Sweet Sacrilege

I’ve always regarded music as food for your soul.  The right melody can pull you into a storm of nostalgia that evoke feelings of happiness, grief, and moments that are forever etched into your heart.  Every now and then though, you encounter a tune that runs through your veins like an unquenchable wildfire and burns straight through the depths of your being; “Take me to Church” is one such song.  The moment the first chord landed, Hozier‘s masterpiece sank its hooks into my heart and I knew there was no escaping his words until the journey was done.


For me, this song speaks volumes of the upbringing I endured, on so many levels.  I was born and raised Catholic and found myself surrounded by an environment that wouldn’t let me experience life without careful, assertive direction and criticism.  From day one, my pastor and Sunday School teachers made it clear to me that man was born flawed and was required to spend the entirety of their life atoning for sins committed by his predecessors.  As a child I was brought to tears by those charged with guiding my spiritual maturity.  I recall one morning in Sunday School, when the teacher was actually “educating” a room full of children about the concept of Hell, which awaited those who were not good.  Despite my age, my upset knew no bounds and I questioned her repeatedly on why it was that God already condemned me for acts I had not committed, by threatening me with burning for literally all of eternity?  I went on to present her the hypothetical situation of if I had died right there, would I then go to hell since I had not had time to make up for fighting with my brother the week before?  I asked her about really old people who had Alzheimer’s and couldn’t even remember the purported sins of their youth; would the afterlife still punish them for the Church’s imagined slights?  How could a loving God, do that to an old man who might find mundane acts like walking, challenging and sometimes even painful?

Going to church provided no respite, despite everything I was told.  The reason I even went, besides making my Mother happy, was because even then, I knew I was different and had questions.  It was only years later, I understood that my difference was that I was gay.  I struggled and searched endlessly for an answer as to why I was made like this.  What had I done in my small time on this planet, that would invoke the wrath of God so much that He punished me with emotions and thoughts that were so decidedly different from society around me?  As I grew older and was able to find a small bit of comfort in understanding what being homosexual meant, I realized the disenfranchisement I experienced with religion wouldn’t stop there.  Nearly everywhere I turned, I found people looking down on the “lifestyle” they believed I had chosen.  Because ANYONE, would willingly choose to be ostracized and suffer the indignities gay people endured back then.  Yeah, that makes sense.  I found myself again at odds with another type of organized community and this one was not bound by the limitations of a Sunday congregation.  This was every day, every night; and this?  Was my life.


Assaulted from every side, I learned simply to exist, function and survive.  I was never really comfortable in my own skin though and felt compelled to hide everything I was or could be, in the fear that any act I committed wouldn’t fall perfectly in line with societal standards imposed on me.  I deeply buried who I was and created a facade of behavior that was acceptable and could find commonalities with practically anybody I encountered.  I even gave this guy a name: Tony.

It was a pretty sad existence.


And then, there was the moment I met the man who would one day be my husband.  In the accepted haze of hypocrisy and scrutiny that I learned to navigate through, he came into my life like a wave of undeniable realization.  I had boxed up so much of who I was in self-inflicted walls that I had forgotten that all this time it was “Tony” wearing Xander’s face and living Xander’s life.  He found all the broken pieces of who I would be and put them back together with nothing more than a smile.  It was then that I found a new place to come home to.  My husband accepted me for who I was and gave me the courage to live my life genuinely and without apologies.  I found strength in his arms and in doing so, found my own.  I am never more free to be me, than when it’s just him and I, against the world.

I found a new place of worship: Love.

My lover’s got humour
She’s the giggle at a funeral
Knows everybody’s disapproval
I should’ve worshipped her sooner

If the heavens ever did speak
She’s the last true mouthpiece
Every Sunday’s getting more bleak
A fresh poison each week

“We were born sick” you heard them say it

My church offers no absolutes
She tells me “Worship in the bedroom”
The only heaven I’ll be sent to
Is when I’m alone with you

I was born sick
But I love it
Command me to be well
Aaay. Amen. Amen. Amen.

[Chorus 2x:]
Take me to church
I’ll worship like a dog at the shrine of your lies
I’ll tell you my sins and you can sharpen your knife
Offer me that deathless death
Good God, let me give you my life

If I’m a pagan of the good times
My lover’s the sunlight
To keep the Goddess on my side
She demands a sacrifice

Drain the whole sea
Get something shiny
Something meaty for the main course
That’s a fine-looking high horse
What you got in the stable?
We’ve a lot of starving faithful

That looks tasty
That looks plenty
This is hungry work

[Chorus 2x:]
Take me to church
I’ll worship like a dog at the shrine of your lies
I’ll tell you my sins so you can sharpen your knife
Offer me my deathless death
Good God, let me give you my life

No masters or kings
When the ritual begins
There is no sweeter innocence than our gentle sin

In the madness and soil of that sad earthly scene
Only then I am human
Only then I am clean
Ooh oh. Amen. Amen. Amen.

[Chorus 2x:]
Take me to church
I’ll worship like a dog at the shrine of your lies
I’ll tell you my sins and you can sharpen your knife
Offer me that deathless death
Good God, let me give you my life…

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