I danced on a Friday when the sun turned black

it’s hard to dance with the devil on your back

At last a portrayal of Jesus that is theologically reputable. Here we don’t have violence and abuse written into the system as necessary or even desirable. The idea of God the Father, in control, allowing the abuse like an incompetent LNP Prime Minister has always shocked and saddened me at a gut level but this song sees it differently.

“The devil” is trying to repress the dance. Jesus in this song is “emotionally intelligent” in a way usually associated with women. He is trying to dance, trying to survive, keeping the positivity alive for others in his suffering. It’s only a metaphor, but a strong one for Australia in 2021.

Grace Tame. Brittany Higgins. Dhanya Mani. And the poor brave soul who tried to live with her emotional wounds after a rape and mockery and abandonment by her colleagues and superiors. Suicide is a word that attempts to put responsibility back on an individual for complex and painful situations. Jesus was bullied to death by the Roman Empire and this woman was bullied to death by a toxic and misogynist government, a petty but hurtful bunch of tyrants.

She didn’t kill herself straight away, oh she tried to dance with a devil on her back. Jesus did not die immediately, he had to endure abandonment, mocking, various forms of physical and psychological torture and even the moral torture of “your work has achieved nothing” but his last words “it is accomplished” were defiant. People argue over which words in the gospel the historical Jesus actually said and which (probably most of them) were scripted in later by the community. What of it? The community is putting defiance into the mouth of Jesus and thus proving him right. When we carry on the hopeless and yet hope-building struggle against men’s violence, rich people’s entitlement, social and economic injustice we are proving that Jesus’ work touched and liberated us, called us out, inspired us (and not in a soppy social media way).

Meanwhile two beloved little girls are still growing up in detention. Corona virus still affects the poor more than the rich. The Australian government has once again reduced welfare payments which puts a burden on families and literally starves those who have no family. It also makes it harder for small business to survive.

We haven’t learned from the pandemic (predicted by scientists since the 80s) or from the bushfires and coal mining, fracking and buying too much shit is still the main basis of our society. The militarism of absolutely everywhere is increasing. South Australia is “celebrating” that we will make weapons to incite wars all over the world, making the refugees we don’t want to take in. The nuclear dump keeps being slipped back onto the table for discussion. Black lives are still overwhelmingly arrested, tortured, put to death like a certain carpenter’s son we were talking about a moment ago.

Smaller hurts like insecure work and wage theft also slowly break us.

It’s hard to dance.

It’s hard to dance.

It’s hard to dance.

Let’s acknowledge the pain and hardship but

Let’s dance

Here are a few more

and probably my favourite

I have a shoulder injury. I “dance” by just listening to the music and being unapologetic for existing.

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