Stuck in the Not Yet.

I just got introduced to the song “You Hold Me Now” by Hillsong (thanks, Caleb) as I prepare the music for our Fall Getaway.  What a beautiful song to sing as we are stuck here in the “not yet” of our salvation.  We live in a unique era, as those between Christ’s coming.  On the one hand, we’ve got all the promises, the fact that Jesus has already, once and for all taken care of our great enemies of Satan, sin, death, and hell.  The victory has already been won.  It is finished.

But on the other hand, there is still much brokenness in our world.  Much still needs to be made right.  How we long for the day when the not yet becomes truly made the now.  “Lord haste the day when my faith shall be sight, the clouds be rolled back as a scroll!”

On that day when I see all that you have for me
When I see you face to face there surrounded by your grace
All my fears swept away in the light of your embrace
Where your love is all I need and forever I am free
Where the streets are made of gold
In your presence healed and whole
Let the songs of heaven rise to you alone

No weeping No hurt or pain
No suffering
You hold me now, you hold me now
No darkness No sick or lame
No hiding
You hold me now, you hold me now

Verse 2:
In this life I will stand through my joy and my pain
Knowing there’s a greater day. There’s a hope that never fails
Where your name is lifted high and forever praises rise
For the glory of Your Name I’m believing for the day
Where the wars and violence cease
All creation lives in peace
Let the songs of heaven rise to you alone

For eternity
All my heart will give
All the glory to your name

Your Kingdom come
Your will be done here on Earth as it is in Heaven

Stockholm Syndrome.

Derek Webb is not scared of controversy.  Here’s a line from his latest censored album.  (this is the uncensored version, so if language offends you, now would be the time to click the “funny” link to your right)

“Meanwhile we sit just like we don’t give a shit about 50,000 people that are dying today.”

Here’s another:

“You say you always treat people like you’d like to be, I guess you love being hated for your sexuality…”

And my favorite:

“…’cause if you really believed what you say you believe, you wouldn’t be so damn reckless with the words you speak.”

His record label wouldn’t let the song make it out of the gate, so he released it on his website.

I love this song.  The title of the song is “What Matters More,” and the controversy that has ensued has proven the words to be nearly prophetic.  A segment of the Christian community has freaked out more about the words of the song than the content of the message.  It is far more reckless to marginalize one group of sinners (homosexuals) while welcoming others than to use the word “damn.” What does matter more?  The gospel, or a social agenda?  The fact that people are dying and going to hell, or that we avoid saying the word “shit?”

If you’ll permit me, I want to step in in defense of Derek, and say that he is not saying that only the gospel matters, and so we should just walk around using the same language as the culture, with no regard.  He’s just saying that if he had to choose what matters most, it’s not going to be language or targeting homosexuals.

My prayer for this song is that it will make it to the ears of listeners who will actually be shocked by it.  I have been around Derek’s music for long enough to not be shocked by him using a “bad” word.  But the concepts he hits on in this song are something that the American church needs to deal with.

Here’s the (very well done) video for the song in question.

If Dave Matthews Had it All…

If I had it all, tell me what in the world would I sing for?” (one potentially offensive word involved, 3/4 of the way through the song)

Well, Dave, it depends entirely on how you got it all.  People that earn it all tend to be a bit paranoid about losing it.  And that causes them to stop singing entirely.

On the other hand, people that are freely given it all are the ones that keep singing about it.  We can’t seem to help ourselves.

How listening to Christian radio could be hurting you spiritually.

I’m a parent of a two year old, so I reserve the right to change my tune on this fact in the coming years, but it bothers me when Christian radio calls itself “safe for the whole family,” because though it may be easier, I don’t think it’s any more safe to listen to Christian radio.

Derek Webb recently said in an interview (to paraphrase) that any time you hear the word “Christian” applied to anything other than a human being, it is nothing more than a marketing term.  Christian books, Christian music, Christian T-shirts, and Christian clubs are all misusing the word “Christian.”  What drives “Christian” marketing is the same thing that drives other marketing.  Dollars.

Webb went on in that same interview to highlight that fact by saying that on the “Christian” radio station, there are entire sections of the Bible that he would not be allowed to read on air.  Don’t believe him?  Check out Ezekiel 16:15-17, or the sweet little tale in Genesis 19:4-8.  The advertisers would have the head of anyone who read such terrible things on the air.  Why?  Because they aren’t “safe for the whole family.”  Nothing like a little gang-rape to spur some after-dinner discussion with your 10-year-old.

We do our kids a disservice when we gloss over the wickedness in the world, and especially the wickedness in our own heart.  And while I’m not mad at Christian radio stations for giving us a place where we won’t have to listen to a running stream of F-bombs, there’s an aspect to Christian radio that could actually be LESS safe for my kids: it promotes a subtle form of works-righteousness. Also, instead of actually having to parent, and shepherd our child’s heart, we are given the option of just ignoring that there are terrible things out there that are hard to explain.

Terrible stories of God-dishonoring things going on in the world provide excellent teaching moments about the terrible God-dishonoring stuff that goes on in my heart (and in my child’s heart).  And if I don’t see any God-dishonoring things in my heart, then I am afforded a chance to repent of my self-glorifying religious arrogance, and thinking I don’t need Jesus.  Instead of giving me a mirror to see my own sin (the way “secular” radio does), Christian broadcasting would have me believe that I am not so bad.  After all, I’m being a good parent by listening to radio that is “safe.”

I’m not saying that we shouldn’t watch what goes in the ears and eyes of our children.  But we most certainly should not assume that because a product was marketed with the word “Christian” in front of it that we are safe to turn off our discernment.

What do you think? Comment below.