Mother

Spring flowers bloomed conception,

as she carried a force with umbilical connection.

Sang songs of familial relations,

until snowflakes glistened the new life cascade.

A frigid orange air whispered secrets better left to a howl.

Still

he was comfortably cared for.

Mature trees blistered blood-stains

above impubescent seedlings.

As seasons altered and changed,

adolescent scents choked out hope,

pollinating the atmosphere with songs of red age.

Connection disconcerted

confounded by careless captions,

or

lyrics of hate.

Sixteen years passed,

and

they found themselves at an impasse.

Ripped her out of the present,

a forced recollection of the past.

Joy rendered fantasy,

clouded by dissonant breath.

How ironic –

She: granted life

He: returned death.

“I’m sorry

mom.

You gifted me with sight,

how dare I not see

the Christ in you,

reflecting mercy on me.”

Forgiven for all said

and left

undone.

Suddenly.

Harmony falls, like Autumn, from trees,

while expectation sprouts legs – be free!

Under the same season’s sun

hope journeys forward and on,

to an orange-chorded sea

where meaning is tanned

by photosynthetic minds.

With new life emerging

out of murky red shorelines.

Thank you.

I love you, too.

Death is Dead

Oh, death.
I dare you to bring your sting!
But you can’t,
and that’s why we sing:

Death will hold no power.

Death – you’re a snake with no venom,
a feline lacking your claws.
You will strike everyone, but you can’t kill us all.
Jesus lives, His love greater than death.
We give Him praise,
long after our final breath.

With triumphal music we swoon and swing,
“Jesus is King, not this petty death thing.”

The Fear of God

Dear God, why should I think You’re good in a world that’s falling apart?
The flags and lies, picket signs raised high, the endless enveloping dark
Now here we sit, drifting further from You, two thousand years on their way out
Now here I am, as I’ve grown to know You, still haunted by my fears and my doubts

Just a man, just a vapor, just a waste of your space
All the good that I’ve done is in spite of myself
I’m not sure that I can look You in Your face when I finally set foot in Your kingdom

Dear God, what went wrong? We hate ourselves, we hate our brother
We so desperately want to find our way, and all You say is “love one another”

And little babies starve to death, emaciated, out of breath
Unfaithful wives make vows untrue, husbands beat them black and blue
Junkies vomit in the streets, writhing, twitching in their skin
Sell themselves to die some more, rotting from the outside in
Parents steal the innocence from their children, scared and shaking
Drink away the guilt at night, brings quiet to the endless aching
And evil men boast on TV, swimming in a sea of wealth
While misery beds honest men, and lonely people kill themselves
And everyone cries out Your name, as the world is raped by selfishness
And no one knows the way to heaven, we only know the emptiness
And the storm it rages in my heart, and the endless empty roars in my ears
My world is coming all apart, I’ve no strength left to dry my tears
And through it all I hear Your voice, breaking my heart, breaking my will
Calms the storm inside my soul as You whisper “peace, be still…”

You place Your hands around my heart, You quiet the emptiness in me
A king that kneels, a God made a servant, You set the captives free
You wait for me, a wretch of a man, no record of wrongs do You keep
You are comfort when I mourn, You are strength when I am weak
Jesus Christ, the king of kings
Though we ache, though we cry, never break, never die
We sing of His great love again and again
And His love reigns forever, and forevermore
Forever and ever, Amen

This song is probably one of the most beautiful things I’ve ever heard. I can’t stop listening to it.

Song written and recorded by the musical group Showbread. I hold no rights to this song or lyrics.

Fixed or Broken?

They fixed your brain when you were young
Long before you were born
Sought to bring about the ideal
without your say.
They fixed your brain when you were young
Long after you were born
Reinforced by those around you love
and who love you.

Break it.

In Hell

The first place to look for Christ is in Hell.
Beaten, battered, torn apart.
Spit in his face,
vinegar smeared on his lips.
Four nails hammered in flesh,
supported by the pain.
Wrapped in darkness,
bathed in violence.
Worshiped in blood,
acquainted with sorrow.
Tired, hungry, forsaken.
This is love:
God in need.
The first place to look for Christ is in Hell.

Lorde’s Ribs And The Gospel

Back in May I discovered a guilty pleasure of mine when it comes to music: Lorde.

In April, I started reading some literature on postmodernism, a philosophical guilty pleasure of mine.

Listening to Lorde’s music in conjunction with literature on postmodernism has been both emotionally and intellectually stimulating. I’ve found a lot of postmodern themes in her music, but I’m not sure if that’s the nature of her music, the nature of postmodernism, or both.

That said, she seems well aware of herself, others, and the world around her – that which came before and after.

(She read 1,000 books by the time she was 12, and chose her stage name because of a fascination with aristocracy. I don’t mean to put my foot in my mouth, but I’m not entirely convinced many stereotypical musicians on Billboard 100 could define “aristocracy.”)

Anyway, in good and proper postmodern fashion, I am going to highlight just a fraction of one song.

Not only that, but it will entirely be lyrical.

I am not musically well-endowed enough to know about the technicalities of sound and whatnot.

So lyrics it is!

The song of choice is, obviously, “Ribs.”

I highly encourage you to listen to it before reading this. Get a feel for the sound.

[Here’s a link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gurezhY7cCw ]

Then read all the lyrics.

Repeat.

Okay, all done?

No?

Seriously. Go do that.

Alright, here is the passage I will be looking at:

“You’re the only friend I need
Sharing beds like little kids
Laughing ’til our ribs are tough
But that will never be enough”

This passage, which is towards the end of the song(an important note, as whatever message this passage conveys is what the listener is left with…the conclusion. The “this. This is what’s true” of the song.), begins with “You’re the only friend I need.” Lorde seems to be assuming this friend of her’s will be enough – or at least, this person’s friendship will be enough. What exactly “enough” means could be looked at philosophically(ie: if she holds a philosophy that humans require connection to be fully alive versus the belief we can be completely alone and be quite fine), psychologically (ie: relationally), or even biologically (ie: are they compatible physically?).

Lorde builds on this trust that this friend of her’s will be enough with the next two lines:
“Sharing beds like little kids, Laughing ’til our ribs are tough.”
Both of these lines give the listener this idea of joy. Laying on a bed with a friend, reflecting on nostalgic inside jokes, or perhaps even creating them in the moment.
The language of “little kids” suggests an innocence, a blind trust or faith – not just on one end of the relationship – but both. Both of them are putting “all in.”
They’re causing each other to laugh so hard, their ribs are getting tough (ie: building muscle/endurance/strength). The language here suggests they are helping each other get stronger physically, and, more metaphorically, emotionally, relationally, and mentally.
And then reality hits – “But that will never be enough.”
The language of “will” is striking.
You are left thinking that the friendship is in the NOW “sharing, laughing.” But the language of the final line, “will” is future tense, and Lorde seems to be suggesting these things haven’t happened, and even if they do happen, it won’t matter – they simply won’t satisfy. Any strength/support these two people offer each other – it won’t be enough.
It’s as if she suggests relationships and community, despite the allure of satisfaction, simply just “won’t do,” which is rather fitting, when you look at the next track on the album, Buzzcut Season, where Lorde sings, “Favorite friend, nothing’s wrong when nothing’s true, I live in a hologram with you..” Everything is fake to her.
From this point, the interpretation can go two ways:

1. Relationships and human connection simply won’t satisfy, so there’s no point. This could easily be the takeaway message if one doesn’t have hope in something greater.

2. Relationships and human connection simply won’t satisfy, but there is a point. There is a relationship, a connection, that can and will satisfy, if you let it. This is where I see the gospel, or part of it at least, in this song. Although Lorde does not offer an ending to the song that is optimistic (“That will never be enough” is repeated five times), this song is highly critical of the artificial, “single-serve” (to use language from Fight Club) relationships of the postmodern society. It also shows that even the most intimate bonds between humans are obviously fragile, broken messes, and that something needs to be done. One cannot have hope until one needs something to hope for – and given that the message of Jesus is one of hope – this song does quite a good job of setting up the listener for some of the relational aspects of the broad, all-encompassing loving message of Jesus:

satisfying, trinitarian, shalom-centered relationships between the three parts of self, the three sentient relations [God, other, self], and the three relations [God, humans, non-sentient creation], which leads to a harmonious satisfying existence among all of creation).