Jesus Is Not “My” Bearded Girlfriend

Another BS allergic reaction I started to get after many years of singing to a worship minister every Sunday was how crazy the lyrics are in these songs that were pounded into my capillaries every week.  The song selections were so unbalanced, and some just flat-out weird.

This drove me absolutely bonkers, I got to the point I could not stand being at the worship service anymore.  I am not putting down the worship minister as a person, but some of the stuff they would ok for the Jesus show was a bit odd.

The first thing about songs sung in church is that there is so much focus of either “I”, or “Me” in the songs.  They are so individualistically** based.  These songs are so self-centered.  As long as each person has their own personal love affair with Jesus, no one gives a shit about each other.

Wake up people!  We are not in community with one another.

Look at the roadways each day, typically one person per car, and most of them going to the same areas.  Then, inside each car, the experience is highly customized (individual tastes).  There is the exact temperature, adjustable lighting, and music availability to the liking of a solo driver.

Marketers love this.  Mega-churches love this.  We have come to think of ourselves as a collection of self-contained units, all able to get what we want without inconveniencing anyone else.  Since most of the people live this way all week, why would people want anything less from “their” weekly worship service?

If everything else we consume is tailored to be this little bite-sized, individually packaged item to fit “our” needs, why not have worship songs sung that way as well?

We demand personal, individualized expression.  And wherever there is demand for a product, supply is sure to follow.  The product that is offered from the worship music industry is a preponderance of songs that is tilted strongly toward the individual.  Don’t believe me, start actually examining the words sung in thousands of churches repetitively each week?  It is a lot of me, myself, and I.

There is a second thing that brings me to a boil, or gives me boils as an allergic reaction.  Jesus Christ is not my personal lover.  I am not trying to court Him as my secret lover, and I am not singing songs to Him like He is my future prom date.  Some of the lyrics sound down-right pornographic.  “I want to feel you inside me”…. Give me a freakin’ break!  What does that even mean?

Of course we see different perspectives of how Christ is to be revealed to us throughout Scripture, but one of them is not my bearded girlfriend.

I will leave you with an example… The song “Extravagant” by Casting Crowns.

“Your love is extravagant
Your friendship, it is intimate
I feel I’m moving to the rhythm of Your grace
Your fragrance is intoxicating in the secret place  (secret place… where the heck is your nose?)
Cause Your love is extravagant

Spread wide in the arms of Christ (is this even legal?)
there’s a love that covers sin
No greater love have I ever known; You considered me a friend
Capture my heart again”

I swear these lyrics are drenched with sexuality, and just creeps the snot out of me.  If you played this on a secular radio station you could easily mistake it for a sexy, kinky, love-making song.

What in the world is going on in churches each week?

** if this is not a word it should be.

18 thoughts on “Jesus Is Not “My” Bearded Girlfriend

  1. A lot of “praise and worship” songs sound like the 80’s love songs I grew up with and despised back then. I like them even less when they try to invoke His name.

  2. You’re just trying to pick a fight. Mushy, sensitive, romantic Jesus. It’s all the rage. All the cool kids are doing it.

    Forgive me for insisting on a masculine God. I already worship one woman in my life and she birthed my daughter. I don’t need another on the side.

  3. I’m not current on the latest Christian music. I guess I’m getting old. Plus, it’s rare that I’m in a worship service. But you’re right, that song you quoted seems out there. I suppose that’s putting it nicely. One of the last times I was in a worship service they played a song that had lyrics like: I’m a rebel. I’m a stud. I’m so cool.

    Actually, I don’t remember the lyrics, but they were all about me. “I’m a this. I’m a that.” And I was thinking, “Wow. When did this ‘me’ worship start?”

    I will say this. I have no problem thinking of Jesus as intimate. But I guess we need to make sure we’re defining intimacy correctly (when I say “we,” I mean people in general). I think of intimacy as deep friendship – where you know each other’s shit, and you love each other anyway. And you’d lay down your life for one another. I picture how Jesus related to his disciples and others he encountered. I definitely can’t picture Peter saying to Jesus while sitting around the camp fire, “Your fragrance is intoxicating in the secret place.” If he did, I imagine Jesus saying, “Dude, you need to get your fetish with Right Guard under control!” And Peter says, “Ah, come on man, just take another hit of ecstasy. You’ll see what I mean.”

    Sorry! Now I’m getting out there! I better lay off the good stuff and stay away from worship services!

    1. Shon- I am with you on defining intimacy. It just seems like the church has taken intimacy off the deep end. Deep friendship is one thing.. what they preach from the pulpit seems a bit weirder than that.

      1. Hey, I remember the name of that song, it’s called Revolution. Now that I see all of the lyrics, it’s not as bad as I thought, at least when it says “For my God forsake it all.” But when I kept hearing the chorus over and over, it threw me. Here’s the chorus:

        ‘Cause I’m a fire
        I’m a flood
        I’m a revolution
        I am a war
        Already won
        I’m a revolution’

        I feel really cool when I sing this song!

      2. Shon – The song is doing what it was intended to do. Make YOU feel good. What I feel the majority of why people go to a worship service.. to make themselves feel good. Isn’t that what it is all about? (sarcasm.. for the people that do not know me)

  4. I’m blaming it all on David. Ever sing Psalm 51?

    Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean: wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow. Make me to hear joy and gladness; that the bones which thou hast broken may rejoice. Hide thy face from my sins, and blot out all mine iniquities. Create in me a clean heart, O God; and renew a right spirit within me. Cast me not away from thy presence; and take not thy holy spirit from me. Restore unto me the joy of thy salvation; and uphold me with thy free spirit.

    Or how about Psalm 139?

    Search me, O God, and know my heart: try me, and know my thoughts: And see if there be any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.

    Me, I, my… not in community, etc.?

  5. Eric – Heartfelt prayer is one thing, singing contemporary songs to a worship minister sitting or standing in a passive audience is another…..

  6. A quote from N. T. Wright touches on this:
    ” when worship-leaders, including musicians, assemble directly in front of a congregation like a rock group at a concert, this can make exactly the wrong point. There is, no doubt, a sense among many modern worship-leaders that this does not matter; but, precisely because worship is about human integration, it matters very much indeed. What you do with your body says something about what you are doing with the rest of you.”

    While this is out of context, and may make points irrelevant here… the description of modern worship-leading as “rock group at a concert” rang a bell with me.

    Yeah. What happened to God-focused worship that is participatory and communal?!? Not even to mention some of the bizarre words (ya know they gotta rhyme whether they make sense or not!) of the songs.

    Thanks, Swanny, for articulating what I’ve thought/felt for years now…

    1. Martha – That quote is great. I just got to the point where I kept asking myself… why am I singing such weird lyrics? Then I said.. enough is enough. I got to the point I could just not stand it anymore. i tried to verbalize what I was feeling, but most around me look at me like I was flipping crazy. In a way, i guess I am.

      1. Shon – Who are you calling crazy? At least I didn’t piss off some fundie on fiverr. 🙂

        You know I am kidding.

        When people are real and honest it brings out the “crazy” in them (because they are not hiding anything). I am glad you are that way too, so we can be crazy together.

  7. “Heartfelt prayer is one thing…”

    Now you are getting closer to the root of the matter. If I sing Psalm 51, (whether to myself or in a large group setting) but don’t mean it, what really is the difference except you think it sounds better? Not necessarily trying to defend the artist here – I’ve heard of their name, but honestly couldn’t tell you a single song they’ve written, nor would I recognize their sound if I have heard them. I don’t know how you determine if what they wrote is heartfelt or not. I’m not really into contemporary music much or the making of merchandise that goes along with it (I used to be 20 years ago). But I hear what you are saying about the general trendiness of people-pleasing in our songs-of-choice.

    I would have guessed “secret place” is a reference to Psalm 91 (another one we sing when we meet):

    He that dwelleth in the secret place of the most High shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty.

    That didn’t bring some kind of sexual picture to my mind.

  8. Eric – I am sure the artist was heartfelt when writing the lyrics. Of course there is no way for me to know peoples hearts. It is not just this song that bugs me.. It is the individualism that is crammed down peoples throats that I have a problem with.

    A lot of people sing these songs, but have no clue who they are sitting or standing next too. There is no teaching of community within the walls, it is all about me me me and not us us us. And the song lyrics are no helping that situation.

  9. Just wanted to add…if assemblies practiced something more like we are instructed to do in scripture:

    “How is it then, brethren? when ye come together, every one of you hath a psalm, hath a doctrine, hath a tongue, hath a revelation, hath an interpretation. Let all things be done unto edifying.” 1 Cor. 14:26.

    Then you would be free to practice Hebrews 10:23-24 when meeting together:

    “Let us hold fast the profession of our faith without wavering; (for he is faithful that promised;)
    And let us consider one another to provoke unto love and to good works:”

    Your consideration of the assembly would prompt you to sing or share something related to community to encourage your fellow believers instead of being limited to the pre-planned program. I believe you might find when the whole assembly is encouraged to study and come prepared (and able) to edify one another, that some of those other things we worry about will go away, if we will just stop stunting our growth. But not everyone is up for that, as I’m sure you have noticed by now.

  10. Eric – I agree. When we encourage one another to come together to share life in Christ without a prescribed outline, it is amazing how you feel together when you meet.

    Thanks for the added comment.

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