1979/Spring 2022

This song is called “God”. I recorded it during that very productive March and April of 2022 when I was completing 2 to 3 songs a week, and I scribbled verses and mix notes down in a notebook constantly. Many of the songs I finished during that period had solemn one word titles – “God“, “Men“, “Women” – and have an exaggerated air of profundity about them. More than once I thought I was composing a musical compendium of worldly wisdom, similar in tone to a book of poetry I really loved while growing up, Kahlil Gibran’s “The Prophet“. (Then I drank a beer and wrote “Butter Boy“, and everything was back to normal…)

The second verse and the chorus are song fragments from 1979 when I was 17. I was raised a Catholic, but after my parents divorced when I was 10, I was not a part of any religious practices until moving to College Station as a teenager and joining a Christian group for teenagers called “Young Life”. I joined primarily because they needed a guitarist, and I played around the clock back then. It was a good way to meet girls, and one winter we even went on a ski trip together in Colorado. Plus playing the guitar and acting out my rock star fantasies helped establish my identify in a new school and a new city.

During college when I attended the University of Texas and studies Economics, I became very skeptical of organized religion, believing strongly in the maxim that “Religion is the opium of the masses”, no doubt due to the heavy doses of Marxist doctrine in my studies. When I became a parent and as I got older, I began to appreciate more of the positive benefits of organized religion, especially the way it can ease the pain of loss through ritual, and how the Bible is full of stories you can use to teach morality to your children (and, occasionally, scare the hell out of them).

Sadly, the first verse was written after the school shooting in Uvalde, Texas, in 2022, which once again filled me with doubt. It’s hard to believe a loving god would tolerate such evil in our world. I have many friends and family members who are teachers and school administrators, and I think the last stanza of verse 1 may the saddest and truest thing I have ever written:

You made the fear the teacher felt

As her classroom was attacked

The peace in her sweet temple 

Shattered like so much glass 

– “God”

More than anything this song it shows an ambivalence towards organized religion that has persisted my entire life.

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