Hozier’s single, Take Me to Church, is 21st century blues with passionate vocals, pointed lyrics, and floating harmonies. Straight from Ireland, Hozier has been sweeping the European charts and is starting to gain a strong following in the US.
Song Review of Take Me To Church by Hozier
At the song’s core, it’s the cry of a man rejecting the hypocrisy of church, opting instead for the love of a significant other. When organized religion creates more burden than it gives hope, the man in the song gives up on church and decides physical pleasure is the next best thing. Even in a song that depicts church as a loveless religion, we can listen between the lines for spiritual lessons about ourselves, God, and the kind of church most people are really looking for.
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
Hozier – Take Me To Church
On the surface, the chorus seems to be a grand mockery of religion, comparing spiritual worship to the mindless obedience of a dog. Take me to church/ I’ll worship like a dog at the shrine of your lies. We can either take offense at Hozier’s assessment of church, or we can open our minds and glean insight from his critique.
Honestly, Hozier is simply identifying a problem: loveless religion. Jaded by his experience of church, Hozier becomes the mouthpiece of a generation, looking for love and disillusioned by organized religion. He sings of a church bound by rigid rules and no inspiration; hypocrisy and no authenticity; judgment and no freedom. The truth is—this is the church that most of the world sees, feels, and experiences. If we don’t agree with that perception, then it’s our responsibility change it.
So, what do I think of Hozier’s critique of church? Well… Right problem. Wrong solution.
3 Truths to Remember When Religion Goes Wrong
Truth #1 – All people are looking for love. God makes that plain in this verse in Proverbs.
What a person desires is unfailing love;
better to be poor than a liar.
Truth #2 – Love comes from God. Hozier’s solution to loveless religion is to replace God with physical intimacy. But there is a part of us that can only be satisfied by a relationship with God. The love of a man or woman simply cannot take that spot. Just because our experience with church has proved unfulfilling, abandoning God for something physical will only leave us emptier inside.
1 You, God, are my God,
earnestly I seek you;
I thirst for you,
my whole being longs for you,
in a dry and parched land
where there is no water.
2 I have seen you in the sanctuary
and beheld your power and your glory.
3 Because your love is better than life,
my lips will glorify you.
Truth #3 – Hypocrisy is a real problem. Hypocrisy exists in church because there is hypocrisy in the people who go to church. That’s a truth that most of us know and that musicians often vocalize. Let’s face our own hypocrisy so we can root it out.
That’s a fine looking high horse
What you got in the stable?
Hozier – Take Me To Church
41 “Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye?… You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.
Take Me To Church
What’s interesting is that Hozier self-identifies as being Christian. In fact, he explicitly states in an interview that Take Me to Church is “not an attack on faith… [It’s] a man’s struggle to find his own identity in an oppressive culture of church.”
To me, Hozier reflects the sentiment of a generation that is looking for something to believe in. Real love, not empty words. God isn’t the problem. Neither is the kind of church we learn about from the Bible. Loveless religion changes when we live lives that make God attractive, build relationships that feel like family, and do good in our own communities. Now that’s real church.