I want to be a clone…pt 1 Reflections on a few of the songs of Steve Taylor

Before I begin my aimless ramblings I should clear a few points up and tell you why I am writing this blog, who Steve Taylor is and why I want to be a clone! If you don’t want to know all these important facts you can skip a few paragraphs………..if you are still here then I’ll begin.

Who is this Steve Taylor guy? Steve Taylor is a Christian musician, who during the 80’s and 90’s released records (yes, real vinyl  records) and I liked them. He was a major influence on the Christian I am and the way I live and act. To me, and he may may not thank me for this, Steve Taylor is a lot like Larry Norman – unconventional, motivating, satirical and very thought provoking. His song ‘Lifeboat’ is one of the reasons I read ethics at Uni. Here’s a link to a wikipedia page on Steve Taylor.

If Mr. Taylor has a google search set up on his name and he reads this blog I would just like to say ‘thank you’ to him for many years of enjoyment listening to his music. You strenghtened my faith, showed me that I didn’t have to be the stereotypical ‘boring’ Christian, given me many hours of thought and even inspired a few sermons. I met you at Greenbelt in ’94, you signed a CD for me, I still have it, on it you wrote “Keep praying Siôn, Steve Taylor.” I have ,I do, thanks. S.

I should also thank Bryn Thomas for introducing me to the music of Steve Taylor and Some Band. I don’t remember when it was but I am fairly sure of where it was. It was in Bryn’s music room where we spent hours listening to records and talking. We listened to everything from AC / DC to Gilbert and Sullivan, Judas Priest to Andrew Lloyd Weber. It would have been there that I first heard a new album by this Steve Taylor guy. It was an EP called, “I want to be a clone”. It is still available on iTunes and I still have songs off it on my iPod. My favourite track was, and still is, I want to be a clone.

Before I go on you should probably hear the song. Here it is on youtube and I still want that suit. (If we every re-write that bit in Exodus it should read, “Thou shalt not covert Steve Taylor’s suit”) [youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nxETLTcv5BM&w=420&h=315]

And here are the lyrics…

I’d gone through so much other stuff
That walking down the aisle was tough
But now I know it’s not enough
I want to be a clone

I asked the Lord into my heart
They said that was the way to start
But now you’ve got to play the part
I want to be a clone

Be a clone and kiss conviction goodnight
Cloneliness is next to Godliness, right?
I’m grateful that they show the way
‘Cause I could never know the way
To serve him on my own
I want to be a clone

They told me that I’d fall away
Unless I followed what they say
Who needs the Bible anyway?
I want to be a clone

Their language it was new to me
But Christianese got through to me
Now I can speak it fluently
I want to be a clone

Be a clone and kiss conviction goodnight
Cloneliness is next to Godliness, right?
I’m grateful that they show the way
‘Cause I could never know the way
To serve him on my own
I want to be a clone

Send in the clones

Ah, I kind of wanted to tell my friends and people about it, you know?

What?
You’re still a babe
You have to grow
Give it twenty years or so
‘Cause if you want to be one of his
Got to act like one of us

Be a clone and kiss conviction goodnight
Cloneliness is next to Godliness, right?
I’m grateful that they show the way
‘Cause I could never know the way
To serve him on my own
I want to be a clone

So now I see the whole design
My church is an assembly line
The parts are there, I’m feeling fine
I want to be a clone

I’ve learned enough to stay afloat
But not so much I rock the boat
I’m glad they shoved it down my throat
I want to be a clone

Everybody must get cloned.

This song was a huge revelation to me – it made a young man aware that I didn’t have to be like everyone else in my church. I went to church and everybody acted in a certain way and dressed in a certain manner and said all the right things to all the right people (don’t get me wrong I loved the church and the people but they were quite gray). The youth group was the same, we all sang the dull Graham Kendrick choruses, held our prayer groups and did safe, Christian things, (again I have so much to be thankful for, they helped me so much but we were very vanilla).  Our Christian Union at school was fun but oh, so bland. We were safe, nice, boring Christians, living safe, nice, boring lives. We didn’t rock any boats, we stayed out of trouble and did what we were expected to do. Then I heard “I want to be a clone.”

This whole song said I could be different, I could be me! I didn’t have to be the same as everybody else in my church, my youth group, my school. Hey, I could be how God made me. And that idea has stayed with me throughout my life and my ministry. I wore jeans to church, I sat on tables in the youth group and made the comments the everyone else was too polite to make, I asked why and didn’t take their Christianese at face value. I took part in school assemblies and shocked the teachers and the students by being me and not the ‘run of the mill’ Christian Unionist they were used too. I started having a prayer circle before our rugby games – and people joined in and no one made fun of me, in fact week by week more of the players came.

Many times I have been told that I don’t act like other Christians, and I really thank God for that. I have tried, and I think succeeded, in not being a clone. I hope and pray that my attitude has shown Christ in places that he isn’t always seen. At the base of a rugby scrum with 15 bodies on top of him, in a aircraft with the doors open, about to jump out into the blue yonder, at an AC / DC concert with 19,998 others. I have been to all these places and more with him – all because of “I want to be a clone.”

As I grow older though I realise that actually I want to be a clone – but a unique one. I really want to be a unique clone…

A Christlike clone doing Christlike things in Christlike ways. And why not – he was as radical and unusual as it was possible to be – he didn’t sit in church and do the ‘right’ thing,  – he went to dinner with ‘publicans and sinners’, spent time with lepers and street walkers – the very people that we don’t want in our churches were the very people that Christ spent time with. I want to be radical, I want to be unusual, I want to be a clone.

Jesus was not scared to go where ‘nice’ people didn’t go, he was the first one to help those who were helpless, to be with those in need, if there wasn’t a party happening he made one, ask Zacchaeus. He sat and talked of God with anyone and everyone.

So after all these years of trying not to be a clone I have finally decided I want to be one – I want to be a Jesus clone!!!

Don’t you?


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