Monday, March 05, 2007

Will Oldham: Peel Session

I thought I'd share some music from my favorite musician, Will Oldham.

  • Will Oldham - 01 Jolly Five (64) (Peel session)
  • Will Oldham - 02 Arise Therefore (Peel session)
  • Will Oldham - 03 Death To Everyone (Peel session)
  • Will Oldham - 04 (I Was Drunk At The) Pulpit (Peel session)

  • (I was drunk at) the pulpit
    by Will Oldham

    I was drunk at the pulpit, I knew it was wrong
    and I left in mid-sermon tempted by a bar-house song
    the pews creaked and shifted as they turned to watch me leave
    and I pulled a little bottle from the pocket in my sleeve

    the sunlight was stronger to my church-dark widened eyes
    than the light which had blinded me with Christ's own half-lies
    yes mid-sunday morning, my old playmates sat
    round a stumble stained table, Christopher spat
    and he kicked out a chair and showed me to sit
    then they started back singing in that shit-smelling pit
    they were grinning and dribbling with comforted heads
    their wives were in church or at home and in beds
    well I sucked down a cupful and God shone within
    in a red earthen mask, and I saw where I'd been was a palace of sin.

    let them abstain on unbucking high horses
    poor wooden structures which merely eye courses
    that these log heads run just to find some respite
    in the whiskey-induced holy unending night
    yes I thought I saw new light, the black one which dimmed
    the bleach garments with which mingled pee on stained rims
    oh the church songs they paled next to this fiery chorus
    composed from a living depth especially for us

    there were arms linked in sympathy, gilded the glaring
    of these bloated companions, who hid 'neath their swearing
    some need for another, kin to brother lust,
    which coarse words and music, was faith and less trust
    yes I saw a dependence, an inherent weakness
    within walls which hid sunlight and hindered all frankness
    that floor there supported what souls couldn't stand
    on their own in their own eyes, to hint they are men
    who are slave to their vision but to that alone
    yes each of them cloistered fear of being alone
    wherever folks gather, to imply a rule,
    they are each one a sinner, each one a fool
    for if I drink my whiskey, and if I sing a song
    I have no breast companion, a-trailing along
    to imagine a sharing of burdens I earned
    to steal from the embers i strove so to burn
    God is one's corpus, and Jesus one's blood
    the world is within you, without is of mud...


    urbanmonk said...

    Matt, thanks for the great music. I'm so glad you're blogging more often. Hey, I was listening to a sermon online by Samir Selmanovic that I really enjoyed. I'll leave you the link I'd love your feedback.

    Matthew said...

    Hey Brian. I just got done listening to the sermon. My first reaction is this (as is to be expected, my reaction is negative.): What God are we supposed to look for in the Other? If we're to find something, we must have some idea of what we're looking for. Yes, God is bigger than Christianity (when did that become a bad word?), but God is also a complete mystery to us, except in the person of Jesus Christ (and He's quite the mystery himself). So we'd be looking for Christ in others. But I get the feeling that this isn't what the sermon is hinting at. I feel like he wants Christians to go out in search of entirely new revelation of God, and that smells of something nasty to me (as well as seeming a bit capitalistic).

    I also think it is important to realize that the West (whatever that is) does not have a monopoly on Christianity. There are more Christians outside of the U.S. and Europe than inside. The Church is exploding all over the world. I think a better plan of action for Western Christians would be to find out how the rest of the Christian world experiences Christ and lives as the Body of Christ than incorporating ideas about God from other religions. Could we ever be sure that we are speaking of the same God? I have little faith in natural theology, so I'm not sure what I'd be looking for in some other religion.

    Like it or not, Jesus did found a community with annoying, offensive, and seemingly narrow-minded beliefs concerning how to keep that community together.

    Keep in mind that I'm not very well-versed in theology and at the same time I'm extremely theologically conservative, which has been known to get me into trouble.

    Matthew said...

    I was just thinking how refreshing it is to attend a church where the homily rarely goes over seven minutes and doesn't include a philosophy lecture.

    I'm not a negative person, I swear!

    Matthew said...

    Alrighty, this is my main beef. He seems to take for granted that there is this type of thing called "religion" and that every culture (even atheistic cultures like Buddhistic cultures) have their own variations of this thing that is religion. These religions may seem different at first glance, but in reality the content is the same, viz. God (I say even atheists because, and Monsieur Samir even says this himself, atheists deny the existence of God, and so have to have a picture of God to deny). So, there is some universal being that all cultures have access to, but they go about it in different ways. Since we all talking about the same thing, we should just share our secrets about accessing God so that our knowledge of Him/It/Her can be expanded.

    I call bullshit. I think the word religion is next to meaningless. We can't just clear out the rituals and tradition of Christianity, Hinduism, Sikhism, Buddhism, Islam, etc, and get to the tootsie roll center of transcendent truth so that we can all get past our differences and be friends.

    I'm surprised he thinks this way, as he's a fan of Kierkegaard, for whom "eternity is only possible in time."

    urbanmonk said...

    This is exactly why I was so tempted to let you in on the sermon. I totally heard it differently than you although I like you critique. I think he is holding up a very high Christology. He is not trying to relitivize Jesus in the way that modern philosophers and theologians do.

    Whether or not you by natural theology or not, apologetically Paul uses the reach of other religions towards the "divine" as a open door to speak of the scandal of Jesus.

    Barth who obviously kicked Brunner's ass to the curb was at least open to the idea that human action towards "the other Gods" was a residual deposit of the divine image (I'm unsure about this language. I hope you catch my drift.) I take Samir as honoring that journey and calling people to embrace Christ. I don't think he is embracing a low church ecclesiology at this point. In some ways he is broadening the work of Mother Teresa, and early church hospitality that who were seeking to find Christ in every stranger and alien that passed along their way.

    I just posted Samir's sermon on my blog, can I post your comments?

    Anyway, I'll listen to it again and try to put on your glasses.


    Matthew said...

    Yeah, you can post my comments, no problem. Thanks for letting me in on the sermon.

    If he is talking about finding Christ in the Other, I have no problem with that. If that is what he is getting at, however, I think he needs to make that fact absolutely clear. Which I don't really see him doing. I've never heard of this guy before, so I don't know how much influence he has, but leaving this fact unclear could cause lots of really unorthodox ways of thinking for a lot of people. I know how my mother would have heard him and it makes me cringe.