Monday, May 19, 2008

not building a religion

i really love the alt rock band CAKE. their lyrics and arrangements are interesting and melodic and complicated but not pretentious. just cool.
here's some of the lyrics to their song "Comfort Eagle" from the 2001 CD of the same name. the song's about building something - something impressive, important, big - and marketing it so that people will join. i think they said "building a religion" because it's such an ironic thing to be building as an empire. or, maybe they mean it literally. either way.
the lyrics talk about the man who symbolizes the message that's enrolling people; he's a salesman with an ever-burning cigarette and he's so cool that his hat is on backwards and he calls you "dude." the product he's selling offers limited-edition key chains, and security - and if you ever lose your way, he'll send a car to find you.
i bet he will. once you've bitten the apple, and you're in, the system will make sure you stay in.

We are building a religion we are building it bigger
We are widening the corridors and adding more lanes

We are building a religion a limited edition
We are now accepting callers for these pendant key chains

To resist it is useless it is useless to resist it
His cigarette is burning but he never seems to ash

He is grooming his poodle he is living comfort eagle
You can meet at his location but you'd better come with cash

Now his hat is on backwards he can show you his tattoos
He is in the music business he is calling you "dude!"

He is handling the money he's serving the food
He knows about your party he is calling you "dude!"

Now do you believe in the one big sign
The doublewide shine on the bootheels of your prime

Doesn't matter if you're skinny doesn't matter if you're fat
You can dress up like a sultan in your onion head hat

We are building a religion we are making a brand
We're the only ones to turn to when your castles turn to sand

Take a bite of this apple mr. corporate events
Take a walk through the jungle of cardboard shanties and tents

He says now do you believe in the one big song
He's now accepting callers who would like to sing along

He says, do you believe in the one true edge
By fastening your safety belts and stepping towards the ledge

There's no need to ask directions if you ever lose your mind
We're behind you, we're behind you and let us please remind you
We can send a car to find you if you ever lose your way

We are building a religion
We are now accepting callers...
For these beautiful...
Pendant keychains

god and soul, protect me from ever becoming this. in my case, it's being a writer and speaker and pastor. but it could just as easily happen if i were in advertising, or a corporation, or government, or the military, or just as a parent or friend or partner.
protect us, o god. kick our asses. jesus and the prophets hated the big machine. help us recognize it, and refuse to be part of building it.


nonprofitprophet said...

We are Borg. Resistance is futile.

Anonymous said...

I guess my question is if we are to refuse to be a part of the "big machine" religion, are we not responsible to build some other religion or religious model? If we do not, are we merely antireligious? Jesus certainly chastised the "religion" and "religious" of his day, but what did he mean when he said that Peter was the rock on which he would build his church? Building a religion is frustrating when (1) we incur the wrath of the established "machine" (2)our "organization" inevitably begins to exhibit the stresses, strains and characteristics that we are trying to avoid (3) we have to take responsibility and be accountable beyond ourselves (4) we are forced to articulate and stand for what we believe in and oppose what we believe is wrong, unjust or unGodly. I do not believe that we avoid the problems by ignoring the calling of the building task at hand in our own lives and more generally.

Chiron' said...

"Ignoring the calling of the building task at hand.."

Are you saying that Journey should go ahead and get the rest of the building?

(no worries, just kidding...but ya know......?)

Might not be a bad idea.

There is nothing wrong with seeing a bunch of people come to acknowledge that you are doing a good thing. The fact that you worry is checksum enough.

My experience is that it's human nature that needs to be monitored for this kinda thing, and as long as there is strong leadership, your ethics are in no danger of becoming compromised.

Don't worry: Be happy.

Love Chiron'

DM said...

[headbanging] DUN dun...da DUN dun...DUN dun...da DUN dun