Tuesday, May 01, 2007

Praying with Pink Floyd

LATER NOTE:  see sequel  (prequel?) to this post : Well-Ended Stories That Don't End Well

And if I show you my dark side
Will you still hold me tonight?
And if I open my heart to you
And show you my weak side
What would you do?...

Thought I oughta bare my naked feelings,
Thought I oughta tear the curtain down.
I held the blade in trembling hands
Prepared to make it but just then the phone rang
I never had the nerve to make the final cut


Or at least flirting with prayer, but too shattered to hold out much hope for a loving and living God.

Why can't church be more like Pink Floyd lyrics? (like it used to be when Jews and Psalms informed us)

I know; at their worst, they are pure depression;and listening leads to the same.
But at their best, they are anointed liturgists...even worship leaders (here) leading us in..
Devastatingly honest prayer.

Overhearing despair-prayer can also be healing and facilitate healing..

..if listened to/sung in context of church community.

And maybe when spliced/mixed with songs on the same theme, but embedded with (a glimmering of) Christian hope.

In "The Final Cut," sampled above, Roger Waters knows he should "tear the curtain down," and let his feelings emerge. He even has the knife is his hands, but can't go through with the strength of will needed to facilitate healing.

Splice into:
"Tear the curtain down; Pull the altar to the ground."

This line (from a classic  77s song...and written from a Christian framework, by a lyricist honest about depression, how about that? The last time that was tried, the singer was fired from hosting a Christian TV show...or something like that), and the music accompanying it, might be creatively merged/mashedup into the Floyd song. After all, both lyricists know deep inside the curtain is that of God's altar.
What I'm not asking for is cheesygelical sequels that straighten out all the lines, and rebuke the doubt of the original songs and their gut-level honesty.

More than adding straight-up-salvation verses to "help" Bono "find what he's looking for,"as so many well-meaning Christians do to "I Still Haven't Found...":

"There has never been a more concise theology of redemption, atonement
and the substitutionary death of Christ. No clearer proclamation of the
Gospel has ever sold so many copies...But he hasn't found what he is looking
for. I remember speaking in Dublin and seeing this rather exuberant Christian at
the front of the hall. I began my address by asking had anyone found what they
were looking for. "Amen brother. Yes Hallelujah!" I am not sure how my dear
brother came to earth as he discovered that for the next hour I was exposing
that to have found what we are looking for has nothing to do with Biblical
Christianity...So my conclusion is that U2's I Still Haven't Found What I Am
Looking For is probably the best hymn written in this century, it has the
theology of the cross but is centred in the reality of a fallen humanity and is
about striving towards a better man and a better world" (Stve Stckman,
read it

Hey, how about taking some typical upbeat Christian worship soings, and adding a verse about doubt, temptation, fear...that might be a more appropriate and biblical tweaking of theme.
After all, as Bono has paraphrased God "Don't patronize me (with happy clappy songs that don't deal with doubt)...I am going to the Nine Inch Nails gig; they're speaking the truth."

Maybe, to offer some more Pink Flood lyrics, we need to "we're just two lost souls swimming in the fish bowl year after year." After all even this moves into prayer "...wish you were here."

Sometimes that's the most spiritual prayer you can muster.
Leave the fish in the bowl for now: Jesus felt that way on Good Friday. And sometimes Good Friday shows up on Easter.

Devastating. Honest.

Like Psalm 30,which

proclaims that endings are not as final as we sometimes think they are. It does not deny the reality of the darkness. It does not deny the experience of the absence of God. And it does not deny the dismay of finding that our beliefs do not always stand up to the realities of life. But it affirms that out of that grievous experience of death can emerge a new joy, a new hope, a new future, and a new confirmation of what it is to be the people of God." source

Does no one else recognize Ecclesiastes in Pink Floyd's breathless

And all you touch and all you see
Is all your life will ever be
Run, run rabbit run
Dig that hole, forget the sun,
And when at last the work is done
Don't sit down it's time to dig another one
For long you live and high you fly
But only if you ride the tide
And balanced on the biggest wave
You race toward an early grave.

Many artists who are Christians would serve as anointed bridgebuiders for honest worship gatherings...if churches would allow them: Bruce Cockburn ("Whatever was God thinking of?" is honesty not blasphemy, but simply honesty (T Bone Burnett, Alice Cooper (actually admitting sexual and demonic temptation.)

The most haunting, devastating, barely listenable (which is why I regularly listen to it, and use it as a call to prayer and honesty)song I know is by Michael Knott, madman-genius-Christian of the voluminous catalog...whether under his own name, Lifesavers Underground, LSU, Cush...
Here's the song:

you're sittin' there wondering why is it like this
and the whole world's crazy and the earth is sick
and someone's yelling from the bathroom door
the toilet's overflowing on the floor
and the one by the phone
says i cannot hear
while the one by the jukebox spills his beer
and the man on the pinball hits sixteen mil
someone ducks behind the counter to pop a pill
and you reach in your pocket to see if there's more
and the biggest bill falls so you're left with four
and you're too gone to look but you still try
then you see it in the hand of a great big guy
who looks just like he'd kill you fast
and you think for a minute
you let it pass

and the stool falls over when you set back down
it bumps a mean pool shooter from across the town
he misses his shot - it's all on you
and with your last four bucks you know what you'll do
sorry man can i buy you a drink
and he shakes his head and says, make it a double

the next thing you know you wake up at home
and the little one there won't leave you alone
she's awake and hungry
she needs some potty help
and you remember what happened last time she tried it by herself
and your wife says hurry, we're late for church
and you can barely see
and your head still hurts
and the preacher starts preaching
and you feel remorse
he's got five little kids and a big divorce
and your wife looks down and says she don't know how
he's been her guiding light for ten years now
and his marriage is over, it's barely alive
and how in the world will ours ever survive?


The juxtaposing of "church"world and "real world" is too close for comfort...and offers little; as does a pastor's divorce. The sharing and prayer time after the stunned silence that song creates would inevitably be life-changing...

is there a problem with that?

Maybe central to my calling as a pastor is to be (as Keltic Ken has coined me) "Holy Spirit' DJ.
And perhaps central to that centrality is being a party planner...or a dirge director.

We may not be ready to spin  some of these songs, or this Floyd lyric in "church" yet:

The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want
He makes me down to lie
Through pastures green he leadeth me the silent waters by.
With bright knives he releaseth my soul.
He maketh me to hang on hooks in high places.
He converteth me to lamb cutlets..

But have you never felt a bit like that?
The Lord be with you...
...especially when..

                 even when
                                            He's not.


Michael Knott, "Healing"(You've been seen with a stiff lip
It's happening to the best when the pain grips
You've been beaten by the bell
In all that you do
You thought Hell was a place one goes to
But your Hell on Earth is true

This is the healing)


  1. Paint A Picture Lyrics (Rez Band)

    Rez Band - Paint A Picture Lyrics

    Oh, the hours of agony in that darkened room
    Silhouetted by an ache to be desired by someone
    Hating who you are and what you've made of yourself
    Not forgiving yourself for you
    What was I trying to prove, running from You?
    And it hurts me so to see that box I know
    Filled with photographs of things I knew
    But You promised me You'd make all things new

    Paint a picture of a lonely life
    Paint a picture of a cold, gray night
    Paint a picture of the emptiest day you've ever known
    Paint a picture of a starving man
    Paint a picture, being born again
    Paint a picture of an empty cage, for this bird has flown

    When you live all alone
    Hating your only companion
    They'll tell you it's allright
    But baby, you know that's a lie
    I reached the bottom
    I hope you don't have to find out the way I did
    Trip after trip and try after try after try

    Paint a picture of a broken heart
    Paint that picture and you can start to understand the love of the Savior
    And oh, how He understands you
    Paint a picture of a blood-covered cross
    See that picture and you'll know what it cost
    - the price God paid to prove His love for you

  2. thanks..great lyric...



Hey, thanks for engaging the conversation!