Monday, April 14, 2008

Fishin' For Religion

One of my favorite music groups from the early '90's is Arrested Development. They had a unique sound and a number of songs with thoughtful lyrics. I've recently started listening to them again. One of the songs that grabbed my attention this go round is "Fishin' For Religion" and the lyrics are just below.

Grab the hook, grab the line
Grab the bait, grab the box and wait
Tackle and shackle the topic the faculty has chosen
Chosen by many, chosen by plenty, chosen by any
man or woman who understand
the topic that's known and
[Go by the dock] flock and clock the topic
as I drop my hook and get a bite
The reason I'm fishin' 4 a new religion
is my church makes me fall asleep
They're praising a God that watches you weep
and doesn't want you to do a damn thing about it
When they want change the preacher says "shout it"
Does shouting bring about change ? I doubt it
All shouting does is make you lose your voice
So on the dock I sit in silence
staring at a sea that's full of violence
Scared to put my line in that water
coz it seems like there's no religion in there
Naively so I give it another go
Sitting in church hearing legitimate woes
Pastor tells the lady it'll be alright
Just pray so you can see the pearly gates so white
The lady prays and prays and prays and prays
and prays and prays and prays and's everlasting
"There's nothing wrong with praying ?" It's what she's asking
She's asking the Lord to let her cope
so one day she can see the golden ropes
What you pray for God will give
to be able to cope in this world we live
The word "cope" and the word "change"
is directly opposite, not the same
She should have been praying to change her woes
but pastor said "Pray to cope with those"
The government is happy with most baptist churches
coz they don't do a damn thing to try to nurture
brothers and sisters on a revolution
Baptist teaches dying is the only solution
Passiveness causes others to pass us by
I throw my line till I've made my decision
until then, I'm still fishin' 4 religion

It appears to be a critique of the Baptist church (I'm assuming at least one person in the group came out of that tradition), but I can see it being a critique of any mainline denomination today, especially the ELCA (which I am a part of). As you may have noticed, I highlighted the lyrics that hit me the most.

The preacher says "shout it." When we see an injustice in the world, what is typically our response? Let's do a study. Let's talk about it. How much do we need to talk about it? Do we really need a committee meeting to decide whether or not we should help the flood victims in SouthEastern Minnesota? What if we just rolled up our sleeves and went and helped them dig out? Do we really need to do a study to discover whether or not we are "properly" loving our homosexual brothers & sisters? Couldn't we just open our arms and try loving them?

The word "cope" and the word "change" is directly opposite. Granted, there are times when "cope" is perhaps the appropriate prayer, such as a terminal diagnosis of cancer. However, when we're talking about behavioral type things (i.e. gossip in the community, broken relationships, etc.) wouldn't "change" be a much more appropriate prayer? I've had a number of difficult relationships in my life and more often than not my prayer has been asking for help to "deal with it." Why not pray to change the relationship so it be healthy once again?

Maybe it's my generation, I don't know, but I want to see action. We talk about things so much, but when do we begin living this stuff out? We use politically correct talk to cover how we actually feel. It's time we start actually loving our neighbor... and not just with words.

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