Posts Tagged ‘bible’

The Body, The Blood, The Machine

If you didnt know already, i like to listen to alot of music. All types. This week I dug out the second to last CD of one of my favorite bands of the past few years, The Thermals – “The Body The Blood The Machine”. I haven’t listened to it in a while and I forgot how good the songs were, and how clever and yet scathing the lyrics are, delivered in very catchy melodic punk rock goodness. As you can probably tell from the title, the album reads like a critique of American Christianity from someone who was raised in “the Church”, but ultimately left. Interestingly enough beneath the sarcasm and irony that the singer Hutch Harris puts into his words, you get the sense that he isn’t saying these things out of anger, but more from of a place of disappointment, and feeling let down by the church. His lyrics are honest and you even get a sense of innocence and longing for something greater than himself.

Maybe it’s just me, but I always try and find the subtext of a persons words, and I often try to read between the lines and see if I can come away with a different interpretation of ones words that is unlike or contrary to the plain, literal interpretation that I get after reading it superficially. I guess I don’t always like things mapped out for me, I like to guess, and wonder and sometimes spend way too much time trying to figure out the meanings in things that are pretty cut and dried for most. That must be why I like reading the Bible since it’s full of stuff you can interpret any number of ways, and if you don’t think so then ask yourself why there are over 38000 reported denominations of Christianity. Everyone brings their own unique viewpoint to what they read and they interpret it in the framework of their world, their existence, and their experiences, for better or for worse. So when one person reads the following lyrics and sees it as a mockery, another might read it and see it as a statement about the self perspective of American Christianity, while another person might actually read it more literally.

The Thermals
Here’s Your Future

God reached his hand down from the sky
He flooded the land, when he set it afire

He said, “Fear me again, know I’m your father,
Remember that no one can breathe underwater.”

So bend your knees and bow your heads
Save your babies, here’s your future…

YEAH HERE’S YOUR FUTURE!!!

God reached his hand down from the sky
God asked Noah if he wanted to die
He said, “No Sir, oh, no Sir!”
God said, “Here’s your future.
It’s gonna rain…”

So we packing our things
We’re building a boat
We’re gonna create the new master race
‘Cause we’re so pure, oh Lord we’re so pure!!!

So here’s your future…

God told his son, “It’s time to come home.
I promise you won’t have to die all alone.
I need you to pay for the sins I create.”
Son said, “I will, but Dad, I’m afraid!!!”

So here’s your future…
So here’s your future…
So here’s your future.

When i read these words I don’t get the feeling that it’s “Anti Christian”, per say, I think the singer just has trouble rectifying what he sees religion do and what he hears religion say. And I think we all have these same questions in our lives at different times, if we are to live honestly with ourselves. Which is what I think the Thermals are doing with their music. Making honest observations and packaging them in 3 minute pop songs. It’s up to us to listen and interpret for ourselves, taking the good with the bad. What’s my interpretation, especially being that I consider myself a follower of Jesus? I take what they say with a grain of salt, acknowledging the frustration, and their sometimes contradictory interpretations of things that I see completely different, and then I apply and look for the good and the redemptive in it, try to find the hidden nugget to take away from the experience and keep for myself. I guess that is how i can listen to or read stuff that is 180 degrees from where I’m at. It helps to open my eyes. Sometimes only to another persons experience. And that’s worth it to me.

I Hold The Sound

the light out
we don’t talk
the light out
we sleep now
the door locked
the door locked
we don’t talk
we sleep now

i hold you
i hold the sound
we sleep now

it’s safe now
we can move
the world is over
the world is over
it’s early still
the sun is cold
the world is over
the world is over

i hold you
i hold the sound
i hold the sound
i hold the sound

we walk now
we can breathe
the earth is flat
the sky is round
it’s early still
the moon is cold
we walk now
we walk alone

i hold you
i hold the sound
i hold the sound
i hold the sound
i hold the sound
i hold the sound

the light out
we don’t talk
the light out
we sleep now

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Dear Jesus,
A good friend of mine called me up this past Saturday morning to inform me that his sister had died. She hung herself in her house and her boyfriend of 10 years had come home and found her. I was shocked by the news but strangely not too surprised. I had known her previously and knew she was a sensitive soul who carried a burden. What I didnt know was that she had tried this before and failed. Not this time. My friend, Dave, now has no immediate blood relatives since he and his sister were the last ones left. I obviously expressed my sorrow and sympathy for him and his wife and their little year old son and during our discussion over why she did this, we ended up on the subject of God. (but of course!)

My friend Dave is a traditional guy, with very traditional biblical views, and one of those views, which is very common among most bible readers and believers is that people who commit suicide are damned. Obviously he is having a hard time dealing with this concept in regards to his sister.

What do I say? My best answer is “I dont know”. While I know what the churches and the bible say (and the bible isnt explicit when it comes to this subject), I have to go with what my heart tells me. For better or for worse my heart is my spiritual barometer when it comes to these subjects that are not clearly defined in the bible, and I believe that God speaks to me through my heart often(whether I listen or not is subject matter for another post some other time).

When i think of God i think of the greatest presence in the universe and how that presence is active in my life. I can say without hesitation that God is active in my life, because I’ve seen and felt God’s presence and action on numerous occasions and in different ways. And what i’ve seen and felt mostly is a great sense of peace, occasionally intense joy, and ultimately what i can only describe as love. Now this isnt everyday mind you. But it’s there and it’s real. It is from within these experiences that I cant imagine the God who sustains me, even in all my folly and hard headedness, maintaining a place of eternal torture and damnation. I guess you can call me a hippie, but that doesnt seem characteristic of my God. And it is in light of this, and my studies of scripture, that I dont see how hell, and even the devil, fit into the great equation. I guess the cat’s out of the bag now. Some people ask me how i can believe in God, and in the power of Christ, without believing in the devil and hell. It’s not complicated, and it’s even scriptural, but not all of my beliefs are dependent upon scripture. And it’s at this point where I lose many folks, my family included, because they might have difficulty accepting what has not been written down or difficulty trying to get a handle on the unknown, and ultimately want everything drawn out for them. And I cant blame them really, because at least then you can sleep at night thinking that what you believe is concrete, tried and true, historically accurate and proven truth.

But who here can claim to know the mind of God? Or who here can say they know with 100% certainty where they will go after death, and who can say with any certainty, where someone else will go, whether by suicide or not. You see, Jesus, I believe in you and your greatest act of love and mercy, and I believe that that act was done for all mankind, for me, for my family, for Dave, for his sister, for everyone, and it is in that great act of love and mercy that I believe that even those who didnt know you here, who never experienced your love, or even those who ran from you, will have a chance to meet you and experience you and your gift, because I believe that it is not your will or desire for any of us to be lost, as a shepherd leaves his flock to find the one lost sheep, i do believe you intercede for us even after our deaths. I know there is no scripture to back that up, but my heart tells me so.

We are mere humans here, fumbling through a complex world that often gets the best of us in this life. We suffer from so many self inflicted spiritual maladies that they ultimately add up to a lack of vision, which is why we do these self destructive things, one of them being suicide. When we get so lost in ourselves and so disconnected from ourselves, our loved ones and more importantly God, that we can rationalize destroying ourselves, without thinking of how it will affect our families, our friends, or without giving hope a chance to grow, or even refusing to see hope as an alternative, we have lost our ability to see outside ourselves. They say suicide is a selfish act, and I believe it is, but i cant judge, because I dont know a persons heart. That is between them and God. And it is my hope and prayer that when that deed is done, Christ meets their soul as healer and dresses the wounds that led them down their path of self destruction here on earth, and bestows the peace and wholeness they never found here on earth.

One can dream can’t he?