Derek Webb goes with the flow... like, finally...

(Tim, w/thanks to Craig) So Derek's trying to say something about something, and he's feeling quite self-righteous about what it is, precisely, he's trying to say. Thing is, when Dylan had his Christian phase, you didn't need a degree in jive talk to get it. His words were clear.

To get Derek's message, though, you might have to do peyote or sniff glue.

On the other hand, we could try just assuming that what Derek's trying to get across is the same kind of crowd-pleasing rhetoric daily featured on the oped pages of the New York Times. Derek is tired of going against the grain and has decided to turn and go with the flow, instead.

My friend Craig says Derek's video is "self-involved," bearing a message of "sexual sedition." I think he's right and that's how Combat Queer Online took it. Reporting on what they saw as Derek's new direction, Christianity Today said...

"Webb's exodus to hip-hop isn't merely a matter of preference. A folk artist at heart, he says hip-hop is the new folk—the only genre speaking to the needs of the people or protesting the status quo. In Webb's case, the status quo represents—at least to him—staunch right-wing conservatives and intolerant evangelicals with little compassion for those disenfranchised by the faith community."

If any more evidence were needed, Brian McLaren loves Derek's latest stuff. He tells us Derek's finally saying what he's been saying himself all along.

* * *

WHAT MATTERS MORE TO YOU?

You say you always treat people like you'd like to be
I guess you love being hated for your sexuality
You love when people put words in your mouth
About 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 silence your concern when the liars speak
Denying all the dying or 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 straights is all it's all about
Yeah, it looks like being hated for all the wrong things
And chasing the wind while the pendulum swings

We can talk and debate it till we're blue in the face
About the language and tradition that He's coming to save
Meanwhile we sit just like we don't give a shit
About fifty-thousand people who are dying today

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

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

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

Comments

This reminds me of the car I saw in the Targert parking lot today. The first two bumper stickers which stood out were the ones that use various religious symboles to sort of spell out the words, "Coexist" and "Tolerance". Many of the others used profanities to, among other things, proclaim the driver's resemblance to a female canine and used rude guesters which indicated her, ahem, tolerance of opinions different from her own. There were so many bumper stickers along the rear of the car and both rear quarter panels, I wondered if they were holding it together.

These song lyrics remind me of that - any opinion is tolerable except the ones which differ from me. And you better never, ever, dare to tell me or anyone else what *we* do might be wrong or unhealthy, much less sinful.

Sadly, we do so often fail at speaking the truth *in love*, but even when we do succeed at that, it is still heard as hatred.

Kamilla

It makes me sad because Derek is a great musician who can produce excellent material. Even this "new direction" was well done musically by him. Sigh.

I echo Joel's sentiments; Derek Webb has had a great run as a very talented musician, but when I found out what the fuss was on his new album, I realized that he was no longer a musician who I could support. He has compromised for the sake of "political correctness" (also known as his own popularity).

Dear Tim,

Dylan's message was so clear he paid a tremendous price for what he was singing. People walked out of concerts, critcs raged. I often go to YouTube and watch footage from Dylan's Christian years and I marvel. I would rather have been at one of those concerts than any flowing out of today's CCM world. It is exactly the world's negative response that proves we are being faithful. We know the world loves to hear what it is hearing from Webb-flashing red light!

As to what matters to me (answering Derek's question)...the gospel as it was preached by Jesus, the Prophets and Apostles. To what degree does our message resemble Jesus, the Prophets and the Apostles, this is the question.

Thank you for shining light.

>>I would rather have been at one of those concerts than any flowing out of today's CCM world.

Been to a number of Dylan concerts back a couple decades ago, but went to one tiny one right after he confessed faith in Jesus Christ and it was far and away the best concert I've been to. (Yes--many times and my favorite, Pink Floyd, Grateful Dead, Jethro Tull, Genesis, Springsteen on his first tour--he was the least pretentious; Alice of RC, golfing fame....)

Why was Dylan the best? Because, at that time, Dylan was decreasing and the rest were increasing. Dylan was taking up his cross and the rest were receiving worship.

The only one close was Michael Card. Then, later, he started talking like Tony Campolo at a concert he did south of Indy and I was done with him. A friend hoodwinked us into going to a Sandy Patty concert close to twenty years ago and I've never recovered. Utterly revolting in every way.

But back to Dylan: the venue was a tiny auditorium in Denver in 1979 and Dylan came out and, standing at the front of the stage, asked, "How many of you have been washed in the blood of the Lamb?"

Silence. Then a few of us, "I have!"

So he sings, "Saved, by the blood of the Lamb," and we were off.

Love you, brother.

PS: My greatest regret from my wastrel years was that I never saw the Who. I said this a year ago to my brother and he promised me I'd seen them--with him. I guess I have the preliminary stages of dementia. Or he does.

Dear Tim,

Go to YouTube and search for Dylan and a song titled, "What Can I Do For You?" Nothing like this is being written from within CCM and his performance is moving. Another wonderful one is a song called, "Saved" watching it makes one feel as if he is at church. The lyrics to that are wonderful also...

"I was blinded by the devil,

born already ruined,

stone-cold dead as I stepped out of the womb."

You might also like to watch "Solid Rock".

My favorite Dylan song is "I Believe in You" from "Slow Train Coming", what a song!

My heart is burdened for Bob Dylan. I pray for him. I have Blogged on his Christian music and it is amazing how many hits those posts receive.

I have been so helped by Michael Card's music, I am saddened at any indication of faltering in him.

I love Steve Camp also.

I did see Pink Floyd, late in the game though, I think it was without Roger Waters.

David referred to seeing the Who many times but I don't remember him mentioning wheter or not you were with him.

Speaking of David's musical tastes, I seem to remember his love of the Ramones? Elvis Costello? Yuck! My friends and I were tempted to beat up people who listened to music like that.

Lynyrd Skynyrd was always at the top of my list, only with Ronnie Van Zant though, Skynyrd died when he did.

Love to you.

I actually agree with what the song is saying at least in the sense that right-wing evangelicalism is all about self-righteousness, and it's true, Christians don't love homosexuals. The song is, in that sense, an accurate diagnosis of our hearts. But there's no cure give. Well, actually there is, "give a shit". But that doesn't cut it. Post-modern-passive-aggressive-I-give-a-shitness isn't loving anybody. What the world needs isn't Derek Webb, it's the Church. The gates of Hell won't triumph against her, no such promise is given to anything or anyone else.

So what does Jesus say? "Go therefore and sin no more" in other words, love says "no".

So Derek, what matters more to you?

Dear Tim,

My YouTube suggestions are all live concert footage not studio versions with pictures, you probably knew what I meant but it is seeing this in concert that is so awesome.

While you at it, check out "Ain't Gonna Go to Hell for Anybody" what a title.

Also, you might see one for "Serve Somebody" in which Dylan is wearing a tuxedo. It appears to be a music awards program. At the beginning the camera pans across countless big time stars and then Dylan comes on and sings the song-wonderful!

Tim,

One of my professors went to that Dylan concert. When he told the class where he was going, he said, "I'm going to see a concert by the poet laureate of my generation." He wasn't even ten years older than us, but I was the only one in the class who knew a)who he was talking about and b) what poet laureate meant.

Never heard a word from him after the concert about how great it was. But the, he wasn't a Christian.

Kamilla

Is Bob Dylan apostate?

Dear Gary,

Yes, I know all those cuts from "Saved" and "Slow Train Coming" by heart. Nothing close in CCM--at least that I've heard (other than Card).

And Mick: Evangelicals aren't self-righteous any more about anything other than their "relationship with Jesus." And that relationship is devoid of doctrinal content or obedience. Maybe somewhere there is one exotic who still holds to sexual purity and looks down his nose at Sodomites, but I've never met him.

As I said in chapel at Taylor University a couple years ago, the only reason Evangelicals haven't yet fully embraced the Sodomite lobby is "the yuck factor." And to the degree that Evangelicals care less about Sodomites than about anyone other than themselves, this same thing is likely the reason.

No cross. No cross at all. We've become an experiential and emotive community rather than a community of faith.

So why does Derek get so prophetic that he copies the most popular evangelical speaker on college campuses today, Tony Campolo--even down to copying Campolo's cutesy little word 'shit'? Did you notice that little line about gays being "disenfranchised by the faith community?"

Because that's the prophetic direction the whole world today is into. The whole entire corrupt world. And trust me: they care not a whit about Sodomites. You'll never catch them kissing them Lord's Day mornings after worship. Or challenging them Lord's Day afternoons to give up narcissism and take on fatherhood for others in the Church.

Much affection,

Living in Nashville, I could be easily inundated with this kind of music 24x7 if I wanted it. We have lots of friends here who are right in the middle of the whole contemporary Christian music (CCM) scene. I've been exposed to contemporary CCM for decades now simply by living here, though my radio is never tuned to a CCM station. For the most part, the reason we don't listen to CCM is simply because most of it is mediocre, bad music with trite lyrics - it's just not enjoyable to listen to. As an art form, it's not very good art for the most part, though certainly some stands out as good.

The Christian music subculture, which is just another sub-section of the American Christian sub-culture, is a weird place in the world. Paradoxically, it is so immersed in American pop culture that hates the Gospel, but then it so often is a head-in-the-sand crowd with its own set of Christian-esque, artsy-fartsy buzzwords and social cliques that American pop culture would never want to be a part of. Self-expression through art is idolized and considered the most spiritual thing a person can do, something that brings you into a deeper relationship with God. Words like "spiritual", "authentic", "relevant" and "passion" are thrown around all the time with nobody ever being able to define those terms, only feel them.

The American Church in general, including CCM artists, seem increasingly embarrassed by the exclusive claims of Christ and the set-apart lifestyles Christians are called to, lifestyles and points of view that will look bizarre to the world, even be hated by the world. It's hard to discern the American Church from the culture around it - especially in the CCM world where the focus is on image and marketing.

Is your art getting a little stale? Maybe it can be fixed by publicly discussing a private business disagreement. Get interviewed about it and let people know how the controversy is not manufactured, that it arose from your desire to be “authentic”. "Don't mess with my art, man!" Better yet, show people how involved you are in the "social Gospel", because it's the hottest thing in American Christian circles at the moment.

In the Christianity Today interview about this song/album, Derek Webb says "If I wasn't doing (my job) as hard as I can, I wouldn't be an artist that should be listened to. And that's the bottom line."

An “artist that should be listened to”? A statement like that makes me think he takes himself way to seriously. Besides, with lyrics like the ones in this particular song, who can tell what, exactly, Webb's message is?, other than some PC language...but anybody can do that.

Bill's comment on CCM could be said of most evangelical preaching today--a gospel gerrymandered to the feel-good Christian culture of today and the corresponding aversion to godly living and faithfulness to Christ at all costs. When I look at the evangelical church in America and the Anglo countries today I have a hard time keeping myself from becoming cynical. Besides, we can't proclaim a full gospel and its call to godliness with clarity--how would we ever get home on time for the NFL's Noon Kickoff? We're more about bringing people to church than to Christ.

"Derek Webb goes with the flow... like, finally..."

Speaking of going with the flow, so did the PCA.

Rev. Leith Anderson, president of the NAE, was invited by Sen. Shumer (D-N.Y.) to testify in favor of the Senate immigration chairman's push to create amnesty legislation this fall.

Sen. Shumer asked Rev. Anderson if many of his colleagues agree with his support for legalizing 12-20 million illegal aliens and increasing the legal immigration far higher than the 1 million a year current level (the two key components of "comprehensive immigration reform").

Rev. Anderson answered that there was no dissent in adopting the pro-amnesty resolution on the 75-member NAE board of directors.

Rev. Anderson described the NAE as:

. . . a network of 40 denominations comprising more than 45,000 local churches located in every congressional district and every state. The NAE membership also includes evangelical universities, seminaries, ministries, local congregations, and individuals.

Here is the list of the denominational members: http://www.nae.net/membership/current-members

Presbyterian Church in America -- Telephone: 678-825-1000 -- Fax: 678-825-1001-- Email: ac@pcanet.org

If he had put the statistics up for abortion and replaced dying with killing I might have more respect for this song...But then would that in itself contradict the social justice? A shame, Derek Webb was extremely refreshing to hear when I became a Christian, because I definately didn't dig on Contemporary Christian Music. But for the last couple of years the changes I've seen him go through makes me question things....Skepticism in this context seems ironic.

>In the Christianity Today interview about this song/album, Derek Webb says "If I wasn't doing (my job) as hard as I can, I wouldn't be an artist that should be listened to. And that's the bottom line."

Aside from the infinitely more important questions of content being noted here, a personal beef:

I've become weary of musicians hawking their wares (whether in CT, Rolling Stone, or on YouTube), all the while proclaiming their 'artistry.' There's no reason, of course, that music must be great, or even good, art; but let's stop the illusion that pedestrian personal expression is anymore than just that. Seriously, a compelling case might be made that there's more artistry in modern cement laying than there is in many modern musicians. I mean, really:

"Meanwhile we sit just like we don't give a shit..."

Brilliant art, that. It has rhyme, rhythm (err, sort of)...and...um...song? Well, two out of three ain't bad.

Side note: At the risk of seeming prudish, what does such profanity in lyrics accomplish, save assuring us that Webb could find no better rhyming words? I tire of the pretentious 'authenticity' that foul language is assumed to grant, today.

Authenticity in music, okay. Self-proclaimed art—give me a break.

>The only one close was Michael Card. Then, later, he started talking like Tony Campolo at a concert he did south of Indy and I was done with him.

Tim,

You've mentioned this incident to me before, and I believe you; still, as I've said, I think Michael Card deserves another chance. In the last decade, I've been to three or four concerts (always unpretentious) of his, talked to him in person, and heard nearly everything he's written; and among these, I've not heard words, let along songs, that resemble Campolo's. I'm sure I don't agree with him in every detail, but, even so, thirty years is a long time in the business.

Love,

Well, I'd never heard of Derek Webb until now, and from the sound of things, I don't know why I needed to, or feel that I've missed out on anything.

Bill, thanks for the description of CCM.

I try to avoid anything that describes itself as "contemporary." Isn't the root word for that "temporary"?

Do they have any Christian Oldies stations?

Michael,

His first album is excellent. I doubt you would regret owning it.

Does anyone have a clue as to what the "50,000 people who are dying today" is alluding to? AIDS deaths, abortion deaths or what?

I don't know the history of Derek Webb's songs. Has he ever railed against abortion the way he rails against...errr...whatever he's railing against in this song?

Derek Webb's first album was very good. In particular his songs Wedding Dress and The Church come to mind:

The Church

‘Cause i haven’t come for only you
but for my people to pursue
you cannot care for me with no regard for her
if you love me you will love the church

Wedding Dress

if you could love me as a wife
and for my wedding gift, your life
should that be all i’ll ever need
or is there more i’m looking for

and should i read between the lines
and look for blessings in disguise
to make me handsome, rich, and wise
is that really what you want

(chorus)
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

------------

Coming from Nashville and the PCA there, hearing these lyrics and this rejection of "me and God" and the wealth of Southern Christianity was extremely refreshing and courageous of Webb. He did catch a lot of grief for it. Seeing this latest album grieves me. Is he sick of fighting or just sick?

Archie,
Derek has been working to distance himself from the "Christian Music" scene and concert circuit for awhile now. When his album The Ringing Bell came out it was very clear that he was trying to recast himself as a mainstream Indie artist, not just a former member of Caedmon's Call doing a solo project, which is how he was mostly known before.

Andrew,

Yes, I know. It saddens me.

It's quite clear what he's saying in this song. (If there's to be a complaint about the lyrics, surely it should be rather that they lack subtlety in favor of a blatant, heavy-handed message.)

Just to state the obvious, the song is rebuking people who claim to follow Christ yet place the defense of their "language and tradition"--in particular opposition to homosexuality--ahead of the Gospel and the most important command to love.

It's a message completely in synch with the rest of his songwriting, especially his solo career, throughout which a number of his songs have been rebukes and exhortations for the Church.

Furthermore, having interacted with Mr. Webb at times over the past 13 years, I am confident he has not "compromised for the sake of 'political correctness'". In fact, to a certain extent the opposite is true.

Hi Tim,

What we in the PCA need to come to grips with is that broad evangelicalism's love affair with the political right is ending and their new love affair with the political left is heating up. Evangelicalism is quite simply breaking left just as it did in late nineteenth and early twentieth century and taking the Pearl S. Buck "Deeds not Creeds" pathway once again, only today we call it "being missional." Regardless of what we call it, it means we aren't taking the hard stands for the Word of God and feel that it's polar bears and ice caps that need saving not souls. Once again, the only sin is calling sinners what they are.

Trevor,
You make an excellent point. DW is trying to place the gospel where it belongs.

This week, I'll do likewise except I'll do better:
I'm going to put the gospel ahead of feeding my children.

Andy Webb,

Your comment does not help me feel any better about the general state of the Church.

But it does bear the ring of truth.

>>Just to state the obvious, the song is rebuking people who claim to follow Christ yet place the defense of their "language and tradition"--in particular opposition to homosexuality--ahead of the Gospel and the most important command to love.

Of course, his words are anything but clear, Trevor. You simply stated the main thrust, which you're right in saying any idiot can see (or feel).

Thing is, where exactly are these "people who claim to follow Christ yet place the defense of their language and tradition ahead of the Gospel?" For the past fifteen years, all I've heard or seen is people like Derek. You know, confessing their neighbor's homophobia, and rebuking him for it.

Easy to be a prophet against people who don't exist.

Trevor,

Thanks for your input. You seem to have some insight into Derek Webb's theology/philosophy/art. Unfortunately, your answer (above) has only muddled the issue.

My question is exactly what group of Christians Derek Webb is rebuking? Is he rebuking the "God hates fags" crowd that show up at funerals of gay people? Is he rebuking the Jerry Falwell type of preacher? Is he rebuking any Christian that speaks out against homosexuality? Would DW consider it loving, or self-righteous, for a Christian to tell a homosexual to repent and go and sin no more?

Pardon me if this seems cynical, but perhaps DW is intentionally trying to be nebulous and foggy. A little controversy might help pay the light bill, a few more music sales from the CCM crowd and perhaps a break into the mainstream media crowd; the complicated thing about CCM "art" is that at the end of the day, it's a business. Another possibility is DW's theology has "evolved"; and yet another possibility is his theology has always been this way. And there are other possibilities, I'm sure. Perhaps you can help me understand what's going on with DW's lyrics.

Again, who, exactly, do you think he's rebuking?

Bill: "Again, who, exactly, do you think he's rebuking?"

The question wasn't asked of me, but maybe Derek Webb is rebuking folks like the Bayly brothers who not only call sin sin as an integral aspect of the Gospel message, but who would also deign to rebuke musicians like Derek Webb who just want to show God's love to the disenfranchised.

>>the Bayly brothers who not only call sin sin as an integral aspect of the Gospel message

And have a number of former (and often, presently struggling) sodomites in our congregations, all of whom we love and some, we even kiss, each Lord's Day morning.

Love,

Ever notice how music videos always seem to draw all the attention to the artists in the video, relegating the message to second fiddle? It's precisely why I can't stand to watch them - regardless of who the artists are or what so-called message they're trying to bring. There's just that "watch me, me ME!" thing going on that is so repulsive. Does it strike anyone else that way?

Dear Carole,

At 3:30 in the morning, everything strikes me that way! :)

But, yes. You are correct.

Love,

Just to add my two cents, I think Derek is rebuking people who believe that a difference in belief is a greater travesty than a person in need - for instance, that the issue of a person being homosexual is more important than the deeper issues behind it - which often include enormous physical, sexual, emotional abuse, etc. People who would rather beat someone down with theology and prove themselves right, rather than actively portray the Gospel to a person - the Gospel *must* include actions, it's not just a 4-point philosophy. And believe me, there are plenty of those type of people around. Not just on the issue of homosexuality - people are very ready to "talk and debate until we're blue in the face" about any kind of philosophical difference, rather than actually interacting with a person on a personal level. It's not about ignoring the words of the Gospel, but that's only one half of the message.

As a second point, yes I think Derek Webb has tried to be intentionally nebulous and foggy, not because controversy pays the bills, but because if you actually have to think about his music to figure it out, you might then actually own your opinion rather than just jacking it from the Christian party line, whichever way it's swinging.

...with no mind to the extremely convenient fact that controversy *does* in fact pay the bills.

right.

Mmmhm, just like every pastor realizes the same thing. But clearly nobody you know would ever do anything like allow controversy because of increased attention. I'm sure the people you hang out with are much too good for that kind of thing.

You may have your reasons for being cynical about Derek Webb, but I honestly believe his primary motive in creating controversy is actually to make people think. I hope you're not cynical just because you happen to disagree with his point of view.

Dave,

I'm not at all cynical about Derek Webb. As a fellow musician, I completely understand both the pressure to get your albums spread around and listened to, and also, the "risk" of being too clear, plain, and straightforward with lyrics. Thankfully, I'm a perfect person, who goes to a church full of perfect people, so you're absolutely right in suggesting that the people I hang out with would NEVER do something like this.

please.

Looking at Derek's past few albums, it is clear that he is deliberately remaking himself and changing his image. There's nothing intrinsically wrong with that, but he has been giving away everything that made his music salt and light. If you look at the reception that this latest album has received from many unrepentant sinners, it is clear that it isn't salt and light to THEM, they think it's a refreshing change that must be salt and light to heartless, churchy Christians. There is no question that Christian musicians must be salt and light to the church, but when those who hate God's truth praise and promote your music precisely because of its lyrical content, something has gone far wrong.

When you say that I disagree with his point of view, you are right. He clearly thinks that "doing unto others as you would have them do unto you" is the whole gospel. It is NOT the whole gospel. In addition to that, what Derek means by "do unto others" and what Scripture means by it, are not the same thing. He is arguing for, "Give others what they want, what they need, to alleviate their pain and suffering, and then leave them alone." This is not what the Bible teaches, it is not the Gospel, and it is not good.

Right on, Andrew.

Dear Dave,

> rebuking people who believe that a difference in belief is a greater travesty than a person in need

But of course, this is an improper separation of the two. The "difference in belief" is not some tempest in a teapot; rather, the "difference in belief" is precisely the greatest need that a homosexually-inclined man has.

>...the issue of a person being homosexual is more important than the deeper issues behind it...

Your choice of words here may not be deliberate, but simply careless; even so, they imply a reality that is not the case. There is no "being homosexual" in the sense that there is a "being a man" or "being a woman." Homosexuality belongs to behavior, temptation, even, but not identity. The man who struggles with same-sex attraction is no more a "homosexual" than I am an "adulterer" when I lust after women. It is unloving to allow one's sin to define his identity, and if Derek Webb wants to love men ensnared by this sin, he'll stop defining them as such, and criticizing those who love them enough to point out the truly "deeper issue"—which, as with each of us, is ultimately just sin.

>about any kind of philosophical difference...

Really, sir, is the nature of sexuality as defined by God simply one type of "philosophical difference"? If so, Paul's quite agitated in Romans 1 over philosophy.

>...but because if you actually have to think about his music to figure it out, you might then actually own your opinion rather than just jacking it from the Christian party line...

No, I think not. It requires very little thought to figure out his message in this song. Would that it did. And, really, it would be far better for Derek Webb to concern himself less with us owning our own opinions and more with proclaiming the truths of God, in which are no opinions whatsoever.

Sincerely,

Dave said: "I think Derek is rebuking people who believe that a difference in belief is a greater travesty than a person in need..."

THEN Dave said: "You may have your reasons for being cynical about Derek Webb, but I honestly believe his primary motive in creating controversy is actually to make people think."

Me: But I thought differing beliefs weren't a problem? If they're not, why would DW want to convince anyone to believe otherwise?

@Craig: My point is that different beliefs should not lead you to discount everything that is said, felt or expressed by the person whose beliefs differ from your own (which I think is what he's saying in this song, as well). Therefore, I hope that simply because you disagree with Derek Webb on an issue (or even multiple issues), you wouldn't become cynical enough to think that he's only doing whatever he's doing to make a buck. That, I think would be a big mistake.

@Josh: I couldn't disagree with you more that the biggest thing a person struggling with homosexuality needs is to be set straight intellectually.

The damage there is mostly not intellectual misguidance.

Have you ever met any Christians who were struggling with homosexuality who really wanted to heal? I know some quite well, actually, and what they experience is not intellectual misguidance. They understand exactly where they stand on an intellectual basis. The simple fact is, however, that our behavior does not always follow what we know to be true, for a million different reasons, and we (humans) don't heal emotionally and spiritually simply by being told over and over that we're doing things wrong.

Dave said: "@Josh: I couldn't disagree with you more that the biggest thing a person struggling with homosexuality needs is to be set straight intellectually."

Dave, how did you get that out of Josh's comments?

Dave: "My point is that different beliefs should not lead you to discount everything that is said, felt or expressed by the person whose beliefs differ from your own (which I think is what he's saying in this song, as well)."

Me: To be clear, no one here has dismissed "everything DW says/believes"...it's just some people (like me) suddenly care very little about his opinions given this very wrong opinion on sodomy that is part of a larger web of evil...evil opinions aren't held in a vacuum. DW may have some correct opinions here and there...I bet Marquis de Sade had some alright opinions, too, but I'm not running out to read his books any time soon. Call me closed-minded (to show you how gracious I am, I'll bet DW has a larger number of correct opinions than de Sade).

Stephen: "Dave, how did you get that out of Josh's comments?"

Me: Dave's just trying to make us think on a deeper level by mistating other people's views.

Dave,

Derek's new album is all well and good for a Relevant Magazine listening crowd that loves the idea of having the image of loving sodomites but can't stand the actual people. Yes, I mean exactly what I said. For those of us (like my friend Josh, who you so graciously tried to educate with your ignorant, high-handed, and otherwise incomprehensible response) that do, his message is hardly worth our time.

Here's my take: "Right on, Derek. Continue to write songs against Fred Phelps and all 6 of the fringe whackos that are keeping us respectable Christians off the cover of Rolling Stone. You're making me think hard about how much more awesome I am than those nutjobs. I'm really developing solid convictions of my own about how terrible it is that all the young, awesome progressive Christians like me have been painted with the same brush as those stupid, stodgy old people. How did so few ever come to speak for so many?

Thanks for being so controversial and getting this very necessary conversation with myself going. I was having a hard time maintaining both my faith and my credibility with all my fellow college students until you came along. What a relief. Above all, thanks for managing to do all of this with some crazy awesome beats. You are a man of true cultural discernment. I applaud you."

Oh yes. How very prophetic.

The rest of us have real work to do. This album is about image, not issues. When he decides to be a real prophet, I'll start paying attention again. Until then, give me a break.

I'm amused by so many of the comments about this song; it's just proof Derek Webb's words hit close to the bone. If this song didn't call you out, then you would have had no need to react and comment with such lusty piosity.

Yes, the song denounces the homophobia rampant in much of the church. But that really isn't the point of the song, it seems to me. The point is that the church spends so much time arguing over each other's opinions and personal convictions about homosexuality, all the while too often overlooking the fact that this is not some abstract topic but something which impacts the lives of so many people close to us.

A close friend of mine very nearly succeeded in a suicide attempt after his family and church abandoned him because he was gay. They spent so much time debating the state of his soul that they didn't notice or care that he was in complete anguish. Derek Webb's song is written on the behalf of so many out or closeted gay Christians (like my friend) who have to struggle through loneliness, confusion, rejection, and self-loathing while everyone around them just wants to argue about opinions and theology.

What matters more? Your own personal beliefs, which certainly may be grounded in deep theology and Spirit-led conviction? Or the human beings--sons and daughters loved of God!--who are languishing in the shadow of your soapbox or pulpit?

It's a shame that argument and rhetoric (the tools of the Pharisees) have become more important here than simply loving and caring for hurting people (the tools of Jesus). This long line of commentary is proof itself. Let's review I Corinthians 13:1. I'm hearing here many crashing cymbals, and little love.

Dan W"right": The point is that the church spends so much time arguing over each other's opinions and personal convictions about homosexuality, all the while too often overlooking the fact that this is not some abstract topic but something which impacts the lives of so many people close to us.

Me: Mr. W"right", your words prove you don't even understand what is being talked about. You are a perverter of God's Word and you love your foolish wisdom above God's revelation. You silence God's binding Word in favor of an itching ear. You replace His statutes with your own and nullify the Word of God...and then you are quick to throw around terms like "Pharisee"?

The cherry that always goes on top of such cruel dullness to what God says is the appeal to 1 Cor 13 (read, I'm certain, to a certain Beatles tune)...and you miss the fact that 1 Corinthians address is to image-conscious "super apostles" and their adherents...Paul wasn't image-conscious....and he seemed to find a correlation between being image-conscious and the embrace of sin...which included sodomy:
1 Cor 6:8-10
8 On the contrary, you yourselves wrong and defraud. You do this even to your brethren.
9 Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived; neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor homosexuals, 10 nor thieves, nor the covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers, will inherit the kingdom of God.

You are a deceiver. You deceive yourself and others and put souls in danger of Hell. Do not be deceived any longer.

Dan Wright,

Where does we start with this ridiculous comment? First, you are making an argument. Duh. You just said that was the tools of the Pharisees. Second, your comment proposes that I have to either a) love God's Word ( you wrongly call this personal beliefs) or b)love those that are enslaved/struggling with sodomy. What makes this second point even sillier is that you argue (remember we aren't suppose to do that) for it on the grounds of Scripture (1 Cor 13). Duh, again. Your comment is parked at the corner of stupidity and hypocrisy.

>>I'm amused by so many of the comments about this song; it's just proof Derek Webb's words hit close to the bone. If this song didn't call you out, then you would have had no need to react and comment with such lusty piosity.

That's one explanation. The other is that a very public Christian is doing more harm than he is good. Webb's primary audience is not Fred Phelps. And the last time I checked, Bullhorn Guy didn't listen to DW. His audience is a bunch of proud college students, 20somethings, and pomo church planters.

I'm a college minister in a college town, and I can't think of a single church in my community to which this song applies. Does Webb have anything prophetic to say to my students on his new album? Yeah, one song: The Spirit & The Kick Drum. That's it. The rest puffs them up.

The truth is that no one is opposing Webb in any intelligent way. That's because the handful who would oppose him likely never hear his music. And those who do hear it have little discernment. On the other hand, I could give you any number of things that Webb could address with his audience that would actually hit home and make him a pariah--starting with calling people to actually speak the truth to practicing sodomites instead of being silenced by the cultural pressure to be politically correct to which Webb has now added his voice. Then he'd be a real prophet.

The greater problem you face in your accusation is that many of the commenters on this blog actually deal with repenting homosexuals, and therefore have (probably? likely? perhaps you'd give me "possibly?") thought about these issues much more deeply than a handful of yuppies with some cool electronics.

I'm sorry about your friend. Surely, though, since you love him, you realize that loving him is not antithetical to speaking the truth to him. Certainly by now you've done a double turn, and can discern between gongs and symbols and those that speak the truth in love, right? You do realize that loving him actually requires you to speak the truth to him, to warn him, to exhort him, to rebuke, admonish, and encourage him, right?

Most who listen to Derek Webb can't. They're just happy to have a justification for never ever ever having to say a hard thing to anyone--except, like Webb and Phelps, the very people who aren't listening. The very people they do not know and love but despise. Which in both cases is a justification for self-love, not real love.

*cymbals

Doh.

Again Who is Derek Webb? Why should I care? What has he done to merit this kind of attention?

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