Master of Puppets?

Master of Puppets

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I love retro rock.  It’s funny to me that not only the great music of the Beatles, Led Zeppelin, Pink Floyd, Jethro Tull and other 60’s & 70’s acts are considered “classic rock”.  But now, 80’s bands like Metallica, the Police, U2, and Iron Maiden also fit this category.  I’m even more shocked and astounded that bands like Nirvana, Stone Temple Pilots, Alice in Chains and Soundgarden are being shifted to this genre.  But hey- I’m almost 30 years old now so I guess this is the progression of “coming of age”.

One of my various jobs is teaching guitar to young teenage dudes who want to learn a lot of the same music I did at their age.  A great song with myriad killer riffs that I often teach is “Master of Puppets” by Metallica.  But I’m always baffled by the heavy lyrics and end up having a conversation with any student I teach this student to.  We ask questions such as, “What do you think this song is about?”

Here’s the lyrics:


End of passion play, crumbling away
I’m your source of self-destruction
Veins that pump with fear, sucking darkest clear
Leading on your deaths construction
Taste me you will see
More is all you need
Dedicated to
How I’m killing you

Come crawling faster
Obey your Master
Your life burns faster
Obey your Master

Master of Puppets I’m pulling your strings
Twisting your mind, smashing your dreams
Blinded by me, you can’t see a thing
Just call my name, ’cause I’ll hear you scream
Just call my name, ’cause I’ll hear you scream

Needlework the way, never you betray
Life of death becoming clearer
Pain monopoly, ritual misery
Chop your breakfast on a mirror
Taste me you will see
More is all you need
Dedicated to
How I’m killing you

Master, Master, where’s the dreams that I’ve been after?
Master, Master, you promised only lies
Laughter, laughter, all I hear or see is laughter
Laughter, laughter, laughing at my cries
Fix me!

Hell is worth all that, natural habitat
Just a rhyme without a reason
Neverending maze, Drift on numbered days
Now your life is out of season
I will occupy
I will help you die
I will run through you
Now I rule you too


Now it’s pretty obvious that these lyrics are about drug addiction.  It’s especially obvious to me because I identify with the pain described here being an ex-burn out myself.  Now I never got hooked on coke or smack, but I definitely woke up everyday in a cycle of “pain monopoly” and “ritual misery”- a religious practice of having to be high all the time.

In that sense I understand what a “Master of Puppets” can be.  An outside force that’s “twisting your mind and smashing your dreams”.  It’s really anything that can be placed on a fictional altar and depended upon… worshipped…  But really in the midst of the adoration it’s completely killing and destroying everything one holds dear- relationships, true joys, passions, and more.

Now I really believe that due in part to poor religious upbringings, or just misconceptions altogether, that people believe God to be a “Master of Puppets”.

I was having a conversation about this with an old friend Dani- an urban kid who I used to be somewhat of a mentor to at First Glance urban youth center (  He’s definitely not a follower of Jesus, but has more of a Buddhist bent mixed with a lot of science and philosophy.  He’s definitely a smart kat too.

His main argument was a strong one.  “If God knew when He created the universe and human beings that it would get all screwed up, then why would He have done it in the first place?”  Dani understood the biblical concept of God being “outside of time” and “in control of everything”.  But he made a strong point that I think a lot of people could relate with.  “If God knew that I was going to blow my brains out in 5 seconds- and He would know because He supposedly knows all that’s to happen in our sphere of time- then why wouldn’t He intervene and stop this and other bad things from happening?”

My answer was simply that this would make God unloving to “force” obedience on people.  The biblical view of God is more of a loving Father, who has offered us peace and relationship with Him through Jesus.  The theme is weaved in from the beginning:  God offered perfection in Eden to Adam and Eve, and they didn’t want it- but instead wanted a hit from that knowledge tree- which they knew would make them have greater understanding.  When they hit that tree it gave them the knowledge, and there was no turning back.  But even after God still offered His love and relationship with them and all their offspring.

God continues to give this free offer, and has all throughout history.  So much so that He decided to send His Son down from heaven to feel all the pain and disgraces of humanity and die a shameful death along with criminals.  By this He could only sympathize with us more.  He doesn’t desire to be a “Master of Puppets”- He desires us to love Him.

It wouldn’t be loving for me to force love on anyone.  It wouldn’t be loving for me to force someone to believe what I believe and know to be true.  Though I desire to persuade friends and show grace so that people might see Jesus.  I know that ultimately God draws people to Himself because He is irresistible, amazing and real.

So Dani and I’s conversation ended.  We hadn’t come to agreement.  But he paid me a great compliment; “You know what I love about you, Ben?  We can disagree even about what we believe, and at the end we’re still friends.”  I replied; “Yeah Dani, and I love you bro.”  I gave him a hug and said further, “And see, that’s real love- that I don’t want to force it on you, I just want you to know it’s there!”

The only true “Master of Puppets” is the devil.  God is a loving Father who desires relationship with any who’d be willing to come to Him.  If you’ve been forcefully spoon fed a devilish view of God purported by some plastic version of Christian religion I’m sorry.  I urge you to please divorce yourself from all those misnomers and hypocrisies, and read the Bible with a clean open mind to get the view of who Jesus really is.

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