...Hallelujah, as it turns out, is not a Christmas song. It's not even Christian. The song starts out talking about some "secret chord" that David could play to please the Lord. He didn't. The song says David was baffled. He wasn't. The song focuses on the adultery including when Bathsheba apparently tied him to a kitchen chair and cut his hair. She didn't. The song rambles on about love. it looks good, but
Love is not a victory march
it's a cold and it's a broken Hallelujah
In the end, what do we learn about Leonard Cohen's religious views?
Well, maybe there's a God aboveThis is what passes, even among Christians, as a sweet Christmas song. Clearly it's not.
But all I've ever learned from love
Was how to shoot somebody who outdrew ya
It's not a cry that you hear at night
It's not somebody who's seen the light
It's a cold and it's a broken Hallelujah
As always, this post is not about Stan or what he wrote specifically. He just offers a glimpse into the evangelical conservative trend of them deciding what is and isn't Christian, as if they are the guardians of and final arbiters on Christianity.
Now, to be clear, Cohen was a Jewish man who embraced aspects of Buddhism. So, I would imagine that Cohen himself didn't write it with the intention of the song being a "christian song." But here's my point: Poetry and songs and art in general, when it's put out there, means what it means to the one who is appreciating it.
Cohen's beautiful and wonderful song is a journey of self exploration and struggle and failure, of love and loss and perhaps some redemption. It's gritty and tough and real-world. It's hard and it's glorious. It's humanity and spirituality, both, seems to me.
And so, my point is, why would anyone consider this definitively NOT a "Christian song..."? What is it in some folks who think they need to make a ruling and put a label on aspects of religion and the world, to try to box up their religion and their god away from "the secular..."? Do they feel they need to protect their god? I tend to think God can take care of God's Self and if a song is meaningful to you in some way, then it is meaningful to you in some way, and no one can take that away from you.
And if a song brings you closer to God or Jesus in some way, then that's what it does and no one needs to tell you that the song doesn't belong to "Christianity," as if they are the arbiters of Christianity. Contrariwise, if a song doesn't appeal to you and your religion, you don't need to incorporate it into your religion or practices. Just don't try to decide for others what box their god should be kept in.
Any God worth their salt would likely refuse to be boxed in.
Seems to me.
Now, enjoy the beautiful Jewish, Buddhist, Christian, secular, spiritual words of St Leonard...
I did my best, it wasn’t much
I couldn’t feel, so I tried to touch
I’ve told the truth, I didn’t come to fool you
And even though it all went wrong
I’ll stand before the lord of song
With nothing on my tongue but hallelujah
Even though it all went wrong, I'll stand before the lord of song with nothing on my tongue but Hallelujah.
Merry Christmas. Happy Hanukkah. Blessed Holiday Season, all.