What’s your God like?

One reason I love the arts is their ability to express and realize the world we live in. The other day I was driving home after a long day of school, work and the other things that consume my life. I wasn’t really paying attention to what was on the radio until I heard “God” over and over again. Since I wasn’t listening to christian radio and no radio stations play Kanye’s “Jesus Walks” anymore. I was intrigued and decided to find out more. It turns out the song I heard was “Laughing With,” the new single by Regina Spektor. If you aren’t familiar with the song here’s a condensed version of the lyrics.

No one laughs at God in a hospital
No one laughs at God in a war
No one’s laughing at God when they’re starving or freezing or so very poor

No one laughs at God when the doctor calls after some routine tests
No one’s laughing at God when it’s gotten real late and their kid’s not back from that party yet

No one laughs at God when their airplane starts to uncontrollably shake
No one’s laughing at God when they see the one they love hand in hand with someone else and they hope that they’re mistaken
No one laughs at God when the cops knock on their door and they say “We’ve got some bad new, sir,”
No one’s laughing at God when there’s a famine, fire or flood

But God can be funny
At a cocktail party while listening to a good God-themed joke or
Or when the crazies say he hates us and they get so red in the head you think that they’re about to choke

God can be funny
When told he’ll give you money if you just pray the right way
And when presented like a genie
Who does magic like Houdini
Or grants wishes like Jiminy Cricket and Santa Claus

God can be so hilarious
Ha ha
Ha ha

No one laughs at God in a hospital
No one laughs at God in a war
No one’s laughing at God when they’ve lost all they got and they don’t know what for

No one laughs at God on the day they realize that the last sight they’ll ever see is a pair of hateful eyes
No one’s laughing at God when they’re saying their goodbyes

But God can be funny
At a cocktail party while listening to a good God-themed joke or
Or when the crazies say he hates us and they get so red in the head you think that they’re about to choke

God can be funny
When told he’ll give you money if you just pray the right way
And when presented like a genie
Who does magic like Houdini
Or grants wishes like Jiminy Cricket and Santa Claus

God can be so hilarious

No one laughs at God in a hospital
No one laughs at God in a war

No one’s laughing at God when they’re starving or freezing or so very poor

No one’s laughing at God
No one’s laughing at God
No one’s laughing at God
We’re all laughing with God

The lyrics are provocative and for sure meant to grasp the attention to of listeners by approaching a topic usually left for sanctuaries and small groups. Initially I had two thoughts on the song. On one hand it is encouraging to see a mainstream artist like Spektor bringing God to the forefront of popular music. On the other hand I fear that her lyrics create an inaccurate picture of the character of God or at least our relation to him.

As I continue to process the lyrics I am posed with this question: how does my theology (my perception of what I believe to be true of God) affect my life? Essentially I’m asking, does what I believe about the gospel come forth in everything I am, my relationships, actions and words? I think this is the question we must ask ourselves everyday. As a pastor once told me, we have to wake up every day and choose to follow Christ. It isn’t a one time deal but rather every day, every moment we are constantly deciding to follow the will of Christ or to turn away and follow our own path. Thanks to art and the world around us we are constantly reminded of this.

For more information concerning this song check out this post by Josh Harris, pastor at Covenant Life Church in Maryland. more…

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2 Responses to What’s your God like?

  1. She seems to be singing about how people think about God in our culture. The lyrics “create an inaccurate picture of the character of God” because sometimes that’s what people think of Him, and that’s what she’s portraying. Of course I’m not sure what her story is or what she believes about God, but that’s what I gather about the song.

  2. Andy says:

    One of the reasons I love Regina Spektor is her honesty. It is such a beautiful thing about her music. It is raw and honest and can sing about ugliness in the most beautiful, sad, heartbreaking way. This song is no different.

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