I had never heard of this before. It seems a Christian musician by the name of Chris Rice wrote a song way back in 1989, mocking the tendency of some Christians to co-opt popular culture in the silliest of ways. The subject of his song: cartoon characters who find their own unique ways to say “hallelujah”.
Much to Rice’s surprise, the song became a hit, and some people took it very seriously, one way or the other, and after allowing himself to be coerced into recording and performing it for 15 years, he finally “retired” the song in 2004. Three years later, he posted a eulogy for the song on his website, and as bizarre as his experience was, I have to say his story rings all too true.
Here is an unauthorized video that someone made for his song:
Click here if the video file above doesn’t play properly.
Now, I can’t be too critical of this sort of thing, since I have fond memories of reading Al Hartley‘s Christian Archie comics when I was a kid — though I must say it was a bit weird when I started reading the mainstream Archie comics and I wondered why the characters weren’t talking about the Bible any more.
On the other hand, it’s not too hard to understand why people living in the evangelical ghetto missed the point of Rice’s satire, when you come across hideous examples of pop-culture co-opting such as this video, which an e-pal pointed out to some friends and me just last week. People really do do this sort of thing, apparently without irony, so it probably shouldn’t be too shocking when they miss the irony in other people’s satires of this sort of thing.
Hat tip to Jerry Beck for the Chris Rice info. Fascinating.