the non profit ministry the Institute for Pastoral Care. His primary desire and commitment is to help pastors and leaders create or improve their ability to care for the people who attend their churches. For more information about this aspect of Tim's work, please visit the section of this site for the Institute for Pastoral Care. He continues to write, speak and travel both nationally and internationally. Tim is adjunct professor of practical theology at several seminaries where he teaches about pastoral care in the local church.