“God is a Middle-Aged Woman” was originally recorded by Ezra Furman and the Harpoons and released on their 2007 album “Banging Down the Doors.” Ezra Furman was 21 years old at the time. You can listen to the original version here. My interpretation of the song is different.
This song always astonished me, partly because of the youth of its composer and partly because of its depth and wisdom. Without ever having consulted Ezra Furman, I believe this song is a meditation on the relationship between the divine and the profane, between the deity and mortals, between God and believers in God.
Here are my comments:
God is a middle-aged woman
With planets for earrings and international date lines
At the corners of her eyes
Comment: Why can’t we think about God as a woman? God is certainly beyond being hemmed in by the construct of being a middle-aged man with glowing robes and a beard sitting on a throne somewhere in the clouds. God, as the deity described in the New and Old Testaments, is beyond our knowledge and understanding. God is described very differently in other faith traditions. Isn’t it possible that God can be manifested in many different forms? Isn’t it possible that God visited our planet more times than has been recorded in the Bible and visited people outside the Middle East?
She’s thinkin’ ’bout remarriage
To a guy she recently met
And hasn’t even asked out on a date
Comment: Americans live in a pretty irreligious, even sectarian society. The people who most loudly espouse their faith, in my opinion, have not thoughtfully read the Bible. Too many God-followers are arrogant, willing to shape their idea of God according to preordained beliefs. After watching shenanigans like this over the past few years, it would be no wonder if God were re-thinking the relationship between herself and her believers.
Okay, to be perfectly honest
He’s never even spoken to her
He barely even knows she exists
Comment: How many people actually pray to their God? Not many! If so, many devoutly religious people can vote for a man like Donald Trump, we as a nation are clearly in a spiritual crisis. We do not know the God in whom we profess faith and, what’s worse, we are not interested because it could make us, gasp, uncomfortable.
But hey, God is really shy
She doesn’t like confrontations
And she’s not so young anymore
Comment: So, how many times as God visited us on Earth? Not many! Maybe God is over-the-hill and not feeling as relevant anymore. She’s not young, hot, or sexy. She’s not a Kardashian. She can’t fill a stadium and have people absolutely lose their minds like at a concert. The pope may be viewed with reverence, but he doesn’t create the religious intensity of this, this, or this.
It’s been hard since Jeremy left her
Sometimes it seems so pointless
Like she’s unloveable
Comment: Quick, TMZ: who’s this “Jeremy?” Is it Jeremy Renner? Jeremy Irons? Jeremy Lin? Jeremy Piven? Or is “Jeremy” just a straw man for a wider discontent among atheists, agnostics, and Unitarians? Have we turned our back on God, like an unfaithful lover?
But I, I love her very much
I love the way she looks
And I just want her to be happy
Comment: Yes, there are people who love God just the way she is. They are in communion with the divine.
I wish I could talk some sense
Into her troubled head
Full of beautiful grey hair
Comment: As a practitioner of the dark arts known as public relations, I understand that some people think God needs a makeover to appeal to the younger crowd. Maybe get some God-related quizzes on Buzzfeed? Maybe get Adele, Harry Styles, John Legend, and Beyonce to record some Gregorian chant. Srsly?
But I, I am only human
But maybe that’s just it
Maybe that’s just what she needs
Comment: Do you really think that God needs us? God does not need us. Maybe God just wants us to get over ourselves and just be kind to each other. And maybe in that kindness, we will find the spark of the divine that dwells in each of us.