Why does everybody confuse Jesus with the politicians in preacher's clothing who claim to speak in His name? Shouldn't the rest of us have a hymn of our own? That included people who, like me, aren't Christian as such but like a good hymn. Here, then: "I Wish More Christians Loved Jesus."
(lyrics & music by R. Eskow; except "Amazing Grace," p.d.)
Here's a little background:
One early chapter in my music career took place when I was taken in and given shelter by relatives on the Christian side of my family, at 19 or so. You haven't really heard Christian hymns until you uncle from Brownsville plays them all night on the electric organ in the living room.
I found myself, an ex-punk rocker from New York, playing bass or guitar at Southern Baptist revivals in California's central valley. That gave me more than the typical Northeasterner's familiarity with songs like "Victory in Jesus" and "I've Got A Mansion Over the Hilltop."
So when it came time to think about not only taking America back, but taking Jesus back, from the so-called "Christian Right," I wrote something in the style of those revivals.
Why "take Jesus back"? Well, because there are lots of evangelicals and other Christians who are politically open-minded, or -- as Zack Exley points out -- even "revolutionary."
And you don't have to be a Christian, or even believe in God, to respect what Jesus had to say, or to know what a different country this would be if more Christians really listened to him.
The serious side of this song are dedicated to Christian heroes like Tom Fox, who really try to live by Christian ideals. And the rest of it? Well, that's for people like the only other two living organisms on this recording -- Pat Robertson and Jerry Falwell. (My sidemen.)
Speaking of which ... Don't miss the "hidden bonus track" at the end, featuring Jerry and Pat talking about 9/11 with what seems like sympathy -- for the terrorists. John at Crooks & Liars has the whole un-Christian affair from beginning to end. It seemed appropriate to play America's best-known hymn, "Amazing Grace," as they talked -- but as a blues.
Follow Richard (RJ) Eskow on Twitter: www.twitter.com/rjeskow