It took me a while before I realized the words of Hozier’s famous song Take me to church.
Take me to church
I’ll worship like a dog at the shrine of your lies
I’ll tell you my sins and you can sharpen your knife
Offer me that deathless death
Good God, let me give you my life
If I’m a pagan of the good times
My lover’s the sunlight
To keep the Goddess on my side
She demands a sacrifice
There is no sweeter innocence than our gentle sin
In the madness and soil of that sad earthly scene
Only then I am human
Only then I am clean
This is a concise expression of what I call atheist religion. The reversal of Christian values is cunning. Truth is replaced by a shrine of lies. The protagonist doesn’t want to be saved or forgiven but sacrificed (doesn’t identify with Abraham but with Isaac). He wants a deathless death, not the lifeless life of heavenly bliss.
Of course the value of innocence and sin is also reversed, and the common metaphor of angelic cleanliness is now applied to the soild of that sad earthly scene.
This is informed paganism, executed in a precise way as a clean reversal of the standard Christian story, and in that dialectical way it is of course itself profoundly Christian.
Here is that wonderful clip with ballet dancer Sergej Polunin:
Lyrics: Take me to church by Hozier was originally published on Meandering home
An old man is smelting the icon of exalted freedom.
I watch him. He is well-natured, a force old enough
to command. He swaddles the icon in a soft cloth
and lines it up with the others.
The light falls down from heavy window sills,
I again write poems that die in mirrors or teacups.
Going to Church was originally published on Meandering home
A lazy sunday morning. Then we go to church together. Four boys walking through the sunny streets of Kayole with bibles under their arms. I feel it would make a good picture, and it also reminds me of the… Beatles.
In the afternoon I decide to work in the cybershop to tell my friends in such far away places like Holland or Germany that I am alright. Electricity had broken down that morning and they had closed the shop. Despite power being back again, we find it still closed and wait for a boy rushing in on a light motorbike to open it for us. I work for five hours straight and still feel like nothing has been done.
In the evening we are invited at the pastor’s place for a traditional Kenyan meal which I enjoy very much. I can eat Ugali with my hands now and scoop up the meat with a chunk of the white stuff. I can feel my fatigue though and have a hard time suppressing a yawn. It is great to feel the hospitality of this family and I am really happy to be here. We decide to do the more serious talking with the pastor (about my project) later.