Saturday, May 3, 2008
Keeping the Faith
I had lots of exams last week. Lots of exams beget studying, which in turn begets procrastination. And, more often than not with me, procrastination begets Youtube.
And one of my favorite Youtube videos of all time is the infamous discovery of Terry Bradshaw's religious album. In case you haven't seen it, Terry spends most of his time in the video verbally abusing the I-Man and going into waaaaaay too much detail about his incontinence. Meanwhile, everyone mocks his unfortunate musical choices.
As great as the clip is, the best part by far is the gospel song itself. Now, if Terry had sung a standard hymn, it would still be a little odd - this image of the MVP quarterback singing Jesus music - yet it would be endearing. But Terry did not sing a "standard hymn."
Full confession: I consider myself a follower of "the baby Jesus," and of the adult Jesus as well. Yet this song is one of the creepiest thing that I've ever heard. It's called "Dime Store Jesus," and it's about the misadventures of a woman who, it is implied, works for an "Emperors' Club" type establishment. Check out these lyrics, reminiscent of Flannery O'Connor:
Sarah was a seeker, wanderin’ through the night
Seeking lovers in the darkness, seeking Jesus in the light
Lovers she found many, but Jesus not at all
She bought an 8-by-10 from the five and dime...and nailed Him to the wall
Sarah prays to Him each night before she goes to bed
She whispers peace and lovin’, sweet visions in her head
There’s no power in that plastic, we cannot even call
He’s an 8-by-10 from the five and dime, nailed to Sarah’s wall
Don’t you know, Dime Store Jesus and the Lord are not the same
Can’t you see, Dime Store Jesus cannot save you from the flames…
This is wrong in so many ways. So, so many.
There's the last rhyme, which is brilliant for all the wrong reasons. There's the fact that the protagonist whispers "peace and lovin"...to Jesus.
But mostly, it's the fact that she had to nail him to the wall. She couldn't "hang" him on the wall. She couldn't "place" him on the wall. She couldn't "put him on the bedside table." No, no. She had to use a verb that invoked A) the Crucifixion and B) the act of doing it in, no pun intended, "the Biblical sense."
Terry claims that this is a very popular gospel song in some congregations. I want to find these churches. ("Turn to page 436 for our opening hymn, 'Dime Store Jesus.'") They would make Reverend Wright's congregation seem normal.