Teen For God

Album: My Better Self (2005)
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  • Dar Williams studied religion at Wesleyan University, and this song deals with her spiritual quest as a teenager, along with that of her friend Julie. In our 2010 interview with Dar Williams, she explained: "I was a religious teenager, but my friend Julie actually went to a religious camp. So she gave me some information on what it was like to learn all these songs and how much she loved it, and then how embarrassed she was to talk about it at a certain point when she was becoming a radical lesbian musician; to talk about what it was like to be secular Jewish and go to this camp with which she was so enthralled. I said, 'Oh my goodness,' that was kind of like me.

    My parents were atheist, but there I was going to these youth groups and Sunday schools, and I wanted to talk about the Bible. And so the song was the hybrid of her experience and my experience. Both of us had an experience going into this kind of weird embarrassment or discomfort around our religious adolescences, and then coming out the other side and realizing that it has been pretty wonderful. There was a lot of ecstatic experience, as we called it, in the religion major in college. There was ecstatic experience, and thought about morality and our identities in community with people who cared about service and kindness, and that there was nothing wrong with that, and that if nothing else, it was kind of sweet and kind of funny. So that was the full circle of something I really wanted to communicate in the song."


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