Saturday, April 18, 2009

Sunday Sabbath Poetry: Jeff Tweedy

Tomorrow my wife and I are driving to Athens to see my favorite band, Wilco, for her birthday. I needn't add how happy I am to participate in such a gift! But in honor of that wonderful event -- and it is indeed an event; having seen them twice, I can testify: their 2-hour, 24-song, double-encore set in Dallas two years ago was the best concert I have ever attended (with Radiohead a close second) -- and in anticipation of their new album coming in June, I thought I would share the glorious lyrics of Jeff Tweedy. This song in particular ought to function as a playful but serious reminder in a theological forum like this one. Truly, we theologians don't know nothin' about Jeff Tweedy's soul.

My own poem hopefully offers a similar self-critique of the possibilities for capital-T "theology" to lose its footing in the actual world of messy, lived life, unable to find joy in the small, potentially "compromised" events that make up shared, neighborly culture.

First, though, let's hear Tweedy sing one of my all-time favorite songs, "Airline to Heaven." It's not an original, but part of the "Mermaid Avenue" collaborations between Wilco and Billy Bragg in which they rewrote and covered Woody Guthrie songs.

- - - - - - -


By Jeff Tweedy (of Wilco)


They don't know nothing
About my soul
About my soul

I'm an ocean
An abyss in motion
Slow motion
Slow motion

Illitterati lumen fidei
God is with us everyday
That illiterate light
Is with us every night

That don't know nothing
About my soul
Oh they don't know

They thin my heart with little things
And my life with change
Oh in so many ways
I find more missing every day


I'm going away
Where you will look for me
Where I'm going you cannot come

No one's ever gonna take my life from me
I lay it down
A ghost is born
A ghost is born
A ghost is born

I'm an ocean
I'm all emotion
I'm a cherry ghost
Cherry ghost

Hey I'm a cherry ghost
A cherry ghost

- - - - - - -

In Defense of the Super Bowl

I do not hate the Super Bowl.
The wild spectacle of it—
I know its spinning momentum,
so dizzying and addictive,
so nominally anti-gospel.
But memories testify
to good food and good times
spent in good togetherness
with rowdy men and laughing
women and playful children.
Such testimony speaks a
better word than the crass
critical apparatus of
academic theology.

- - - - - - -

Previous Sunday Sabbath Poetry

8.31.08 - Wendell Berry
9.7.08 - Will Oldham
9.14.08 - Sam Beam
9.21.08 - Woody Guthrie
9.28.08 - Derek Webb
10.5.08 - David Berman
10.12.08 - Michael Nau
10.19.08 - Sufjan Stevens
10.26.08 - Wendell Berry
11.2.08 - Maynard James Keenan
11.16.08 - Wendell Berry
11.23.08 - Psalm 44
12.10.08 - Mid-Week: Derek Webb, Rowan Williams, Cormac McCarthy, Psalm 137, and Jesus
12.21.08 - Placide Cappeau
1.04.09 - Robin Pecknold
1.11.09 - Thom Yorke
1.25.09 - Reese Roper
2.1.09 - Chris Martin
2.15.09 - Wendell Berry
3.01.09 - C.S. Lewis
3.8.09 - George Herbert
3.15.09 - Gerard Manley Hopkins
3.22.09 - Rowan Williams
3.29.09 - Walter Brueggemann
4.5.09 - Dan Haseltine
4.12.09 - Easter: Wendell Berry, Annie Dillard, George Herbert, Gerard Manley Hopkins, Colin Meloy, Michael Nau, Rembrandt

1 comment:

  1. Wow, I'd like to hear Billy Bragg' version of the song. I really like his music because he is fighting man who fights for noble causes. For instance, he sang last month at the generic viagra employees strike, because the company was not paying them their salaries...
    Anyways, great post.
    viagra online buy viagra