George Romero, Showbread, and Being Married

Warning: post uses Zombie imagery. If that grosses you out then too bad or don’t read it.
Note: I do not write this post to secretly reveal any personal problems, but only to reflect upon the nature of marriage, a favorite song, and the Biblical text.

One of my favorite bands since 2004 has been Showbread.
One of my favorite songs by them is titled George Romero Will Be At Our Wedding.
They have a tendency (or Josh Porter, their lead singer does) to use the macabre and the bizarre to tell stories with deeper meanings.

Here are the lyrics to the song mentioned above (the emboldened lyrics will commented on below):

I was looking for you when I first heard the sirens
The ambulances filled the streets
The masses screamed and called for help
You were no where next to me
The soldiers came to round up the living
And take them away to somewhere that’s safe
But if I cant find you there’s no place to save me
If you are gone then its too late

Night turns to dawn, and dawn into day
And the land overflows with the dead
Where did I last hold you in my arms?
What was the last thing that you said?
Some hide underground, others hide in a mall
I still drag myself through the streets
A life without love my love isn’t a life to me

I don’t believe that love can rot away
So first aim for the heart, then aim for the head

I wept bitterly and then I threw up 
Something silver washed up in my lap 
This metal thing, your wedding ring 
Brought all of the memories back 
I remember the bite, and breaking my teeth 
I remember choking it down 
Eating your fingers one at a time 
I left most of you there on the ground 

And it’s there that I find you, just as you were left
Writhing you rise to your feet
You come back to my side with very few insides
They’re still strewn about on the street

I have heard it said that love endures all things
And now I know that its true
Stronger than the grave, death cant put it out
Here I am, the walking dead, still next to you

I don’t believe that love can rot away
So first aim for the heart then aim for the head
If true love last forever, then love doesn’t die
It just becomes the living dead.

 

The thing about being married is that (if Christian doctrine is true) every time somebody gets married a sinner promises things to a sinner. Paul make a comment in Galatians about Christians who judge one another on the basis of misunderstanding the Old Testament and exclaims, “But if you bite and devour one another, watch out that you are not consumed by one another.  (Gal 5:15)” This is a real possibility in any relationship, but especially in marriage. In no other typical friendship or institution are people required by proximity and promise to be so intimate. And when people who have secrets, sinful habits, weird habits, or contrary habits live together (that’s anybody who is married by the way), then they run the risk of devouring one another with judgmental behavior and selfishness.

Show bread noted:

I wept bitterly and then I threw up
Something silver washed up in my lap
This metal thing, your wedding ring
Brought all of the memories back
I remember the bite, and breaking my teeth
I remember choking it down
Eating your fingers one at a time
I left most of you there on the ground

I think, without being facetious, though certainly intending the humour implied in the analogy, that marriage can be this way. You have to work hard at putting certain things to death in yourself or those things will kill the very person you promised to love the most. Paul notes this later in Galatians about Christians, regardless of how they view the law they are people who “have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires (Galatians 5:24).” This verse can be translated as “those who belong to Christ crucify the flesh with its passions and desires.”* Either way, the point is that unless we kill off our own sinfulness we could easily turn a simple dispute over cooking, cleaning, or finances into a marriage killing and spiritually deadening force. But there is hope: the love of God never fails. In calling upon the love of God as our example in marriage, we can apologize, forgive, and ultimately hope for the resurrection of marriage and of our own selves in this life and in the age to come. The guys from Showbread symbolize this with a man realizing the horror of his actions after seeing his wife’s wedding ring. He goes back for her and they both (in the timeline of the Romero movies this makes sense because the song takes place during Land of the Dead wherein the Zombies begin to re-civilize) remember their vows, regain their humanity, and move on with their lives.

*One could take ἐσταύρωσαν as a Gnomic aorist. In the context of Paul describing the life of Christians as a battle against those very desires, this understanding seems to win on the rhetorical effectiveness it possesses. But I have never seen a translation take it that way and only one commentary (Ben Witherington’s) mentions it and even then he cites Burton who calls it an inceptive aorist, which carries roughly the same idea.

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