Posts Tagged ‘christianity’

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

Dear Jesus,
I was at the grocery store the other day heading over to the dairy aisle, when I saw two boys, both around 5 or so, pushing their parents shopping carts towards each other like on a two lane road. The boys had steered their carts a little too close to each other and slightly bumped each others carts. The boys looked at each other and then began trying to push the other’s cart to the side and it basically devolved into a pissing match between two 5 year olds whose parents had to come and force the kids to stop. Funny thing is that, when you think of it, we, as a species, never really outgrow that mindset of aggression and confrontation. Yes we may learn to curb it, or channel it differently, but mankind is still trying to smash his neighbor with a shopping cart in one way or another. Literally and figuratively. Yes, folks, for those of you who think that people are born naturally good, filled with goodwill towards his brother, think again. Don’t call me a pessimist, call me a realist. And while people are not born innately good, they are however not born innately evil.

It’s funny. Without getting into the semantics of defining “good” and “evil”, I think we are born with the capacity for both good and evil, and most of us spend our lives teetering back and forth between the two. I’m not afraid to say that I have done some pretty evil shit in my time, but I have also done some pretty decent stuff too. Now evil doesn’t necessarily have to be killing someone with an axe. It can be as simple as lying about something to affect a different outcome of a situation, or any number of things. I prefer to call a spade a spade, and can recognize my capacity for wrongdoing, and the struggle within to stay on the straight and narrow, and my often pathetic failure to do so. I recognize the comical condition we are born into for what it is. Our flesh vs. our spirit. Or the Id and the Super-Ego. I love how Buddhism recognizes that this is the eternal struggle, and that only by shedding the Id, or letting go of these desires within ones self, can one truly become enlightened or free. I think that this is what modern Christianity has lost or forgotten. There are parallels between Biblical Christianity and Buddhism that I think many would be surprised to find. Not just in the teachings of Jesus (who I think is the great Buddha), but also even in the old testament. In fact a very Buddhist like saying is attributed to God himself in Genesis in the story of Cain and Abel, when Cain gets angry because Abel’s sacrifice is deemed more acceptable to God. The verse goes “Then the LORD said to Cain, “Why are you angry? Why is your face downcast? 7 If you do what is right, will you not be accepted? But if you do not do what is right, sin is crouching at your door; it desires to have you, but you must master it.”

You can easily find more parallels. You just gotta look. But I digress. Back to the discussion of being born good or evil. Sadly, like most things in life, it’s not so black and white. we are born into the grey area, and it’s the choices we make in life that either gradually turn that grey into white or black. Or it just stays grey. As for me, I wont pretend to be something I’m not. I’m a stumbling fool, who, like a dog returning to it’s vomit, has a terrible tendency to repeat the same mistakes over and over, which I guess brings me to my point here. See Jesus, without you I think I’d be fu…… er.. screwed. Knowing the things I do WITH your presence in my life, scares me to think of what kind of shit I would do WITHOUT you in my life. I often think that when I first met you at 7 years old, it was really out of your mercy that I was so young because you saw what and who i would become without you. So much has happened since then too. I have been through times of great doubt, and times of spiritual discovery, and I feel you have walked with me every step of the way, and carried me for much of it. And it is in this knowledge and understanding that I see your existence and work as the gift that it is, because without you i’m lost, and i dont mean lost in some silly, feel-good superficial, churchy way, but lost in an “I’m sooooooo fucked” metaphysical, quantum mechanical, sub-atomic way. Knowing I’m such a screwup, I’m banking on you, and your mercy in the end. Because honestly, that is all i have to stand on. Nothing I do can undo the wrong I’ve done. But because you forgave for once and for all, for all time, I am free, because i’m not bound to my sin. And while I continue to walk with you and get to know you even better, I will continue to grow and change, and slowly my grey will not be so grey, and over time, the mastery of self, the letting go of the Id, will get easier and easier. And Christ will be in me, and I in Him.