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Songs of Sacrilege: What if God Was One of Us? by Joan Osborne

joan osborne

This is the one hundred eighty-fourth installment in the Songs of Sacrilege series. This is a series that I would like readers to help me with. If you know of a song that is irreverent towards religion, makes fun of religion, pokes fun at sincerely held religious beliefs, or challenges the firmly held religious beliefs of others, please send me an email.

Today’s Song of Sacrilege is What if God Was One of Us? by Joan Osborne.

Video Link

Lyrics

If God had a name what would it be?
And would you call it to his face?
If you were faced with Him in all His glory
What would you ask if you had just one question?

And yeah, yeah, God is great
Yeah, yeah, God is good
And yeah, yeah, yeah-yeah-yeah

What if God was one of us?
Just a slob like one of us
Just a stranger on the bus
Tryin’ to make his way home?

If God had a face what would it look like?
And would you want to see if, seeing meant
That you would have to believe in things like heaven
And in Jesus and the saints, and all the prophets?

And yeah, yeah, God is great
Yeah, yeah, God is good
And yeah, yeah, yeah-yeah-yeah

What if God was one of us?
Just a slob like one of us
Just a stranger on the bus
Tryin’ to make his way home?

Just tryin’ to make his way home
Like back up to heaven all alone
Nobody callin’ on the phone
‘Cept for the Pope maybe in Rome
And yeah, yeah, God is great
Yeah, yeah, God is good
And yeah, yeah, yeah-yeah-yeah
What if God was one of us?
Just a slob like one of us
Just a stranger on the bus
Tryin’ to make his way home?
Just tryin’ to make his way home
Like a holy rolling stone
Back up to heaven all alone
Just tryin’ to make his way home
Nobody callin’ on the phone
‘Cept for the Pope maybe in Rome

 

Series Navigation<< Songs of Sacrilege: Craig by Stephen LynchSongs of Sacrilege: I’ll Follow You Into the Dark by Death Cab For Cutie >>

3 Comments

  1. ObstacleChick

    Christian’s think God was one of us as Jesus, but was he really? As a miracle-worker whose dad/self was God, he couldn’t totally relate. Had he been stripped of all supernatural powers then perhaps he could have understood what it is to be human.

  2. Brian Vanderlip

    This song doesn’t ‘make fun’, Thomas Skinner. Please state why you choose those words? The song, as I read it, looks at the idea of God/Jesus as a person, a lonely soul, I’d say, from my reading. It uses the metaphor of the bus, the journey home and the human condition. It is included in the series because it doesn’t properly revere/worship in true IFB blind compliance but dares to look beyond shallow worship. It is not a traditional hymn at all and therefore the work of the devil (by rigid religious standards).
    If Jesus walked the earth a few thousand years ago, he might have travelled on a bus, the Donkey Line, I would surmise and he would have been in line at the rest stops for a pee and tea and might have chatted with fellow travellers; it sure seems like that is human behavior which falls within a norm.
    The words, “…yeah yeah God is great, God is good…” are quite provocative for me because I hear them as Osborne’s exhortation to allow humanity even in the concept of God and further perhaps to understand that humanity itself is great and good. Can you see my point here? As I do not believe in God(s), I find that the exhortations of faith in the great nothing in the sky are misplaced and that the greatness and goodness of humankind might be more and more evident as we begin to respect humanity and not accuse it, shame and blame it into needing a magical cure. (Not sure if this perception is Osborne’s or my own impsed view…)We might sit, a slob trying to make our way home from another long day at the factory of workaday life. We might experience loneliness and fatigue and nobody calling us on the phone.
    At any rate, the song rates a place here, I think but to say it ‘makes fun’? I don’t think so. (Nor do I think that much of the canon called sacreligious, ‘makes fun’…. quite the opposite.
    Does that speak to your question above, at all?

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Bruce Gerencser