God’s Song? Crowdsource Theology Request

Hey all, I respect artists. I appreciate creativity and believe that when we create, we reflect a characteristic of God that none of creation enjoys like we do.

And of all the arts, I appreciate music perhaps the most. It has a sense of the moment — unlike visual art where an actual artifact is evidence. While you can record a moment on tape (or digital format for you post-90’s babies) or video, that moment, that note is gone.

But I don’t pretend to understand it all the time. And I’m wrestling with this song I found today. Randy Newman, who I think of most in the same breath as Toy Story’s “You’ve Got a Friend in Me,” covered a song called, “God’s Song”. Here are two clips — one by Randy Newman and for you who can’t get Toy Story out of your head, here’s another interpretation with the stylings of Etta James. And the lyrics below:

And the lyrics to the above song:

Cain slew abel, Seth knew not why
For if the children of israel were to multiply
Why must any of the children die?
So he asked the lord
And the lord said:

Man means nothing, he means less to me
Than the lowliest cactus flower
Or the humblest yucca tree
He chases round this desert
’cause he thinks that’s where i’ll be
That’s why i love mankind

I recoil in horror from the foulness of thee
From the squalor and the filth and the misery
How we laugh up here in heaven at the prayers you offer me
That’s why i love mankind

The christians and the jews were having a jamboree
The buddhists and the hindus joined on satellite tv
They picked their four greatest priests
And they began to speak
They said, “lord, a plague is on the world
Lord, no man is free
The temples that we built to you
Have tumbled into the sea
Lord, if you won’t take care of us
Won’t you please, please let us be?”
And the lord said
And the lord said

I burn down your cities-how blind you must be
I take from you your children and you say how blessed are we
You all must be crazy to put your faith in me
That’s why i love mankind
You really need me
That’s why i love mankind

Now what does this song mean to you? And before you dismiss it as a silly atheist or secularly antagonistic song, pay attention because in pop culture, this is theology. Is it satire? What effect does it have on you? And what kind of thoughtful music (not just worship music) would you curate from the artists in your midst? This too, I believe, is a ministry of reconciliation.


About David Park

Christian 2nd-generation Korean American; Atlanta Georgia; more details to come. View all posts by David Park

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