Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Show & Tell

I thought it was bizarre that we were having show and tell in college, but it turned out to be very entertaining and also inspiring. Although it was quite a stretch to relate many of the youtube videos to our topics, it was a nice change of pace to sit and laugh all class period!

The song I chose to share was by my favorite band, mewithoutyou. It is a song titled "Torches Together" and it is one that I continue to learn and interpet things differently each time I listen. Here are the lyrics:

Why burn poor and lonely under a bowl or under a lampshade
Or on the shelf beside the bed
Where at night you lay turning like a door on its hinges?...
First on your left side, then on your right side...then your left side again.
Why burn poor and lonely?
Tell all the stones we're gonna make a building...
We'll be cut into shape and set into place
Or if you'd rather be a window, I'll gladly be the frame,
Reflecting any kind words, we'll let in all their blame...
And ruin our reputation all the same.
So never mind our plan making, we'll start living...
Anyway, aren't you unbearably sad?
Then why burn so poor and lonely?
We'll be like torches!
We'll be like torches!
We'll be like torches...OH!!
We'll be torches together...TORCHES TOGETHER!!
We'll be like torches!
We'll be like torches...with whatever respect our tattered dignity demands,
Torches together...hand in hand.
Why pluck one string...what good is just one note?
Oh, one string sounds fine, I guess...but we were once 'one notes',
We were lonely wheat quietly ground into grain...What light and momentary pain!
So why the safe distance, this curious look?
Why tear out single pages when you can throw away the book?
Why pluck one string when you can strum the guitar?
Strum the guitar!Strum the guitar!
Strum the guitar...with no beginning, with no end.
Take down the guitar and strum the guitar!
Strum the guitar if you're afraid.
And I'm afraid and everyone's afraid and everyone knows it,
But we don't have to be afraid anymore.
You played the flute, but no one was dancing,
You sang a sad song...but none of us cried.
You played the flute, but no one was dancing,
And you sang a sad song, and none of us cried.
You played the flute, but no one was dancing,
You sang a sad song...but none of us cried.
You played the flute, but no one was dancing,
And you sang a sad sang such a sad song.

This song has a lot of biblical background in it. Matthew 5:14-16 says "You are the light of the world. A city on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven." I think a lot of us are lights in the sense that we are good Christians and hang out with other believers, but when it comes to shining onto the rest of the world, few bystanders would notice we are Christians. We are not shining as bright as we could be.

The first stanza talks about this plan to make a building, and it goes along with "Our English Syllabus" because life is not clearly balanced and organized. We get too caught up in deadlines and making everything perfect when we should stop making plans and just live. God will give us what we need and lead us where we need to be; we won't get there making our own plan.

I abosuletly love when Aaron Weiss sings the "Strum the guitar!" part. It's such a strong message; why just do okay when we can do great? We are not living fully enough, and we are too easily pleased (Weight of Glory). We settle for a nice note that sounds good, when we could strum the guitar and play a whole song that sounds amazing. Also, this stanza asks, why the safe distance? Again, we are too easily pleased. We ask God for help in troubled times or we turn to Him to confess, but why not be with God ALL the time? There doesn't have to be a distance. God is with us at all times if we seek him to be.

The end of the song comes from Luke 7:32. It says "We played music for you, but you didn't dance. We played a funeral song, and you didn't cry." In the song the pronouns are turned around as if God played a flute but we didn't dance and He sang a sad song but we didn't cry. This is harder to understand, but I think that we are too caught up in the earthly world that we lose sight of God. We close our ears and we don't hear that he is singing to us or playing a beautiful song. He can be found in any part of creation, but we shut him out.

If you haven't ever heard of mewithoutyou, I suggest you get some of their music. The most theological album is their newest one, Brother, Sister. Aaron Weiss sings about biblical concepts using such interesting and profound lyrics. This man lives out a life some of us would think is radical and outrageous, but I think Jesus would think he's more normal than any of us. He eats out of trash cans at restaurants, because we throw out so much food that is just wasted. He also chose to live poor in a community in Philly. If you ever saw him, you'd think he was homeless for the way he looks. He chooses to live a simple life and focus on his relationship with God instead of earthly desires...not exactly the typical life of a rockstar.

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