Benjamin is a rather funny fellow. He muses on life, family, growing up, and being a young gay man of Malaysian/Hong Kongian/Chinese heritage.
I can't say I exactly relate to this final aspect, but there are so many things in this book that had me going "oh my gosh, YES!" and "seriously, Benjamin, have you been researching my entire life/stalking me since birth?" (This last matter is currently under investigation by my lawyers.)
One of the things in the book that literally had me wriggling, singing, laughing and "oh my gosh"-ing on the tram in a most embarrassing fashion was Ben's description of his experiences with Christian music.
Herewith, the excerpt:
Every morning before class, we filed into our daily worship session. Devotions covered a road range of topics: forgiveness; receiving compliments gracefully; documented Satanic possessions. Music came courtesy of the school band, a misfit hodge-podge of whichever musically inclined students were available that week: recorder, baritone clarinet, piccolo, French Horn, bongos. One of my favourite songs was 'The Blind Man', a participation-based hymn made up of verses featuring men suffering various afflictions -- blindness, deafness, paralysis -- searching for Christ to show them the way.'The blind man sat by the road and he cried!" we sang. 'The blind man sat by the road and he cried!' The final verse simply involved singing 'The Blind Man!' followed by frenzied, rhythmic clapping to fill in the gaps. Years later, singing the same song in high school, it struck me as undignified and mean, implying the blind man was not only visually impaired, but also had some form of palsy that made him clap in a wild, uncontrollable fashion. But as a Christian-hearted seven-year-old, I dug the clapping as much as I dug Jesus.
It's like he READ MY MIND! Seriously. As the child of a protestant minister, I grew up with this music, and none of it struck me as strange until I'd already been singing it for years. The particular version of this song that we always sang also involved an "uhuh uhuh uhuh baby" refrain that was very special indeed.
So now I've had this song stuck in my head for days and my boyfriend and colleagues want to kill me.
And it made me think of another christian-music-anecdote from my childhood that my family LOVES to tell at group events.
See, there's this song called Jehovah Jireh (which means God in um Hebrew or something) which goes "Jehovah Jireh, my provider, His grace is sufficient for me..." etc.
And I used to (when very young) stand up tall and proud and sing out at the top of my lungs:
JEHO-VAGINA, my provider...
Apt, really, in some ways.