July 13, 2012

A Loose Interpretation of Something Augustine of Hippo May Have Once Said

Those Lavender Whales released Tomahawk of Praise in January, earlier this year, via the label co-managed by band member Aaron Graves, but even a season later, I was too captivated by one of their songs not to write the album up. The song title in question? "A Loose Interpretation of Something Augustine of Hippo May Have Once Said". Pretty great, right? The band's whimsical pop-folk is well suited to his interpretation of what Augustine may have said; "the church is a whore, but she is my mother". Graves explains the song:
That song is about a quote that is often credited to St. Augustine that says "The church is a whore, but she is my mother." It's actually unknown whether it was him or someone else who just made it up. A preacher at a church in Nashville I used to go to used to use that quote occasionally (believe it or not) and I always thought it was kind of a perfect description of church. Then that got me thinking of all the ways that God, Jesus, the church, and regular people are described throughout the Bible with family ties. Like Jesus is the "groom", the church is the "bride", but the church is made up of people who are "brothers & sisters in Christ" and "children of God." God is the Father, but if the Trinity is equal then God=Jesus and that means all of God's children are marrying his Son and if he is more or less an equal part of his son then God's wife is the Church which is made up of his children meaning the church is our mother, which I guess could mean we're our own mother. it can get wacky and incestuous quick, so that song is just playing around with that idea, and was spawned by that quote that could have been said by St. Augustine (who's a really interesting dude in and of himself). I don't know if all that interests you or not, but that's kind of the explanation of that song. not really a ton to do with Mr. Augustine of Hippo, but, oh well.
The history of the Catholic Church is a fascinating cache of these sort of overlapping frameworks for talking about people and important figures in relation to itself. Being more than a thousand years old, the church has run a lot of different PR campaigns and sometimes the narratives mix! Good fun.

MP3: Those Lavender Whales - A Loose Interpretation of Something Augustine of Hippo May Have Once Said
You can buy Tomahawk of Praise from Fork & Spoon Records or direct from the band's bandcamp.

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