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Christian Life

The Gospel According to Hozier’s “Take Me to Church”

Hozier

You’ve all heard it…and heard it…and heard it. “My lover’s got humor. She’s the giggle at a funeral….” Most of you have turned it up—rightfully so, as it’s a catchy song, to say the least. But have you really listened to the lyrics?

Take me to church
I’ll worship like a dog at the shrine of your lies
I’ll tell you my sins and you can sharpen your knife
Offer me that deathless death
Good God, let me give you my life

There are many, and I mean MANY, interpretations of what this song is all about. In general, it’s about a relationship that is all-encompassing. It’s about “worshiping your lover”—as in Hozier’s words, the “she” he sings about. This song is about (gasp!) sex. It’s about our humanity and sex. It’s about how the church views sex. Hozier has stated this song is not anti-faith—it’s knocking how the church handles sex and the natural state of it.

Listening to this song, you get a few feelings as a Christian—first off, how powerful the song is in and of itself. After the 50th listen, it tends to be glossed over. However, go back and listen to it from the standpoint of a man frustrated, frustrated with the church. This is the Gospel of Hozier.

Hozier claims that his church is his lover, not a place he goes to on Sundays. Hozier claims that his heaven is when he’s with “her.” You see, Hozier’s “Take Me to Church” is a wake-up call to us as Christians. This man isn’t alone; the church or “religion” is not doing its part.

Let’s revisit the line above:

I’ll tell you my sins and you can sharpen your knife.

Now, I don’t know Hozier’s interpretation of this, but I can guess. He’s coming from a place of hurt in which he shared his sin with someone in the church and they judged him. This mind-set is the difference between following religion versus following Christ. Religion says, “Sinner!” Jesus says, “You’re forgiven.”

As followers of Christ, we shouldn’t be judging ANYONE. Let that judgment be given to God. Just love on people. The truth is to some, the Gospel hurts. The truth is we aren’t called to do anything BUT love. Jesus’ death fulfilled the Mosaic Law, the law that had called for a perfect obedience under the threat of a “curse.” Yeah, that law, Jesus fulfilled.

Hozier’s song is from a point of contention with the church and religion in its present day. Hozier’s song should be taken to us as a way to do better. To do as Jesus said before he died—”make disciples of ALL nations.” We cannot debate people into believing in Christ. But we can quickly do the opposite if we take the view Hozier is singing about.

This song isn’t something we should silence from our ears. It’s a rallying cry for us to do better, to love one another regardless of backgrounds, and all sit down and talk about this Jesus fellow and what He represents, which is love, not judgment.

 

Image: hozier.com

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20 Comments

  1. Project Inspired

    Posted by mrscrowley1029 on April 16, 2015 at 22:00

    I love this song and I’m christain, I grow up in very judgemeantal church so I feel the pain when I listen to this song.. I’m so thankful to be a great church now.

  2. Project Inspired

    Posted by maddijs on April 14, 2015 at 13:48

    This is song is so sad. The Church has clearly caused some damage. Damage that won’t easily be fixed. I agree with the part in the article that says this song should tell Christians that they need to do a better job loving people. I partially disagree, however, with the statement that “we shouldn’t be judging ANYONE”. Those who do not claim to be Christians are not living under the same expectations/rules/standards/law as those who belong to Christ. We can’t, then, judge people who aren’t under the same law as we are. We are called to, however, judge those inside the church. Those who claim to be Christians and continue to participate in the church, denying their sin, are those we should be assessing the behavior of. I know no one is perfect, but there is a line between acknowledging sin and living in your sin. Check out 1 Corinthians 15, Matthew 18:15-17, and Jame 5:19-20 for clarification.

    • DKristine

      Posted by DKristine on April 16, 2015 at 11:37

      Hi! I thought what you said was really interesting, but part of it bothered me. I do not mean to be offensive so hear me out. I don’t agree with your word choice when you said we are to “judge those inside the church”. I don’t think that “judge” is the correct word here. The word judge carries a negative connotation of criticizing someone else because of the way they live or act. After reading the verses that you supplied I see where you are coming from but I think that judging someone comes from a critical, envious, self righteous place; and what these verses are talking about is aiding a brother or sister in Christ as they walk their journey with God. In that case, the intentions behind your “judgement” is love, and wanting what is best for the other person. I hope that you don’t take this as be telling you that you are envious or self-righteous; please don’t take it that way, I’m just trying to clarify what you meant in that statement! 🙂

  3. Project Inspired

    Posted by CharmeDuSud on April 14, 2015 at 05:18

    I’ve watched and read some interviews about this… In one, he said that it’s about hypocrisy in the church. Everyone’s a hypocrite, but I would agree that isn’t an excuse and we still need to do better on that. But in another interview he expanded upon the meaning of the song, and he said it’s about LGBT rights, and it’s about sexual orientation and how we should just embrace whatever we’re born with. My friends and I discussed this, and I watched a Teens React video on it, and it would appear that the latter meaning to the song is what a lot of people take the song to be about. For that reason, I’m still not comfortable with the song (although I will admit, it’s SO catchy)! 🙂 But collectively, as Christians, we need to act in a way that’s pleasing to God; while we should not condone sin, we should not hate the sinner either. I think that’s the message we need to pull form Hozier’s overarching view of the Church and from this article. 🙂

  4. dancelong_loveGod

    Posted by dancelong_loveGod on April 12, 2015 at 00:19

    I have never heard this song. I listened to it after reading this and it made me cringe. This song is horrible, and the world is accepting these songs about sex and hatred of God as an example of our society.

  5. Project Inspired

    Posted by Kori on April 1, 2015 at 21:54

    Unfortunately the music video for this song makes it unbearable for me. I don’t know what the song was intended to mean, but the video that goes along with it is frightening and….disgusting. There is so much hatred and evil in it.

    • Project Inspired

      Posted by Diuc on April 14, 2015 at 06:48

      What I heard about the video was that it was based around this thing that was happening over seas a little while ago (I think it was in either Russia or Germany but I’m not 100%). The Catholic Church was preaching against homosexuality and people would go on witch hunts for homosexuals and after finding them would murder the people, video tape it, and then upload it somewhere to the internet. And the Catholic Church basically condoned it, I guess? I’m not entirely sure if this is true, but it’s something I heard.

      • Project Inspired

        Posted by LiveLoveLearn on April 21, 2015 at 20:10

        It is true, and btw it’s Russia. While no, the entire Church most definitely has not condoned this, a lot of people in Russia are very violently opposed to homosexuals, so I believe the tie to the church is a correlation, rather than a direct cause, but unfortunately I wouldn’t be surprised if there were churches there that play an active roll; I would contrast this to what’s happening in Uganda. Vladmir Putin has used homosexuals as scapegoats for bad things that are happening in Russia, and people are buying it. There have been some horrible things that have taken place there, and I dare not share any examples on a site meant for all ages. It always makes me sad that there are people who can say that they are apart of something that is meant to be about love (Christianity) and do horrible things in the name of hate.

      • horseluver2498

        Posted by horseluver2498 on April 19, 2015 at 20:02

        noo that’s not actually true. I mean, the part about people hunting down gays is probably true, but the Church has never condoned that. Be careful about spreading stuff like that.

  6. ReaganthePK15

    Posted by ReaganthePK15 on March 29, 2015 at 18:43

    It’s really hard not to judge people as Christians. We are so rooted in what is right, that when someone does something wrong, we say SINNER!! But that’s not our place. God will convict them. It’s not our job. Be loving. Matthew 7:1-5 “Judge not, that you be not judged. For with the judgment you pronounce you will be judged, and with the measure you use it will be measured to you. Why do you see the speck that is in your brother’s eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye? Or how can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when there is the log in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother’s eye.

  7. Project Inspired

    Posted by cinnamon_stick on March 27, 2015 at 16:44

    I’m so glad you posted this to clear things up! I’ve heard so many different opinions about this song, it had me wondering myself. Thanks so much!

  8. marysetrueblood

    Posted by marysetrueblood on March 23, 2015 at 16:58

    That’s cool! I always interpreted the Church imagery as being symbolic for something one places a lot of faith in, and how the voice of the song must have misplaced it dangerously, likely into a painful relationship, until finally breaking free and loving without bounds. But that’s cool to know Hozier’s intent

    • wakeamy1995

      Posted by wakeamy1995 on March 29, 2015 at 11:26

      This isn’t Hozier’s intent in writing the song . He’s said in interviews that it’s about a gay couple and this songs purpose was to slam churches for their views on LGBT relationships.

  9. tmgaouette

    Posted by tmgaouette on March 22, 2015 at 19:27

    If you’re interested in Hozier’s “interpretation,” he’s done numerous interviews about this song, including this one. http://www.christianpost.com/news/singer-hozier-on-catholic-church-its-an-organization-of-men-its-not-about-faith-133880/ Blessings, TMG

  10. Project Inspired

    Posted by lemonade021 on March 22, 2015 at 06:09

    Wow, what an interesting look into a popular song. I’ll have to go back and listen to this one again more closely. Thanks for this.

  11. Project Inspired

    Posted by Soccerfan99 on March 20, 2015 at 20:00

    I read an interview with Hozier with him saying it was a gay song. It was a song about sex with a guy and a guy. About the relationship between one guy and another. I loved this song until I knew what it was about…sadly

    • happyitsestie

      Posted by happyitsestie on March 21, 2015 at 17:09

      I felt the exact same away and that’s why I don’t agree with this article. Im glad I looked into the back story of this song tho.. it opened my eyes 🙂

      • Project Inspired

        Posted by sustainia on March 22, 2015 at 09:21

        How does knowing what the song is really about make you disagree with the article? I think the article hit the issue right on the head- Hozier’s view of the church is that we are hateful- and that makes so much more sense when you realize what he’s contentious about us being hateful ABOUT. The church is so often so vicious and unaccepting when people come out as anything but straight, which is EXACTLY what he means by “i’ll tell you my sins and you can sharpen your knife,” which is precisely what the article was talking about. We should take all the hurt Hozier expresses here and realize that maybe condemning gay people (which, sadly, happens far too often) will turn them away from Jesus, while unconditionally loving them is the only way to draw them to the One who can redeem them.

    • Project Inspired

      Posted by coolkwekween on March 21, 2015 at 15:14

      I don’t think that the specifics of the relationship really change the meaning of the song.

      • Project Inspired

        Posted by sustainia on March 22, 2015 at 09:22

        Agreed. If anything, this article makes MORE sense in the light of what the song really means.