Watching the sparrow

Featured in

  • Published 20050301
  • ISBN: 9780733315480
  • Extent: 268 pp
  • Paperback (234 x 153mm)

Why should I feel discouraged, why should the shadows fall?
Why should my heart be lonely, and long for heaven and home?
When Jesus is my portion, my constant friend is he
His eye is on the sparrow, and I know he watches me.
I sing because I’m happy,
I sing because I’m free,
His eye is on the sparrow, and I know he watches me.

IT’S A SEDUCTIVE idea. I used to sing those words, back in the far-off days when I was myself an ardent fundamentalist. It’s an old song, recently revived by the brilliant jazz/gospel a cappella group, The Idea of North. The words capture, better than any intellectual analysis could, the essence of Christian fundamentalism: there’s a personal god out there who will watch over you in an individual way, paying attention to the specific details of your life, as long as you have committed yourself to belief in Jesus Christ as God’s son and your personal saviour.

Already a subscriber? Sign in here

If you are an educator or student wishing to access content for study purposes please contact us at

Share article

More from author

Real communities

EssayTHE FORMER PRIME minister once dreamed of Australia as a nation of shareholders, enriched by their participation in the adventure of capitalism. Properly conceived,...

More from this edition

Poems that kill

EssayChildren Beneath Our Skyafter a 'cartoon' by Michael LeunigThe sky was one of the redeeming features of the war– Sigfried SassoonHere it billows and...

The magic door to Judaism

MemoirI GREW UP in a Jewish Orthodox family and my first memories of Kabbalah flow from my childhood in the early 1980s. Kabbalah seemed...

Songs of childhood

MemoirHow do you make a terrorist? I can't pretend to know the definitive answer to that question, and I'm not at all sure that...

Stay up to date with the latest, news, articles and special offers from Griffith Review.