Few artists can capture the oppressive sense of futility that many people deal with on a daily basis. David Bowie, however, is no ordinary artist…during his career he has repackaged his image as frequently as Elton John and with more refinement than Madonna, but his message always trumps his image. Take ‘Life on Mars?’, for example. It is a tale of an unwanted daughter who consoles herself by going to the cinema…but she’s seen the movie a million times. It is a song about the ‘sameness’ of life, a tale about getting up to go to the same-old-same-old job/class/etc. Life for the girl is a ‘sunken dream’, she is excluded by the people she wants to love her. I wish I could say that the experience of attending church was an entirely different matter, but I know better.

Everything about Bowie’s image during his Ziggy Stardust days makes me want to distance myself from him…he looks terrifically strange…and yet it seems as if he has an answer (or better yet, a question) for the girl’s (our) plight: ‘Is there life on Mars?’ In other words, is there a way out of this cycle of frustration or are we doomed? (look up The Worm Ouroboros)
This is the place where I am tempted to do a ‘hand-off’ to Jesus (he’ll make everything sane again one day), instead let me just leave a few talking points:
How might Bowie’s song shed light upon:
*Jesus’ relationship with his family/disciples?
*Our relationship to the world (in the Johanine sense of the word)

*How we treat the doppelganger (Dungeons & Dragons!)–the person who is just a bit outside themselves (like Ziggy)–and how we respond to them in the church.

Here’s the video
It’s a god-awful small affair
To the girl with the mousy hair
But her mummy is yelling “No”
And her daddy has told her to go
But her friend is nowhere to be seen
Now she walks through her sunken dream
To the seat with the clearest view
And she’s hooked to the silver screen
But the film is a saddening bore
For she’s lived it ten times or more
She could spit in the eyes of fools
As they ask her to focus on

Sailors fighting in the dance hall
Oh man! Look at those cavemen go
It’s the freakiest show
Take a look at the Lawman
Beating up the wrong guy
Oh man! Wonder if he’ll ever know
He’s in the best selling show
Is there life on Mars?

It’s on America’s tortured brow
That Mickey Mouse has grown up a cow
Now the workers have struck for fame
‘Cause Lennon’s on sale again
See the mice in their million hordes
From Ibeza to the Norfolk Broads
Rule Britannia is out of bounds
To my mother, my dog, and clowns
But the film is a saddening bore
‘Cause I wrote it ten times or more
It’s about to be writ again
As I ask you to focus on

Sailors fighting in the dance hall
Oh man! Look at those cavemen go
It’s the freakiest show
Take a look at the Lawman
Beating up the wrong guy
Oh man! Wonder if he’ll ever know
He’s in the best selling show
Is there life on Mars?