Posts Tagged ‘religion’

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 often feel like I’m all alone out here. Spiritually. It seems like it is so hard to find others that think similarly, or even remotely close to how I see things. Maybe I’m whack, but I don’t think I’m that different. I go to churches and they, for the most part, usually disturb my spirit because they either grossly misinterpret the Bible, emphasize the donation of money a little too much, or they push their political agenda above the importance of the spiritual livelihood of their flocks. I’ve gone to a number of churches too and I always leave thinking the same thing “What does this have to do with the love of Jesus?” or “How does this make God more real to people who don’t know Him?”. I don’t get it, there seems to be a lot of religion going on, but not enough spirit. And that’s what I need, something to feed and challenge my spirit, because I also cant hang with the flip side either. The anti-religious, purely intellectual type that has no mental room for anything spiritual. The ones who cant or wont see the spiritual side to science, the ones who are condescendingly positive that there is nothing outside of our flesh and blood.

So I keep going. Keep learning, keep reading, keep growing closer to you. You transcend any labels or boxes that we try to bind you with in the form of religion. You are the immeasurable, unthinkable, incomprehensible. You manifest yourself as you will, when speaking to us, and it wont always fit in our nice, neat, safe definition of you. You will challenge us in our preconceived notions of you, and most of us will not choose to meet that challenge, because it’s too foreign, too scary. But you are a merciful and loving God and you love us despite our small mindedness. Or our mental fragility. We cling to our ideas because we feel safe in them. But you want to draw us out of that safety into truth, and truth can be scary, because we are not in control of truth. But you are merciful and loving, and i believe that even if we never take that step, that you will continue to love us for eternity, in our weakness and fragility, for “your power is made perfect in our weakness”.