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Switchfoot – Selling The News Lyrics 7 years ago
"Meaning and means" provides word play and more accurately reflects the meaning of the song, "means" meaning a medium, tool, or ability to do something or get somewhere. Unless you're trolling. (Do you see what i did there? Wait, a meme within a meme...memeception - yo dawg I heard you like memes. Okay I'm done).

Sufjan Stevens – Get Real Get Right Lyrics 8 years ago
I'm not sure if it's a main theme/thrust of the song, but he seems to be discussing not being dead at the end, but the Kingdom of Heaven/the Kingdom of God. This facet of biblical doctrine concerns Christ's many "kingdom parables" and the fact that there is only a limited time of the Kingdom during this fallen world (before Christ's physical return.) This limited time is the time for evangelical work and for the work of the Holy Spirit for salvation. When Sufjan says that when he dies he'll rot, it seems not to be a contrast with Christian doctrine, but a reference to his inability to do "Kingdom work;" but while he lives, he'll give all he's got to the Kingdom.

Further, when he recognizes, as you noted, that God takes and that prayer doesn't do anything, he's again not contradicting biblical doctrine, but upholding it. He recognized that God, in his (loving) justice, cannot merely give freely to those who have transgressed his law, but he takes from us what is not ours, but his. And the prayers of men are powerless in all aspects; it is the loving God ho hears and "works all things together for the good of those who love him."

You don't have to believe these things, and in the postmodern spirit, I'm sure you assumed that. But a postmodern shortcoming is separating the artist from his art, as though they have no connection bu at the instant of creation. You haven't necessarily done this, but I don't think that Sufjan is at all saying the Christian faith might not be all true. He recognizes the perfection of Christ and the horrible, twisted nature of man and of Christians.

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