Thursday Non-Random Song: Steve Taylor, “This Disco (Used to Be a Cute Cathedral)”


According to the liner notes for this satirical 1980s Christian rock song, Steve Taylor was inspired by a visit to New York City’s legendary Limelight nightclub, which was housed in a deconsecrated church:

“…I started to imagine it was Sunday night, and that the church elders had devised all this as a way to attract new members.

Most of us, myself included, are guilty of wishing Christianity was more fashionable. But the Apostle Paul’s example of becoming ‘all things to all men’ in order to reach across cultural barriers can sometimes be used as an excuse to dilute the Gospel message, and hopefully draw a trendier, more affluent flock.”

Sunday needs a pick-me-up?
Here’s your chance
Do you get tired of the same old square dance?

Allemande right now
All join hands
Do-si-do to the promised boogieland

Got no need for altar calls
Sold the altar for the mirror balls
Do you shuffle? Do you twist?
‘Cause with a hot hits playlist, now we say

This disco used to be a cute cathedral
Where the chosen cha-cha every day of the year
This disco used to be a cute cathedral
Where we only play the stuff you’re wanting to hear

Mickey does the two-step
One, Two, Swing
All the little church mice doing their thing

Boppin’ in the belltower
Rumba to the right
Knock knock, who’s there? Get me out of this limelight

So, you want to defect?
Officer, what did you expect?
Got no rhythm, got no dough
He said, “Listen, Bozo, don’t you know”

This disco used to be a cute cathedral
Where the chosen cha-cha every day of the week
This disco used to be a cute cathedral
But we got no room if you ain’t gonna be chic

Sell your holy habitats
This ship’s been deserted by sinking rats
The exclusive place to go
It’s where the pious pogo, don’t you know

This disco used to be a cute cathedral
Where the chosen cha-cha every day of the year
This disco used to be a cute cathedral
Where we only play the stuff you’re wanting to hear

This disco used to be a cute cathedral
Where the chosen cha-cha every day of the week
This disco used to be a cute cathedral
But we got no room if you ain’t gonna be chic

(Lyrics and liner notes courtesy of YouTube.)
****

Taylor’s line “Where we only play the stuff you’re wanting to hear” sticks in my mind. We’re all familiar with the pressure on pastors to please their congregations with easy, flattering messages. Liberals pride themselves on being inclusive, conservatives on walking the straight and narrow. Both attitudes are uncomfortably similar to the exclusivity that’s the chief pleasure of club-going. Are you hot enough to get into the Kingdom?

Some serious Christians, therefore, are instinctively skeptical of any religious message that doesn’t increase our pain and self-sacrifice. When Rev. Peter Gomes, the openly gay Harvard University chaplain, gave a Bible lecture here at Smith College last year, he described the core of Jesus’ message as change that leads to liberation. Afterward an evangelical acquaintance of mine disparaged the lecture by quoting 2 Tim 4:3-4: “For the time will come when men will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear. They will turn their ears away from the truth and turn aside to myths.” Christianity Today cited the same verse to dismiss the legitimacy of the Human Rights Campaign’s Out In Scripture series of GLBT-inclusive reflections on the weekly lectionary.

But if the Word we’re hearing is not something we can “receive with joy” (Mt 4:16), is it really the gospel? Yes, we are eager to hear that the love we feel for one another in our bodies and souls is not a sin. We are also, all of us, too happy to be told that we’re better than someone else, especially if we don’t have to do anything to gain this privileged status. Whose ears are really itching for flattery here?

I’m tired of Grape-Nuts theology. Sacrifice for the sake of proving your toughness is merely pride. Wherever people feel joy, connection, integration of body and spirit, freedom and fellowship, Jesus is present. Maybe the cathedral can learn something from the disco.

9 comments on “Thursday Non-Random Song: Steve Taylor, “This Disco (Used to Be a Cute Cathedral)”

  1. Proodydek says:

    [url=http://buyingviagras.mediaplace.biz]buy viagra online[/url] Hallucinogenic against to routine of powerlessness

  2. zhenimsja says:

    Hi, mate! I’m utterly accede to this way of assumption and all of joined.

  3. RitEthige says:

    С каких источников у вас такая инфа?

  4. Veksinjenue says:

    Hi!
    Do you not think about the environment? Let’s work on renewable energy?
    What can you offer in terms of advertising?

  5. The bundance of interesting articles on your website amazes me! Author – good luck and new interesting posts!

  6. soin says:

    I’m very interested in this subject and I myself do alot of research as well. Either way it was a well thoughtout and nice read so I figured I would leave you a comment. Feel free to check out my website sometime and let me know what you think soin.

  7. scoogninC says:

    It’s good article. as we are in a very advanced generation so we should use new technology and application for each and every thing.

  8. scoogninC says:

    Excellent read, I just passed this onto a colleague who was doing a little research on this topic.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.