27 April, 2006

Which Singer Do You Follow

The song, "Which Jesus Do You Follow?" has been filling up the Christian radio waves here in Columbus, OH. I guess the real title is, "My Jesus", and I guess I'm not supposed to copy the lyrics over here, so I will link them, and copy individual lines that interest me.

What do ya'll think about this song?

There are parts of it that I like, but mostly I find it offensive. Which means that I must be one of the comfortable Christians that Mr. Agnew is blasting. That's OK, I guess. Perhaps the Spirit will allow my conscience to bite me at some point.

Of course, it almost goes without saying that I love the violin in this song. ANY song that has a violin doing THAT is going to be on my favorites list. How they make those strings weep like that is beyond me, but I could listen to it all day.

Blessed are the poor in spirit
Or do we pray to be blessed with the wealth of this land
Blessed are they that hunger and thirst for righteousness
Or do we ache for another taste of this world of shifting sand


Great stuff.

I want to be like my Jesus
but I'm not sure what that means to be like You Jesus
Cause You said to live like You, love like You but then You died for me
Can I be like You Jesus?
I want to be like my Jesus


This is stunningly beautiful. This is true. I could sing and pray this all day long.

But, there's so much pointless harshness in this song.

Cause my Jesus would never be accepted in my church
The blood and dirt on His feet would stain the carpet


Um. No. When the unwashed enter our church, people get confused and scared but flock to them anyway. I have never seen a person who had not bathed in a week enter our church, but they were surrounded by people trying to make them feel at home. If a dirty, bleeding man stumbled into our church, he would immediately get our couch - I'm sure of it.

So, why insult like this?

But the Word says He was battered and scarred
Or did you miss that part


Hmmm. In a song about the mercy of our Lord, Mr. Agnew is going to rely on sarcasm.

If Ephesians says to imitate Christ
Then why do you look so much like the world?
...
He spent His time with thieves and liars


So, Jesus looked so much like the world that thieves and liars were comfortable with Him, but we look so much like the world that Jesus would not be comfortable with us. That sounds awfully Catch-22ish to me.

He spent His time with thieves and liars ... and sluts ... and the least of these
... I think He'd prefer Beale St. to the stained glass crowd


Interesting. I had to look up Beale St. It's a famous hang-out for blues musicians in Memphis. I think on the radio he says, "High St."

I get it. I know what he is trying to say, but I don't think it's true. I fear Phariseeism, but the days when Pharisees hung out in churches are dying out pretty quickly I think. And, I doubt highly that Jesus hung out with thieves, liars and the like for long. They left their selfish lives, and started loving God, or they moved on from Jesus.

He loved the poor and accosted the comfortable ... the rich ... the arrogant

I don't see Jesus accosting anyone, except those who violated His Father's house. Maybe I'm wrong on this one. I see Him responding to those who tried to reject the Truth or accept it half-way, but I just don't see Him being obsessed with them. They come to Him for rejection. He does not accost them.

Anyway, I think "Asleep in the Light" might be fun to compare side-by-side with "My Jesus". I loved AitL as a kid, and don't know that I would feel quite the same about it if it came out today.

Nah. I don't think Keith made so many blunders.

It's been on my mind.

22 comments:

Milly said...

I haven’t heard this song yet. I find it funny that we listen to songs without hearing the words. I think the instrumental music sometimes takes over our brains. I have found myself enjoying a song only to go “Hey what the who. . . am I hearing that right?” This song won’t go on my I need list.

I agree that the Baroque and Renaissance idea of Jesus missed the mark. I will fess up to saying I enjoy looking at the stations of the cross in an old Catholic church in PA. It’s steeped in history. My husband spent countless hours in that church. The female angels gave me a bit to think about. That’s for another day.

DugALug said...

Codepoke,

I didn't realize you were from columbus. I lived in Gahanna, and Westerville for the first 11 years of my life. Most of my relatives still live in Bexley.

You see I knew there were other things I liked about you.

On to the post, sound to me like Todd has a little theology issues that he should iron out here.

I once wrote a song called the 'Shabby Little Shack In Heavan'. The point was that I'd take the shabby shack over going to hell. If you listened to the words, you could imply that the 'shack' was what I was aiming for. It wasn't my heart, but my articulation stunk.

I am sorry to say, that it sounds like Todd missed the mark badly here. That's too bad, because my wife really liked his first albulm, hopefully others will pick up on this, and let the radio stations know that this is perhaps, not his best offering.

It also goes to show you that we cannot assume things are good or sound, just because they are on Christian Radio.

And for the record, Keith still gets play in my CD.


God Bless
-Doug

codepoke said...

Milly,

I will fess up to saying I enjoy looking at the stations of the cross in an old Catholic church in PA.

About 10 years ago, I would have been edgy about that, but not today. I think there's a value to involving our emotions and our bodies in our worship. The danger is in worshipping the station rather than the Lord, and I don't think we are going to do that.

As for the female angels, I probably don't have a lot of good to say about that yet, but maybe some day I will change there too. I know I love good art.

codepoke said...

I'm in Worthington, DugALug. Nice little area. Nothing remarkable about it, but it's close to everything. 12 minutes from work, and that means a lot. Commuting is stealing from myself. I hate it. Even in Columbus's wonderful traffic, it's just a waste.

I don't think Mr. Agnew "missed" so much as I think he tried too hard on this one. The rest of the album might be wonderful.

And, yeah, I still pull Keith out a few times a year. :-)

Milly said...

Codepoke,

Like I said it's the history of my husband being there and now due to some issues and a change in him to COC not so much. I do love the art part. As for the angels funny thing in one of the churches that his family attends a statue looks just like a woman I knew. It sorta freaked me out because as nice as she was not so much an angel.

I'd love to do a study on angels. Some day.

DugALug said...

Codepoke,

What a small world. Worthington is a really nice area. Both my parents went to OSU, so Columbus will always be special for me.

Ironically my wife's dad went to University of Michigan. Life is sometimes funny.

While in Ohio (as a kid), I was raised Catholic. I went to St. Matthews in Gahanna. Nothing warms a heart like being a 6 year old and learning the stations of the cross. I cringe at the guilt I felt, afterall it was my fault that Jesus died.

I now know that God's love even overwhelms my guilt and there is so much more to the story than Jesus' death on the cross.

I am overwhelmed with God's love, and so thankful that I was litterally yanked from my rigid Catholic upbringing.

God Bless
-Doug

Andreia said...

Codepoke
Excuse my recent silence. I have been studying for the LSAT and toting four kids to soccer and swimming.

I couldn't stay silent on this one though. Are you suggesting that there is/was no such thing as female angels?

codepoke said...

Andreia,

You were missed, but the LSATs. Wow! May the Lord bless your efforts!

Are you suggesting that there is/was no such thing as female angels?

I'm willing to call this one "my problem", but I will tell you what I'm thinking.

1) Nope, but there weren't any male angels, either. Angels don't work like that, as near as I can tell.

2) I love the way Rodin sculpted the female figure. I have quoted Heinlein on Rodin on Caryatid Under a Heavy Load a few times. It's one of my favorite speeches ever. But making an angel sensuously female strikes me as just wrong.

3) I was taught early that every representation of any angel was a picture of the devil in disguise. Maybe I just haven't gotten over that one yet, but I don't like pictures of angels at all.

Thanks for asking. Hopefully I haven't ruined anyone's enjoyment of angel art. :-/

You go on that studying!

codepoke said...

DugALug,

Nothing warms a heart like being a 6 year old and learning the stations of the cross. I cringe at the guilt I felt, afterall it was my fault that Jesus died.

Hmmm. I have never heard the Catholic teaching on the subject. I really have no idea what the stations are. :8(

I'm just thinking of remembering the many things the Lord suffered to please the Father, win a bride, and conquer every enemy.

At some point, I'm sure the angels are there comforting Christ after His prayer in Gethsemane. I think that I would have to break my ban on images of angels for that sculpture. :-)

japhy said...

Well, I'll comment on the song (which I've heard on my local Christian station, Star 99.1, and relate it to a Casting Crowns song, "If We Are the Body".

I don't think the lyricist was trying to be sarcastic or insulting (why, that wouldn't be Christian of him!), although I do think he's concentrating on the wrong things (or at least saying the right things with the wrong words). We are so quick to judge other people; we are trying to so hard to be more like Christ ourselves that we refuse to see Christ in others. That's what he means by:

Cause my Jesus would never be accepted in my church
The blood and dirt on His feet would stain the carpet


He's trying to get across that we should not be self-righteous, but that we should strive to make each other righteous. Now, he kind of misses the boat with:

He spent His time with thieves and liars
He loved the poor and accosted the arrogant
So which one do you want to be?


Christ ministered to the people who would listen to him; the pharisees had a "holier than thou" attitude (literally!), but the poor and the accosted knew they were the bottom rung, and honestly, they were willing to listen to anyone who could promise them something more. I don't mean to put the unfortunate in a bad light, but that was the reason people first came to Jesus: he was preaching forgiveness, and a kingdom, and eternal life, and living water.

So all in all, the song has a poor choice of words, but was written with good intentions.

Now for the comparison. If you've not heard the Casting Crowns song I referred to, it goes like so:

It's crowded in worship today
As she slips in
Trying to fade into the faces
The girls' teasing laughter
Is carrying farther than they know
Farther than they know

But if we are the Body
Why aren't his arms reaching?
Why aren't his hands healing?
Why aren't his words teaching?
And if we are the Body
Why aren't his feet going?
Why is his love not showing them
There is a way, there is a way


A traveler is far away from home
He sheds his coat
And quietly sinks into the back row
The weight of their judgmental glances
Tells him that his chances
Are better out on the road

But if we are the Body...

Jesus paid much too high a price
For us to pick and choose who should come
And we are the Body of Christ

If we are the Body...


That song makes the same general argument, but without having the same tone as the Agnew song.

japhy said...

codepoke, the Stations of the Cross are a set of 14 (or 15 in some places that include his resurrection) scenes of Christ's passion:

Jesus is condemned
Jesus is given the cross
Jesus falls the first time
Jesus meets his mother
Simon helps carry the cross
Veronica wipes Jesus's face
Jesus falls the second time
Jesus meets the women of Jerusalem
Jesus falls the third time
Jesus is stripped of his garments
Jesus is crucified
Jesus dies on the cross
Jesus is taken down from the cross
Jesus is buried

They are a combination of scriptural and traditional (yes, I admit it, the Catholic church has traditions) events of Christ's crucifixion. Some of the events are "supported" by a series of intense visions of Anne Catherine Emmerich, a woman who lived in the late 18th and early 19th centuries; her descriptions of the visions were compiled in a text titled "The Dolorous Passion of our Lord Jesus Christ". Mel Gibson used it as a resource for his recent Passion film.

The fact that they are not all supported by scripture does not make them "wrong" or "heretical"; rather, the Stations are an inspired journey with Christ in his final hours when we see the best and worst of humanity. Services of the Stations are typically done on Friday evenings during Lent; there are usually prayers accompanied by readings whose purpose is to let us hear Jesus talking to us about our own trials during his hardships.

Milly said...

I agree with codepoke on the angels. After being in a Catholic church I began to question who they were. I had never heard of one being called by a women’s name. I also was bothered by the pins and all the angel power kind of stuff. Angels are created by God I was taught that we are above them so to speak. They are messengers. I don't think I've ever read that they are pretty sweet faced girls. With that said it doesn't mean that God hasn't sent a female looking one to earth for us.

So if we are up to that discussion let's take it to my site. ^j^

Milly said...

Codepoke,
I hope I haven't stepped on you. I thought since I started it kind of I should bring it to my site. I think I wasn't going to do anything big this week because of my schedule. It was also around midnight last night. (Sleep silly girl)

God keeps doing this. He just keeps tossing stuff out to us.

I love you Bro. =^..^=
(just kidding on the other site. Some of those peoples answers. . .I may have nightmares now ;-)

DugALug said...

Japhy,

My church included the resurection in its depiction.

It was once 12 stations, but it grew: the resurection was one, I don't know which were the other two.

My biggest problem with this is that it puts Christ's ministry completely out of kilter. Christ's divinity is not proven on the fact that he died on the cross, it wasn't even in the fact that he was born. Both of these event were the fullfillment of Biblical prophecy: they had to occur to validate scripture.

We get a glimpse of His divinity in His resurection, but even that is only the partial. To see Christ's divinity we must look at His whole life of Christ, as well as the insights that the prophets in the OT had to say about Him. We must understand what God's purpose was in coming the Earth in the form of a man.

I don't believe God wants us to walk around in guilt over what Christ did on the cross. I am not trying to belittle this in any way, but it was clearly not God's plan when He became flesh for us to walk in shame. God knew what was going to happen, He weighed the costs and found us worthy of the sacrifice. A greater love this world has never known and I will never understand the full depths He went to attone for me.

God is not like the old grandma who wants you to feel awful for not coming to see her every day of your waking life. She says that you should 'want' to come see her... Why would I want to come and feel terrible about myself? There is power in oppressing people, and many grandparents wield this like a sword. God wants us to hear His voice and come running, like a child to their loving parent.

That is the message I want to ring through the ranks of all churches, but, in particular, those who want their patrons to be living under a veil of misserable unworthiness, shackled by the chains of guilt. Those that have turned the Gospel from the words of liberty to ones of utter oppression.

God Bless
-Doug

japhy said...

I agree with you, dugalug, about God not wanting us to walk around in shame all the time. But that isn't the feeling I get when I walk the Stations; I don't feel guilt, I feel a strengthening of my relationship with Jesus in his suffering and death. You said

My biggest problem with this is that it puts Christ's ministry completely out of kilter. Christ's divinity is not proven on the fact that he died on the cross[...]. To see Christ's divinity we must look at His whole life of Christ, as well as the insights that the prophets in the OT had to say about Him. We must understand what God's purpose was in coming the Earth in the form of a man.

I agree, and Paul agrees with you in Hebrews 5:8-9: Son though he was, he learned obedience from what he suffered; and when he was made perfect, he became the source of eternal salvation for all who obey him. It was not Christ's divinity proved by his death on the cross, it was his perfect humanity.

I view the Stations as the testament to Christ's human perfection: obedience to the will of God even to death. I have a blog entry that has to do with why God took human form, and why Jesus had to die, that goes over that in more detail than I'll post here.

I admit the Stations are, well, a bit depressing, because they focus on the death of Christ. They are performed during Lent which is a time of deep reflection and penance, and I think the Catholic Church wants the focus of that time to be the sacrifice of the cross.

DugALug said...

Japhy,

I liked your post on why Jesus had to die a lot. It is certainly touched on some great points. Thanks for linking it.

It was not Christ's divinity proved by his death on the cross, it was his perfect humanity.

I have some trouble with this statement. Christ's death on the cross, showed he was human and limited to his body, just as we were. Christ's life that proved His perfect humanity.

When He weaped for Lazurus, When he was moved with compassion and performed the miracles of the loaves and fishes, when Satan tempted him in every way, and when He prayed in the garden for this cup to pass from Him: it is these moments that we see that Christ was fully one of us, yet a perfect Adam, without fault, spot or blemish.

I look at Christs entire life as obedience to the will of God unto death. Understand that Christ's death didn't begin when He started carrying the cross. The plan of His death was formed before the forbidden fruit at touched Eve's lips.

I am not trying to belittle Christ's death, I am just trying to put the importance of the Cross in perspective with the entire bible and Christ's life: more specifically, Christ's messages of love, peace, redemption, and salvation.

-Doug

japhy said...

dugalug, I'm certainly not saying we shouldn't focus on Christ's messages of love, peace, redemption, and salvation; rather, we should not ignore his death. His resurrection is, of course, the basis of our faith, but the sacrifice of his life was necessary to restore us to God.

As for his humanity, he was always becoming a perfect human, in that he was always choosing not to sin and to obey God instead. (We all start out with a 100% average in school; it only drops when we do less than perfect work.) This process reached its climax in Gethsemane, when he asked God to save him, but that God's will be done, not his own human will. The conclusion of the process was his final breath on the cross. His full obedience to God even to death is what made him a perfect human; he was always being perfect, and it was at the end of his earthly, human life that his perfection was proved.

Jesus showed that it was not impossible to follow God's will; it wasn't always easy, but it could be done. It's really easy when your will and God's will coincide, but it can be really hard when your will contradicts His. Even Jesus himself, the Son of God, asked to be saved from death, a death that was God's will and not his own! But he accepted death on a cross, though he was without sin. That's what I mean when I say his death proved his perfect humanity: it was the final act in a life of obeying God.

But yes, the climax to a story makes no sense without the rest of the story, so let us not neglect the rest of the Bible!

DugALug said...

Japhy,

But yes, the climax to a story makes no sense without the rest of the story, so let us not neglect the rest of the Bible!

Amen brother.

God Bless and have a great weekend.
-Doug

codepoke said...

Cool chat! Thanks for sharing.

blestwithsons said...

Well I'm late to this one...

But thanks for writing the post I forgot to write! (ha!)

I don't like that song at ALL.

And I get tired of people acting like thieves and liars, or the poor, or the promiscuous are somehow closer to God than just your plain ole middle class white-bread sinner. I was always a "good girl" but I needed a Saviour just as much as the druggie or the criminal.

And I despise the phrase "My Jesus". He is not ours - we are His -know what I mean?

codepoke said...

Spot on, Blest. Thanks.

And I'm glad I got to one you forgot! Always glad to help. :-)

I'm really enjoying some of your recent stuff, btw. Nothing to add, but great insights.

codepoke said...

Milly runs a with it!