Track 6: The Main Monkey Business
How will I blog about the lyrics to an instrumental, you ask? Like this:
I heard or read somewhere that the title of this song came from Geddy’s Jewish mother. It was either Geddy’s parents or grandparents who were in concentration camps in World War II (I think it was his parents). Upon being liberated by the Allies, their initial questions centered around whether or not they and their comrades were the only ones left alive in the world. Without any news for the years that they were incarcerated, they had come to fear that perhaps the war had been an Armageddon-type battle, in which the world’s population was decimated. Rush recorded a song about it in the 1980’s called Red Sector A, which includes the lyrics: “Are we the last one’s left alive? Are we the only human beings to survive? I hear the sound of gunfire at the prison gate. Are the liberators here? Do I hope or do I fear? For my father and my brother, it’s too late. But I must help my mother stand up straight.”
Anyway, back to the song at hand, Geddy’s mother was evidently flustered about something, and Geddy asked her what she was talking about, and she said, “All this monkey business!” Geddy responded, “What monkey business?” And his mother said, “You know, the main monkey business!”
Ah, that clears it up. Thanks, Ma.
For me, the main monkey business is that which takes place in the pulpits, pews, and classrooms of American churches every Sunday morning. This past weekend, Melanie and I went to church with the kids, and we went to Sunday School. The class is studying a series of lessons right now from 1st and 2nd Samuel. There is an accompanying booklet, which states that it draws lessons from the writings of several Baptist leaders, one of which is Ken Chaffin. Chaffin was interim pastor for a period of time in the 1980’s at Walnut Street Baptist Church, in Louisville, when I was a kid attending there. He was also a former senior pastor of South Main Baptist Church in Houston, where my parents attended in the 1990’s (before Home Depot became their Sunday morning ritual). Additionally, he was a big donator to my alma mater, Georgetown College, and his name is one of only three on the front of the Learning Resource Center, which was completed in 1998. He died several years back, but he was a wonderful liberal Southern Baptist voice, spending most of the last part of his life fighting the fundamentalist takeover of the denomination he had devoted his life to.
Anyway, after seeing his name on the study booklet, I was disappointed to discover that the content of the lessons did not ring of the Ken Chaffin I know at all. As I said, the lessons were said to be “from the writings” of Chaffin and several others. Clearly it was those several others whose writings influenced the primary theology of the lessons.
This week’s lesson was on David and Goliath. It was chock full of the typical, shallow, “let’s not get too awfully deep,” adult Southern Baptist Sunday School drivel, and its conclusions, like most traditional concepts of Christianity, were irrelevant, hypocritical, and full of contradictions.
David, the lesson told us, trusted in God, when all the other Hebrews had forsaken God. David, the lesson told us, believed in God’s power to help him slay the enemy. David, the lesson told us, refused to allow the Philistines to slander God’s name. David, the lesson told us, slaughtered Goliath in the name of God.
Ah, the wonders of a God of mercy, love, and compassion, who is the same yesterday, today, and tomorrow.
Sounds like a bunch of monkey business to me.