procrastination, heresy, and navel-gazing.

Friday, September 02, 2011

same kind of bad as me

Tom Waits' new album out soon.

here's the lyrics to a song from it, Bad as Me
You’re the head on the spear
You’re the nail on the cross
You’re the fly in my beer
You’re the key that got lost
You’re the letter from Jesus on the bathroom wall
You’re mother superior in only a bra
You’re the same kind of bad as me

I’m the hat on the bed
I’m the coffee instead
The fish or cut bait
I’m the detective up late
I’m the blood on the floor
The thunder and the roar
The boat that won’t sink
I just won’t sleep a wink
You’re the same kind of bad as me

No good you say
Well that’s good enough for me

You’re the wreath that caught fire
You’re the preach to the choir
You bite down on the sheet
But your teeth have been wired
You skid in the rain
You’re trying to shift
You’re grinding the gears
You’re trying to shift
And you’re the same kind of bad as me

They told me you were no good
I know you’ll take care of all my needs
You’re the same kind of bad as me

I’m the mattress in the back
I’m the old gunnysack
I’m the one with the gun
Most likely to run
I’m the car in the weeds
If you cut me I’ll bleed
You’re the same kind of bad as me
You’re the same kind of bad as me

you can listen to it here

i'm trying to work out what it's about.
on the surface of it, it's saying don't feel you're too bad to be with me, coz i'm bad too.
I know some people who've got in a terrible mess, worrying they're not good enough for the other person in their life. and they're not good enough. but neither is the other person!

although Jesus is an indirect object (especially in the first verse), there is something right in saying that Jesus is the same kind of bad as me. God lowered himself to become a man, to get down and dirty in the grime and muck of human existence. he identifies fully with us.
the author to the Hebrews writes
Son though he was, he learned obedience through what he suffered
Heb 5.8
and just before that we find
For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathise with our weakness, but one who has in every respect been tempted as we are.
Heb 4.15

Waits does use lots of Christian imagery in his music (Chocolate Jesus, God's away on business etc.), so i wonder if this is part of his Christian osmosis. that is, when weighed down by sin, we can know that God knows our struggles and temptations. and knowing us, knowing the wickedness of our hearts, he values us so much that he lived, suffered and died as one of us, in order to redeem us.
Hebrews 5 continues
being made perfect, he became the source of eternal salvation to all who are obedient to him.
Heb 5.9

so Jesus is the same kind of bad as you, and he became that and died as that, sinless, eternal Son though he was, so that you might have life in him.

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