People who have read this blog long enough know that David Bazan of Pedro the Lion and Headphones is one of my all-time favorite song writers. This evening I had the very bitter-sweet experience of seeing him play in Bloomington, IA.
From a performance aspect the show was great. Headlights was a fantastic opening band and the venue was clean, smoke-free, and had good acoustics. Bazan's skill as a performer is just as compelling as his witty song writing. I was glad to hear him play songs like "Transcontinental" and "Penetration" which I have loved for the better part of a decade.
On the other hand, the concert was a sobering experience for me because of Bazan's blatant rejection of the Christian faith. While much of Bazan's earlier work such as "The Secret of the Easy Yoke" or "The Fleecing" documented his wrestling with faith and doubt, Bazan's most recent album "Curst Your Branches" moves beyond doubt to a heart-felt rejection of Christianity. The concluding lyrics from "In Stitches" show the contempt Bazan has for Christianity's understanding of god:
When Job asked you a question,
You answered, "Who are you?"
That sounds a bit defensive
Did you just bite off more than you could chew?
In the song "When We Fell" Bazan goes as far as to blame god for human sin:
When you set the table, When you chose the scale
Did you write a riddle that you knew they would fail
Did you make them tremble
So they would tell the tale
Did you push us when we fell
What am I afraid of?
Who did I betray?
In what medieval kingdom does justice work that way?
If you knew what would happen
And you made us just the sameThen you my Lord can take the blame
Essentially Bazan has been bold enough to articulate the manifesto that every unbeliever in practice is living out: Who is god to tell me what to do?
As a Christian, I have a very different confession: That Jesus is Lord.