Annotated Lyrics to “New Rain” — One “See The Crowds”



John’s Song

See the crowds
See how they love to be told
That the end is at hand


Crowds remain most folks’ definition of success, certainly on-line! The more the better we might win over the few. It’s a numbers game. In John’s song, his attitude toward this becomes a classic put down of the concept and where it leads.

The current offering of Christianity on television is almost a parody of what we are discussing. The preoccupation with end times is a seizing on the suppositions of creedal Christians who absolutely love anything to do with apocalypse, doom and the capacity to transfer to the deity anything that might approach human responsibility.

But of course loving to hear that the end is at hand is not to be compared to actually experiencing it! In Haiti today hundreds of thousands are in the very grip of an entirely explicable apocalypse. Explicable with twenty explanations, but all of them salient, from the island’s heroic beginnings, through the punishment it has received from various powers, including the United States, to the fact that it, like California, sits upon a formidable fault.

“New Rain” was written in the 1970s at a time when I understood theology to be best expressed by attempting to turn the Biblical texts into music. There is no soupy praise music in “New Rain”. It is an open-eyed look at the reality that exists now and existed then.

I find most amusing the way Christian academics are used by NatGeo and the History Channel and other outlets, including, have mercy on them, public tv. Their little sound bites are orchestrated to make whatever point the program wants to make. Generally it points to supposition, superstition and the turning of shaky traditions into live possibilities. It makes no difference whether we are trying to celebrate the role of women or the effusions of Nostradamus or the subject matter of Revelation. TV goes for the crowds and they know what the crowds love.

If the end is at hand, it has nothing to do with supposition and everything to do with the idiocies we have wrought and with our own lack of humility in the face of things.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s