Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Embracing Obfuscation

As a songwriter who mainly composes for music theater, children's theater and worship services I try to be as clear as possible in my lyrics. If the listener has to wrestle with complex language and ideas then it pulls them away from the story or the worship experience and detaches them emotionally from what is taking place. There is also value in being clear and concise in writing as it helps avoid verbosity.

Occasionally though I like a change.

I am in a Lent Journalling Class where we are writing our own 'bibles'. Before you start screaming heresy I should explain that what we are doing is writing our own stories and experiences in the style of biblical literature. Last week we wrote our own 'Genesis Stories' - our own tales of Beginnings. And this week I have been wrestling with writing my own tales of 'Exodus'.

I was unsure what form to take until after Valentine's Day.

That night I went to see one of my favorite songwriters in concert. Martyn Joseph.

Some of his lyrics are quite obscure (he even confesses to forgetting what one song is about!) but they paint a wonderful picture.

I started to write a song that night, and realized I was writing a song of Exodus.

So here is my lyric (and no I will not explain the obfuscation)

The Beautiful Debris

My Spirit has grown larger than this room
And I no longer can embrace the gloom
I'll let my phony righteousness tumble to the floor
This sanctuary
Can't contain me
Or all God has in store
For the beautiful debris
That is me.

You lower down a picnic at my feet
And three times then command me 'Kill and Eat'
I'll feast upon the things I thought I had to leave behind
And dance within
My former sin
My soul no more confined
In the the beautiful debris
That is me

The rough hewn is more beautiful
Than the perfect and the polished
Ugly authenticity more lovely than the fake
So there are walls of certainty
That need to be demolished
And leave some holy doubt within their wake

6 or 7 trap me in, a thousand set me free
Millions stand on either side beckoning to me
Everybody claims the truth to justify their side
But I will trust
The rocks and dust
That sing from deep inside
The beautiful debris
That is me

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Peter, I'm blown away by your art . . . the images . . . "my Spirit has grown larger than this room" . . . "6 or 7 trap me in, a thousand set me free . . . Millions stand on either side beckoning to me." I love it. This is great. . . a pleasure to know the one whose soul birthed it.