Saturday, December 09, 2006

Thursday Lyric Addendum: Ballad of The Carpenter

Apparently some of my friends didn't feel this was in the proper spirit; it does represent a heretical tradition, and it's by the same man who wrote about this Christian movement. In fairness, it represents one of my many feelings about the history and theology of Christianity, and, given the current discourse of traitorousness in this country, needed to be aired.

I've always thought it would be an interesting exercise, in an intro history or historiography course, to pair "Stand Up For Judas" with the following, the leftist revisioning of the Gospels I grew up with. Hope this helps.

The Ballad Of The Carpenter
by Phil Ochs

Jesus was a working man
And a hero you will hear
Born in the town of Bethlehem
At the turning of the year
At the turning of the year

When Jesus was a little lad
Streets rang with his name
For he argued with the older men
And put them all to shame
He put them all to shame

He became a wandering journeyman
And he traveled far and wide
And he noticed how wealth and poverty
Live always side by side
Live always side by side

So he said "Come you working men
Farmers and weavers too
If you would only stand as one
This world belongs to you
This world belongs to you"

When the rich men heard what the carpenter had done
To the Roman troops they ran
Saying put this rebel Jesus down
He's a menace to God and man
He's a menace to God and man

The commander of the occupying troops
Just laughed and then he said
"There's a cross to spare on Calvaries hill
By the weekend he'll be dead
By the weekend he'll be dead"

Now Jesus walked among the poor
For the poor were his own kind
And they'd never let them get near enough
To take him from behind
To take him from behind

So they hired one of the traders trade
And an informer was he
And he sold his brother to the butchers men
For a fistful of silver money
For a fistful of silver money

And Jesus sat in the prison cell
And they beat him and offered him bribes
To desert the cause of his fellow man
And work for the rich men's tribe,
To work for the rich men's tribe

And the sweat stood out on Jesus' brow
And the blood was in his eye
When they nailed his body to the Roman cross
And they laughed as they watched him die
They laughed as they watched him die

Two thousand years have passed and gone
Many a hero too
But the dream of this poor carpenter
Remains in the hands of you
Remains in the hands of you

3 comments:

Grant Jones said...

Rush is probably not to your taste, but check out the lyrics to "The Pass" from their Presto album of 1989

http://www.stlyrics.com/songs/r/rush3337/thepass362031.html

elementaryhistoryteacher said...

Long time no read.....everytime I make it over here I leave with a "note to self" to check something out or ponder some more on something you posted. Interesting song lyrics...now I have to go think:)

Ahistoricality said...

Mr. Jones: I like some Rush -- they can be kind of obscure, lyrically, though -- but I'm more partial to Joan Baez's lines:
"Because idols are best when they're made of stone / A savior's a nuisance to live with at home. / Stars often fall, heroes go unsung / And martyrs most certainly die too young."

EHT: We aim to confuse!