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Saturday, September 10, 2005

Neil Young Performs "When God Made Me" on "Shelter From the Storm: A Concert for the Gulf Coast"

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Neil Young and Fisk University Jubilee Choir

On last night's "Shelter From the Storm: A Concert for the Gulf Coast" Neil Young performed the song "When God Made Me" from the forthcoming Prairie Wind CD.

Similar to the performance of the song at the Live 8 Benefit concert in July, the lyrics of "When God Made Me" seemed to be poignantly prescient.

Did he give me the gift of voice
so some could silence me?
Did he give me the gift of vision
not knowing what I might see?
Did he give me the gift of compassion
to help my fellow man?

When God made me.

(Complete lyrics and analysis for "When God Made Me".)

And just as Young's performing of John Lennon's "Imagine" for the 9/11 "Tribute" and the new song's debut at Live 8 concert, the performance has incited passions.

Here's a comment posted on Thrasher's Wheat by Peter V.:
"A beautiful song, lyrics and melody, which embodies the heartfelt surge that is mounting in America's conscience to challenge the overbearing sentiments of the religious right that have been choking the compassion of this country. This song fills my heart with hope that once again we will know that the power of God is love."

And Goodlife said:
"Hearing "When God Made Me" caused me to flip on the computer and "google" looking for the lyrics. I am a believer ... but not a part of the fundamentalist right. This is a song which touches my inner spirit. I hope many will hear its message, and think deeply about who they are underneath the encumberances of their everyday life."

Of course not everyone is pleased when rock stars venture into the debate on religion. Tim Graham posts on NewsBusters:
"Are rock stars trying to give us lectures as they sing on hurricane-relief benefits? Last night's mega-channel concert featured Neil Young sang his song "When God Made Me." The lyrics clearly show Young thinks that the problem with religion is that God tends to favor people who believe he exists. That, and religion is the reason for too many bloody wars. Some compare it to John Lennon's "Imagine," but Lennon wants no God, and Young just thinks He might be a Unitarian Universalist."

From Church of the Churchless:
"The way I see “When God Made Me,” it offers a glimpse of how much better religions would be if their focus was on asking questions that didn’t have ready-made dogmatic answers.

I’m going to make it the Church of the Churchless theme song."

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More on the Shelter From the Storm Concert and broadcast photos.


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13 Comments:

At 9/11/2005 12:24:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

This song really makes you think why you are in this world.....We are in this world for a noble purpose...and God had a very good reason to make you see your life in this world. We better start looking at our neighbors and help whoever needs help.

 
At 9/12/2005 05:59:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

yes, its okay to talk about God and we have the right to speak of Him freely, but when you speak so freely about Him, you'd better be speaking truth. I am afraid Mr. Young has it all wrong. God is not who we want Him to be, He is who He says He is. This song seems to be a picture of what liberals hope God is. Get a clue.

 
At 9/13/2005 12:10:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

"God is not who we want Him to be, He is who He says He is."

So, you don't have the right to speak freely about God, unless you know the truth. Who has the "truth" on God?

Certainly, you don't. I do like how you reacted to this wonderful song by using it as a way to get those pesky "liberals".

When He was saying who He is, did He say anything about condoning such behavior?

When He made you, did He give you the gift of compassion to help your fellow man?

I think not.

 
At 9/16/2005 03:01:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Please pay attention to the song. It is all questions. He is asking questions. He is not saying who God is. That is a problem most people are so interested in what they plan to say next they forget to open their ears and eyes. Or maybe they are just so slelf centered they do not care what was said ( or sang) anyway.

 
At 9/17/2005 06:17:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

im totally speechless, very powerful song.

 
At 10/12/2005 03:42:00 AM, Anonymous dave said...

Gay here, and having issues with family and my other halfs family, this song made me feel good, raised catholic, I will stay catholic, even thou I cant take commion, but a nurse, save lives, and then a mental health nurse, and save lives, its not a life, and does not pay well, but God Choose Me, and I accept that and makes me feel good when I help people, thats rich, great song, i will buy the new CD

 
At 10/12/2005 03:57:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

the song, God made me, well god made adam and eve, but even the right wing christens have and are going overboad saying if you dont believe in Christ you wont be saved, thats getting kinda crazy, I believe in God, I really dont think hes evil, to put faiths at war, its 2005, he did grant free will, lets not be stupid about it

 
At 10/12/2005 04:21:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I like neil young, I'm 47 years old
read some postings above, it our god our no god, well niels god is ok, dont eat pork or crawfish, be a morman hvae several undrage wifes, dont divorce or blood tranfusions let your child die, per a jehova, be a boy scout leader, keep gays out, but have BTK on yourside, a true leader of boy scouts, you dont see them bitchin about seiail killers, it time to look and learn, take care of your own and save some tax dollars

 
At 11/12/2005 03:23:00 AM, Blogger Greg Mantho said...

As regards "When God made Me", for starters, let's cope with the comment: "God is not Who we want Him to Be, He Is Who He says He Is" (grammatical edits mine). I agree, God is not Who we want Him to Be. However, neither is God a "He", but an "It"- sorry, two thousand years later we are ready to embrace something other than the childish notion of a parent/child relationship. Literal interpretations of biblical depictions notwithstanding, no one can lay claim to the knowledge of Who God Is. To date, God has not whispered in my ear, nor do I suspect He has whispered in the ears of any contemporary of note, and if He has, surely we are unaware.

Next, the comment: "He is asking questions". Exactly. All you Neil Young fans out there, are you always so sure of the distinction between the persona adopted, as against Neil's real sentiments? Like the "Support Our War" slogan from Greendale, "When God made me..." is tailor made to evoke the very sentiments, polar opposites and everything in between, enunciated in all the posts previous to mine.

Excellent, we are all thinking! Just what Neil was hoping for. My suspicion is that Neil is leaning toward a more "liberal" interpretation of religiosity, and it's juxtaposition to current events, but suspicions are just that.

I especially like this comment: "This song really makes you think why you are in this world... We are in this world for a noble purpose...and God had a very good reason to make you see your life in this world." This is so beautiful, and exactly the instigation of my most private thoughts, and maybe Neil's I suspect. Just a guess of course, but I bet it's got you thinking. Thinking- it always gets back to thinking...

If "When God Made Me" serves as a stimulus to soul searching, a purpose has been served, regardless of Neil's intent. I think he's fine with it. Greg

 
At 11/12/2005 03:31:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

God,Heaven,Jesus? Who and what are they? God said I am the Alpha and the Omaga, the one who was and the one who is. Rev.1:8. Jesus said I am the first and the last. I am him who died but has risen. Rev.1:17. Heaven and who will go there? The Bible says, for God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten son that who so ever beleives on him should not perish, but have everlasting life.John 3:16. Jesus said, I am the way the truth and the light. No man comes to the Father (in Heaven) but by me!! How? Jesus told a very religious fellow of his day named Nicodimos not to marvel but that he must be born again to enter heaven. God's word also tells us that with the heart a man believes unto rightness with God and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. This old world seems so bent on twisting God's truth but never the less His word stands. Satan is alive and well today as yesterday and still the author of all lies. Dear friends do not be deceived. Jesus was a love gift and our only way to heaven. All religions can not be right! Only one. The choise is ours to make. Paul said in his letter to the Galations, I marvel that you are so soon removed from that which I have taught you unt another gospel, which is not a nother but some would pervert the truth.But I say to you, Even if an angel should preach anything other than what I have taught you let him be accursed. Very strong words.Jesus says, behold, I stand at the door and knock (door of our hearts) if any one will open the door I will enter! God bless each of you folks and may you find the peace that only Jesus can deliver. Neal Smith Alex. Va.

 
At 2/18/2006 10:48:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

AMEN NEAL

 
At 3/08/2009 11:35:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Awesome song! Is there more than one valid way to worship God? I believe so. And franky, I live the words and philosophy of Christ more fully than most fundamentalists I know. Sadly, the majority of extremist, be they Christians, Muslim, or Jewish would say "No. There is only one way, and I know 'the way' because of my interpretation of the Bible, Koran, or Torah) This is the type of intolerance our soldiers are fighting against in Afganistan. The only reason fundamentalists don't impose their form of dictatorship in the USA is because they are barred from doing so by the Constitution, and because, so far at least, we are a plural enough society to not tolerate it.

 
At 6/02/2009 07:13:00 AM, Anonymous dr dip said...

"SEX,POLITICS AND RELIGION"...The three taboo topics to bring up in the good ole' Land of the Free'
Obviously, thats not the land of the free(dom) of speech,heh.

 

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