One of Us by Joan Osbourne

I came across this link today. I used to find this song catchy, but when I listen to it I wonder whether it is anti-Catholic? It doesn’t cause me to doubt my faith or God, and it poses interesting ideas…but if it is degrading to God or Jesus, then I really don’t want to listen to it anymore. Thanks for your thoughts.

I very much enjoyed that song! These are just my impressions from two listenings.

I can’t see how it can be called “anti-Catholic”, as if it were mocking or criticising Catholicism. It seems to me be a questioner looking at Jesus and saying “What if God were one of us?”. She’s not sure that she believes, but she is attracted to the idea.

She goes even further than that, seeing Jesus in strangers (which is very good theology!), and (maybe) in prophets and saints, and the Pope in Rome. So, as a secular “questioning” song, I like it very much.

The line “a slob like one of us” is questionable, and I would prefer it were not there, but even then there’s something in it. It’s a reasonable depiction of the human condition that Jesus entered into (although he definitely is not a “slob” himself!).

So, IMHO it is definitely not “anti-Catholic”.

I would recommend that you continue to enjoy the song, without worrying about it :slight_smile:

~ Edmundus

Many people focus in on that “slob” line, but I never saw anything wrong with it.

I always thought that what she was driving at was this: supposing Jesus was back on Earth, how would we greet him? If Jesus chose to appear to is in rags, how would that alter the way we would treat him?

Matthew 25:40: “The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’

So, in one sense at least, not only is it OK to ask, “what if” Jesus was a “slob,” but in fact, Jesus is that “slob.” For whatever you do for him/her, you do for God.

Thanks VeritasLuxMea. Very good insights.

I always had trouble with the ‘slob like one of us’ line…it felt-maybe-disrespectful to Jesus? But I see your point! I like how you brought up that you can listen to it as a theological lesson, not a disparagement of God.

Absolutely! What a thought-to us Christians, Jesus IS that stranger on the bus trying to make their way home, and we are supposed to be Christ to them also. Love it!

It’s funny to me that, over the years, this song still elicits new threads on CAF every now and then. :stuck_out_tongue: This song came out back when I was in high school! :eek: :wink:

This song never struck me as overtly anti-Catholic, just a tad silly. Um, God already was “one of us.” His name is Jesus! :stuck_out_tongue:

Yeah, there’s been like 10 threads on this song.

This song never struck me as overtly anti-Catholic, just a tad silly.

I do find it silly, too, for whatever reason.

Um, God already was “one of us.” His name is Jesus! :stuck_out_tongue:

True, but I think it’s less about the factual, “what if he was?” and more about “what if he was now, what if that is Him?”

No problem!

:eek: oops sorry! I used the search feature but I guess I didn’t word the search correctly.

I get what you mean about the silly aspect-God was one of us! Exactly-but I feel like when I listen to the song it makes me value Jesus more. So many of us can let our mind wander to “Well if God was right in front of me it would be easier to follow Him”, etc. We forget sometimes that God WAS here as Jesus and that we have Him right in front of Him in the Eucharist! It reminds me of the magnitude of what Jesus did by coming to Earth and taking on a face and a name and a direct connection with us. But, all in all, it is kind of a silly thought.

Not a problem! No need to apologise.

I never use the search feature on the site - it’s too complicated and unreliable. I just use google if I really want to find something in CAF - even my own old posts! :slight_smile:

I, for one, am glad you asked, as I had never heard the song before, and enjoyed it. This has been a good thread.

I thought this song and “St. Teresa” were good food for thought.

I thought I was the only one who did that. :slight_smile:

Yeah, I didn’t mean to make you feel bad, emmaberry. :o It was just an onservation from one who has been around here for a while. It’s interesting to me that this song keeps popping up time and time again because I can’t really think of any other song that has elicited such discussion (except maybe “Stairway to Heaven”, but for different reasons :p).

I like VLM’s quote from Matthew 25:40. That’s a great way to look at the song. Jesus is there in that “stranger on the bus”.

I’ve always taken to the line “nobody callin’ on the phone, 'cept for the Pope maybe in Rome”

I don’t think that’s anti-catholic at all. In fact it seems to be a “backhanded” compliment, sort of a real lamentation that there’s not as many followers as there should be in the world… and the Pope is ‘the only person that seems to bother actually calling’.

It has always seemed to me as if the song is a Catholic Blues song and is Osborne’s lamentation on the lack of faith she sees in the world.

It reminds me of the old Christian blues song “Soul of a Man”…

I’ve always loved that song, and have it on my i-pod today.

Would there be a big difference being anti-Catholic as opposed to anti-Christian, btw?
(would everyone’s answers be greatly different if you were asking the other?)

I think for those who are religious, it may be a positive thing to think of God as “one of us”. Everyone talks about having a personal relationship with God and how Jesus was 100 percent man and went through all the emotions and trials that we will experience on earth…so I feel the song is a good reminder of all that.

I just get tired of hearing her ol’ grandma at the beginning!
But there’s no way to fast-forward that bit!
(I like that she’s there, but I don’t wanna hear her each time i hear the song…)

I like it, too, and don’t find it anti-Catholic.

Which reminded me of another song about God: “Laughing With” by Regina Spektor - what do you all think of it?

(If you haven’t heard it, here’s the video on YouTube)

There are a lot of different views on the meaning of the song, which is about the “No atheists in a foxhole” idea. Some interpret it as anti-theist, others (including me) see it as a recognition that while people may laugh at jokes about God, or laugh at those who choose to see Him as a magic wishing genii, we all reach out to Him when in desperate times. (And if we cannot have desires for things that do not exist, our instinctive desire for help and comfort from God means…)

I’d be interested in hearing anyone else’s views on the song.

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