"Passing the Hat" as written by and Nathan Willet Matthew Maust....
Look up from the hymnal, look 'round at the faces of families closing their eyes
We're taking Communion and passing the offering hat around at the same time

I reached for the hat and take all the cash
And slide it into my ragged coat sleeve
And leave in its place a note to explain
All of the reasons that stealing has led me to leave
If there was a worthy cause for to give to
May I be so bold as to say
The givers not knowing where their money's going
Is as sinful as throwing away

Stained glasses shine on my red wine
And the sweat of my brow drips to my shaking knees
A small sacrifice to benefit one man's journey away from America's seas

Sweet sweet sigh of relief
Sweet sweet O Baltic Sea
Sweet sweet sigh of relief
Sweet sweet O Baltic Sea
Sweet sweet sigh of relief
Sweet sweet O Baltic Sea

Nobody here knows my name
Call it right or wrong
I bought my ticket just the same

Lyrics submitted by HandClapWhore

Passing the Hat song meanings
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  • +3
    General CommentI like the small stories Nathan Willet creates about the lower class and the struggle of American/immigrants here in the U.S. I found myself listening to Cold War Kids a lot while taking my Sociology class. He definitely hits at class struggle and trying to find that escape route from that stress in a lot of songs. I think he voices the unheard, on a general term, in all his songs, and most of it is silent suffering. Like in this song, the man is escaping America in anyway he can-taking the communion money.
    Sunshineshineon February 25, 2010   Link
  • +2
    General Commenthe's stealing from the church so he can go buy a yacht and sail the baltic sea.

    or something like.

    Reminds me of the owners of rich churches, that hypocritically, use the money for their own indulgences instead of helping the disadvantaged.
    The Mooon February 10, 2007   Link
  • +1
    General Commenti think wootrippy is pretty much on the money although not necessarily an immigrant. for the record it doesn't say 'the stealing' it says 'the spirit' aka the holy spirit.

    alternatively to the immigrant idea it could just be a guy wanting a holiday so he wanders into a church and takes the offering.

    immigrant or holidayer the point of the song is that the man is trying to justify his act of theft by saying 'hey, it's like they knew where the money was going anyway, my cause is far more worthy and besides, the holy spirit is telling me to go to away'
    OliverCarleon August 01, 2007   Link
  • +1
    General Commentthis is my favorite Cold War Kids song of all time. when i first heard it, the lyrics blew me away. i am amazing someone can be a smart ass in a tasteful way.
    Cold War Kids and Modest Mouse have a good way of saying things that I am thinking.
    oh.emilyon August 15, 2007   Link
  • 0
    General CommentTaking the money from the church "offering plate", or whatever they call it in the Catholic chucrh. For what reasons I'm not sure...he may have done it as a child, he may be doing it because he believes he can give it to a more worthy cause, or maybe he's just an asshole stealing from the church?
    Coffee and TVon January 25, 2007   Link
  • 0
    General CommentIt's not about the singer, it's about an immigrant, stealing from the church so he can afford his way home.
    WooTrippy!on March 10, 2007   Link
  • 0
    General Commentthis song is about me. i steal from the church so i can give money directly to jesus, who lives in my basement in a wooden crate with small air holes in it.
    JASONPAULon March 17, 2007   Link
  • 0
    General Commenti think its like most of you of you said along the lines of how money is being passed on for wrongful reasons, and the church is being used as a common example. the immigration theory might be something like how money is needed and for other greater causes
    0 HyBriD 0on April 17, 2007   Link
  • 0
    General Commenti dont know i think it could be about someone poor stealing from the offering hat because he thinks that just blindly giving your money to the church is wrong and that he probably could use it more. The immigrant thing works to
    k.j.von April 26, 2007   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI think WooTrippy! got it down to the point.
    JCruz0587on April 29, 2007   Link

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