Pixelated Commentary

Thank you for kind words about my first crack at this project. Here is some background on the lyrics of pixelated.

Since the last time I’ve seriously written music, I’ve embraced the idea of being a young theoligian – optimistic, pragmatic, and thoroughly ecclesial. I have found myself drawn to the recent movement of indie music with outright religious or spiritual undetones (see Arcade Fire, Sufjan Stevens, Annuals, etc). I feel as if songs of my early days were born out of life. I feel like my songs now are born out of intellectual stimulus.

That said, Broken Social Scene has failed to capture me lyrically on most occasions. The only thing that I chose to project from BSS lyrics to mine was a sense of self-realization visa vis simple perception. BSS it not overtly religious (save some Hindu themes in Kevin Drew’s Spirit If…) so the spiritual vocabulary is solely mine.

I have wrestled in the past couple years as a Protestant minister with the idea of confession. When Tim and Paul and I lived in St. Paul I spent quite a bit of time (unannounced) in the St. Paul cathedral. The door were virtually always open, so I would often sit, pray, read, or unwind in the beautiful building. I would watch people file in and out during confessional hours and find myself jealous. I wanted to enter into the booth and be transparent, as if it would offer a release for my faulty “It’s My God and I” faith. I have yet to come up with a healthy, practical form of Protestant confessional for myself or those who I serve.

That is what Pixelated is really about. The first verse is about how many of us, including myself, walk heavily up the stairs each night with regrets and guilt for ‘unloading’ (insert your sin here – sloth, envy, greed, lust, hatred), all of which, when unconfessed, pixelates us to a mere shadow of ourselves  as image bearers of the divine. “The second step” refers to the two steps into the St. Paul cathedral through it’s west doors. I would regularly remember my baptism in their water basins inside the door. But I imagine that the step would be rather difficult if I was headed to confessional.

The ‘ghost is in’ refers to the Holy Ghost in the confessional booth. “Pass by your fellow being” refers to faces I remember walking into the confessional booths. You see the problem with us Protestants is that our model of confessional is deeply personal. ‘I will confess my sins to God and he will relieve them and all with by back to normal.’ Part of what fascinates me about Catholic confessional is that I could walk out of confessional and have to make eye-contact with a friend or enemy and they would know something about me: “He has sin worth confessing.” Perhaps we all need to embrace the idea of ‘hanging or head’ a little more. Not to beat ourselves up, but so that we can see our self and our maker without pixilation.

That my story. Does it change how you listen to the song?


1 Comment

  1. Yes, I do listen to the song differently. I love it. Partially, because I have a unique perspective on exactly what you are talking about. I loved those experiences on Dayton Ave. We’d usually end the day with some NHL 2002 and some harassment from the neighbors because they were drunk/high/crunk.

    In regards to your other comments, it does seem like so much judgement comes along with making a confession in the protestant church. I’m not sure what catholic’s think, but as an outsider it seems that this judgement is not such a concern. I’m open to being wrong on what I just said. I’m not in love with the verbage of “hanging our head” but I love the concept. No one has the right to label themselves as greater than another person, because we all have skelatons in our closet. Therefore, we don’t need to hang our heads because no one is greater than another.

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