I’ve heard Hozier’s Take Me to Church in a number of places in recent days and it’s been on my mind a lot. The song is amazingly well-written but I am troubled by the message of the song for two reasons.
- It offers, yet another, insight into why non-Christians are opposed to the Church, namely feeling ostracized and outcast.
- It brought to mind the seemingly antithetical Christian response and the conflict that arises within Christianity.
Take Me to Church
In an interview Hozier said that he didn’t intend for this song to be directed solely toward the Church, but rather to any institution that limits the experience of what it means to be human. However, like any form of art or writing, authorial intent is often overwritten by the interpretation of the consumer and a song called Take Me to Church with continual references to Christianity is easily going to be heard in that way. A few thoughts on the song itself:
Take me to church
I’ll worship like a dog at the shrine of your lies
I’ll tell you my sins so you can sharpen your knife
Offer me my deathless death
Good God, let me give you my life
Much like the article I shared in Why Non-Christians Don’t Like Christians the chorus of this song indicates a hurt and rejection felt by the artist. Lies and betrayal are a common source of hatred toward Christianity and the Church from non-believers, particularly those who grew up in Bible-believing evangelical families.
The Human Condition & the Christian Response
‘We were born sick,’ you heard them say it
My Church offers no absolutes.
She tells me, ‘Worship in the bedroom.’
The only heaven I’ll be sent to
Is when I’m alone with you—
I was born sick,
But I love it
Command me to be well
Amen. Amen. Amen. Amen.
No Masters or Kings
When the Ritual begins
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
Amen. Amen. Amen. Amen.
This is where things get tricky. Is it true that Christians are at times responsible for hurting others through word or deed? Yes. Is it also true that people have a propensity and proclivity toward sin and feel attacked when it’s confronted or brought up? Yes.
We don’t want to hurt people, we want them to feel the love of Jesus and to come to him of their own accord. But we need to be careful not to swing so far to the other direction that we’re not willing to be open about what sin is and isn’t. Often times a truthful word spoken in a genuine and loving way will still be rejected because of a hard heart toward repentance. We should check our motives before speaking into the life of another, but we should not be afraid to be honest.
“Woe to you when all men speak well of you, for so their fathers did to the false prophets.” -Jesus Christ; Luke 6:26 (ESV)