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“Jesus is my boyfriend” music

November 26, 2007

Tonight, we must have repeated the chorus “I could sing of your love forever” until I finally just sat down in absolute disgust. Arghhhh! Amazingly the “worship leader” and the band just continued to play and sing, seemingly happy to be punishing everyone with eight to ten repetitions of each chorus. The only positive was that we sang most of the “Jesus is my boyfriend” songs after my message…not before.

You know, it’s one thing to sing songs like “Great is Thy Faithfulness” or “In Christ Alone,” because they are composed of realities that are rooted deep within the pages of Scripture. I can sing them even when life sucks and even when I don’t “feel” particularly like worshiping God at the moment, simply because I’m singing Truth. The Apostle Paul said, “Some indeed preach Christ from envy and rivalry, but others from good will.…whether in pretense or in truth, Christ is proclaimed, and in that I rejoice” (Philippians 1:15, 18).

But I just despise being forced to sing about my faithfulness and piety and passion for God expressed in so many contemporary Christian songs. For example, how many of us can honestly sing, “Jesus, I will never let you go” (from Jesus Lover of My Soul, by Hillsongs), especially these lines:

I love You, I need You
Though my world may fall, I’ll never let You go
My Savior, my closest friend
I will worship You until the very end

Talk about singing way above our experience. The song’s completely bassackward! He’ll never let us go, not the other way around. And this is supposed to be praise and worship? Of whom? Us, no doubt.

I can’t wait to be delivered from these things! Thankfully, I’m not the pastor of this local church, but I do get tapped to preach from time to time. For some time now, I have been looking for a way to transition out of the “Sunday morning religious club,” as Wayne Jacobsen puts it, to living a simple Christian life alongside other passionate followers of Jesus Christ. There are extenuating circumstances that prevent me from making the break sooner; otherwise, I think I would have left the “institutional church” a long time ago.

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8 Comments leave one →
  1. Tim M permalink
    December 28, 2007 4:51 pm

    ya that really bugs me too. “I could sing of your love forever?” HA! Then why do I only sing of it one hour a week?

    My wife and I also hate it when our P&W songs say things like “I’m falling on my knees, offering all of me…”

    We’re NOT falling on our knees, we are standing, maybe lifting our hands IF WE’RE REALLY BRAVE! It just makes a sometimes forced experience feel even more plastic to be singing about something im not doing. I guess I could literally fall on my knees right there as the song played, but i think that would be even more plastic.

    anyway, cool blog nice read.

  2. February 8, 2008 7:06 am

    Great post. I’ve thought the same myself. I’m a recovering worship junkie. I was hooked on the emo of it all, it helped keep my delusion alive.

  3. kmillard permalink
    April 9, 2008 3:31 am

    this is a really great point, i have never even thought of this before.
    i just came upon the song “In Christ Alone” here recently and thought it was really great. I just have to wonder, does most of the church even understand what it means?

  4. April 9, 2008 11:47 pm

    Oh my gosh, I could have written this word for word (well, if I were a good writer — I guess what I should say is that I could have made the same point in a rambling way). 🙂

    I used to be an atheist and when I would hear this type music it made me feel like God was kind of a light, happy-clappy concept. Now that I’m a believer it just seems so disrespectful to praise God in this way. I know that that’s not how the people mean it – I’m sure the writers and those who sing it mean well – but, like you say, if it’s hard to distinguish whether a song is about someone’s boyfriend or our Lord and Savior, it might not be respectful.

    Great post.

  5. Todd permalink
    May 6, 2008 7:02 pm

    I think I am going to visit all of these posts and find bitter, complaining type responses. I wrote a longer comment about the emergent church in general on the “week in the life” blog.

    Again, the author of the blog is on track with truths, but the attitude is very much one of irritation, aloofness, arrogance, and annoyance.

    Question: Which is a characteristic BEST known of the Emergent Church participant:

    A) Humility
    B) Patience
    C) Irritation
    D) Goodness

    Answer: “C”

  6. Bill permalink
    May 6, 2008 11:12 pm

    Todd: I don’t know why you are using the term “emergent church” in your comments, because no one here has mentioned being EC. You might as well accuse us of being goddess worshippers as being EC. Go ahead, use the search tool. You’re the first one who has ever mentioned it on this blog.

    As for me, I have always remained clearly within the right-wing, conservative, evangelical movement within Christianity. This particular blog article arises from my passion for God-centered worship among believers, rather than the silly choruses that could just as easily be sung to one’s girlfriend with very little change of wording. I’m really sorry that my outrage strikes you as nothing more than “irritation, aloofness, arrogance, and annoyance.”

    I cannot control the tone of those who comment here, as I maintain a fairly open policy for comments.

  7. Mike permalink
    June 22, 2008 5:57 am

    There are many hymns that I am not able to sing truthfully as well. “I Love to Tell the Story”, really? If you loved something you would do it all the time, right? But do we “Tell the Story of Jesus and His Love” so much that we can say we love to do it?

    “How Great Thou Art”, What are we actually singing about in this song? Is it just the writer’s experience, or does this really happen to us when we look at creation that “our soul sings” out to God? A lot hymns are not sung “to God” but are about the writer’s experience with God, and then we just sing that.

  8. admin permalink
    July 8, 2008 8:47 am

    You’re absolutely right, Mike! The same thing applies to the sickly sweet hymns and spirituals that have been written since the late 1800’s. “In the Garden” comes to mind: why in the world do we allow such sentimental junk in our church hymnals?

    Years ago when I worked as the clubhouse manager (pastor) of a local religious establishment, I actually took a copy of our denominational hymnal and put a large “X” across the pages of inappropriate songs. That hymnal was then given to our volunteer choir director as a guide in choosing music for our corporate gatherings. I wish that a hidden camera could have recorded his reaction as he flipped through its pages.

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