Friday, July 10, 2009

What Matters More?

Love or being straight?

Warning: This post might be slightly offensive to certain people. Proceed with caution.

There are few Christian artists who I support these days (and by few I mean one) and that one artist is Derek Webb, formerly of the band Caedmon's call. His first album created a stir with the song "Wedding Dress" and the lyrics,

"i am a whore i do confess
but i put you on just like a wedding dress
and i run down the aisle
i’m a prodigal with no way home
but i put you on just like a ring of gold
and i run down the aisle to you

so could you love this bastard child
though i don’t trust you to provide
with one hand in a pot of gold
and with the other in your side
i am so easily satisfied
by the call of lovers less wild
that i would take a little cash
over your very flesh and blood"

The "naughty" words in the song got the album pulled from a number of sellers despite the message's clarity and honesty.

With future releases he kept at it with the messages but kept the albums toned down language wise. Until now.

Derek has just released the new album "Stockholm Syndrome" on his website. Well, the explicit version of the album. His record label refused to distribute it without some changes so a "clean" version will release in fall minus the song, "What Matters More". I promptly went and bought the version off of Derek's site.

Here's the lyrics to "What Matters More":

"You say you always treat people like you like to be
I guess you love being hated for your sexuality
You love when people put words in your mouth
'Bout what you believe, make you sound like a freak

'Cause if you really believe what you say you believe
You wouldn't be so damn reckless with the words you speak
Wouldn't silently conceal when the liars speak
Denyin' all the dyin' of the remedy

Tell me, brother, what matters more to you?
Tell me, sister, what matters more to you?

If I can tell what's in your heart by what comes out of your mouth
Then it sure looks to me like being straight is all it's about
It looks like being hated for all the wrong things
Like chasin' the wind while the pendulum swings

'Cause we can talk and debate until we're blue in the face
About the language and tradition that he's comin' to save
Meanwhile we sit just like we don't give a shit
About 50,000 people who are dyin' today

Tell me, brother, what matters more to you?
Tell me, sister, what matters more to you?
"

And a link to hear it: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s5pBXY2AkeY

I find it telling that the album is named after a confusion syndrome, where people don't know where their true feelings should lie, aligning themselves with those that hurt them.

As for the song, I can see why the label thought it a little controversial and yet love it that there is someone like Derek bringing issues to the table, issues that no one else in Christian arts would dare to do. He uses his medium to add to the dialogue. I'm not going to discuss my stance on homosexuality because that's not what Derek's doing either. He's not advocating for homosexuality but for an increased love for everybody by Christians. That's a message that is dead on Christ-center.

As for the language, I'm pretty sure that you and I and every Christian artist out there has said worse so why judge? Love matters more.

10 comments:

Jen said...

" He's not advocating for homosexuality but for an increased love for everybody by Christians. That's a message that is dead on Christ-center."

Amen to that! No matter what your stance on homosexuality, it's not our place to be passing judgement, not our place to be telling everyone what's wrong and right.

Anonymous said...

it is not your place to pass judgement, but what is spoken speaks more then this idealized statement...because although judgement is not passed-laws are being passed. Through your actions, you are still passing judgement on the legal front.

Eric said...

Anonymous - I don't normally respond to anonymous posters but your post just confused me... how exactly am I "passing judgment on the legal front"? First, I'm not a judge nor a jury so that would be difficult to do. Second, I don't think anywhere in my post there is a judgment or mention of anything regarding legal matters of any sort. Please explain.

Anonymous said...

ah, I am sorry, let me expand a bit. There is a great deal of rhetoric going on with not passing judgement on homosexuality, not our place to tell everyone what is right and wrong. This is wonderful, if this rhetoric followed through on the legal front. I am talking about gay marriage and parterships. While many will say, it is not our place-they are doing just that by voting against partner benefits that will allow gays to have meaningful and loving relationships with their partners while enjoying the protection that straights have within the auspices of religious marriage.

Anonymous said...

i was responding to Jen's comment.

Eric said...

"There is a great deal of rhetoric going on with not passing judgement on homosexuality, not our place to tell everyone what is right and wrong. This is wonderful, if this rhetoric followed through on the legal front. I am talking about gay marriage and parterships. While many will say, it is not our place-they are doing just that by voting against partner benefits that will allow gays to have meaningful and loving relationships with their partners while enjoying the protection that straights have within the auspices of religious marriage."

Hard to refute that this has been mainstream Christianity's position as a whole but even harder to try and pinpoint that either Jen or myself is part of that majority. I believe there are a many people who are focused on love rather than judgment, which is exactly what this song is advocating for.

Janis said...

more posts!!!!!

Chris said...

Romans 1:24-32:

24 Wherefore God also gave them up to uncleanness through the lusts of their own hearts, to dishonour their own bodies between themselves:
25 Who changed the truth of God into a lie, and worshipped and served the creature more than the Creator, who is blessed for ever. Amen.
26 For this cause God gave them up unto vile affections: for even their women did change the natural use into that which is against nature:
27 And likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust one toward another; men with men working that which is unseemly, and receiving in themselves that recompense of their error which was meet.
28 And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a reprobate mind, to do those things which are not convenient;
29 Being filled with all unrighteousness, fornication, wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness; full of envy, murder, debate, deceit, malignity; whisperers,
30 Backbiters, haters of God, despiteful, proud, boasters, inventors of evil things, disobedient to parents,
31 Without understanding, covenantbreakers, without natural affection, implacable, unmerciful:
32 Who knowing the judgment of God, that they which commit such things are worthy of death, not only do the same, but have pleasure in them that do them.

1 Corinthians 6:9-10 (NIV): "Do you not know that the wicked will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: Neither the sexually immoral nor idolaters, nor adulterers nor male prostitutes nor homosexual offenders nor thieves nor the greedy nor drunkards nor slanderers nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God."

Leviticus 18:22 (KJV): "Thou shalt not lie with mankind, as with womankind it is abomination."

Leviticus 20:13: "If a man also lie with mankind, as he lieth with a woman, both of them have committed an abomination: they shall surely be put to death; their blood shall be upon them."


There's what the hipster "Christians" say, and then there's what God says. Do not confuse loving your neighbor with denouncing sin.

If the wages of sin aren't death, then Christ died for nothing.

Chris

Chris said...

Above I meant to say "overlooking sin", not "denouncing sin". Wrong word. We should denounce sin.

Eric said...

Chris,

I think anyone who reads the Bible even semi-literally can understand that the act of "laying with another man" is a sin in God's eyes. Right there along with looking lustfully at another woman, favoring those in high position, lying, cursing, etc...

That's not really the issue in the song, or in my mind - it seems quite clear cut as you already expressed.

The issue, then, is how we treat said "sinners". Christians are rather unlikely to treat you vastly different if they knew at some point you had lied to your boss. On the other hand, they are likely to treat you differently/derisively if at some point you had slept with another man.

I believe if we ask ourselves the question that the title of the song asks, What Matters More?, then we, as Christians, should be unanimously deciding that loving sinners is more important than protesting against them, denouncing them in public, shaming them, or even hating them. I think the Bible is crystal clear on this matter - it boils what we are to do into 2 commands - both involving love.

I believe us 'hipster' Christians (as you so humorously put it) aren't saying different things than what God says. Well, at least no more than the rest of the 'un-hipster' Christians.