Sunday, June 12, 2011


Old Pine Street Presbyterian Church, Philadelphia

Remember summertime, Vacation Bible School? Kool - Aid, cookies, arts & crafts . . . or crabs, as six - year - old Ben referred to them that one summer when we sent him to the urban Presbyterian VBS, led by collegiate interns from Ohio who had come to the "mission field" of West Philadelphia to "minister" to our privileged children.

Crabs? We thought perhaps the summer curriculum included a unit on beach life, maybe some hermit crabs in a sand tank. But no, it was just dear little Ben's mispronunciation / misunderstanding of good ol' crafts, everybody's favorite! Macaroni necklaces, tissue paper butterflies, log cabins made out of Popsicle sticks, plaster hand prints.

When my sons got a bit older, they were the ministers, helping the tots with crabs, passing out tee-shirts, making huge batches of Rice Krispy Treats to distribute to the Bible School kids at Old Pine Presbyterian. Funny, we weren't Presbyterians, but somehow our Vacation Bible School experiences always seemed to be.

VBS -- mostly harmless. This cool song & video by Ben Folds is a kind of grown - up version. I like to play it in my car, driving past all those "parking lots, cracked and growing grass." Once it gets in my head, I can hum it for days without stopping, practically all summer long . . .


Music video by Ben Folds performing Jesusland.

Take a walk
out the gate you go and never stop
past all the stores and wig shops
quarter in a cup for every block
and watch the buildings grow
smaller as you go

Down the tracks
beautiful McMansions on a hill
that overlook a highway
with riverboat casinos and you still
have yet to see a soul


Town to town
broadcast to each house, they drop your name
but no one knows your face
Billboards quoting things you'd never say
you hang your head and pray

for Jesusland

Miles and miles
and the sun goin' down
Pulses glow
from their homes
You're not alone
Lights come on
as you lay your weary head on their lawn

Parking lots
cracked and growing grass you see it all
from offices to farms
crosses flying high above the malls
A longer walk

through Jesusland

on the CD, Songs for Silverman
by Ben Folds (b 1966)
American singer, song-writer, pianist

"Billboards quoting things you'd never say . . ."

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