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When Jesus is almost practically your boyfriend

When Jesus is almost practically your boyfriend

Riffing on the odd durability of the “That’s what she said” phenomenon, Lisa Colón DeLay writes that some contemporary worship music treads a thin, hazy line between the love of God and the, er, love of God.

Lyrically, too much is too easily sexualized, she says, and some music just seems to invite that kind of thinking without hindrance:

So now, it seems thousands of words and phrases are hijacked, and church gatherings are not immune to it either. Or, maybe it’s just me. It can be hilarious, dreadful, or just plain embarrassing. Recently, a few worship songs have sort of had their way with me on this, so to speak….

Basically, if a worship song talks about touching, my mind wanders….

The fact is love is risky. God is risky…Obviously risky and risqué has sort of been a fine line in songwriting. But, to be honest, I realize that love can often feel awkward as it gets emotionally deeper. When it starts to change and effect us–and affect us. The awkwardness is part of the path to greater spiritual maturity. (In this case, I’ll let you know for sure when I get there.)

Her point is that the potential sexualization of a relationship with God is an invitation to distraction. The mind wanders, and how one gets back on track in a worship context is anyone’s guess.

Last week, I sat with a singer-songwriter in Nashville for a day and pondered the art of preaching through the lens of songwriting. She talked about a time in her past of sitting down with the producers of contemporary Christian music. They would say to her, Write a song that’s about Jesus but could also be about your boyfriend. So we know we aren’t imagining things.

Obviously thorny territory. What say you?


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Adam Wood FTW!

[What is it about those Carmelites? From Teresa de Jesus’s “tranverberations” to Juan de la Cruz’s prelude to “Dark Night of the Soul”: ALL about the smexy times w/ God! :-0]

JC Fisher

Benedict Varnum

To do a minute’s apologetics, the evangelical charge to “write a song about Jesus that could also be about your boyfriend” isn’t supposed to mean “write a sappy song about Jesus.” Instead, it’s connected to a theology that your most intimate relationship in life can be with God, and this comes through Jesus’s humanity. (We incarnation-loving Anglicans ought to be fine with at least half of that)

The trick to their charge is an assumption that most people don’t spend much of their day in theological contemplation. The intimacy they DO know? Romance.

Back when I was studying Greek, we’d often laugh about how little any of us were trained in English grammar. Sure, there IS a subjunctive (“If I WERE to write that . . .” vs “If I WAS to write that . . .”), but we don’t know to call it that. Fewer and fewer of us can even use it properly. Where do Americans learn grammar these days? When they study a foreign language. Where do Christians learn about the intimacy of relationship with God?

I’m not sure that setting the imagination to work on whether it is or isn’t like a relationship with your boyfriend or your brother is a bad thing.

The REAL thing I think needs work is the tools the average person has available to think theologically. I’d rather have a provocative pseudo-romantic praise song than a hymn people sing on autopilot.

But we’re the denomination ridiculed by Eddie Izzard; can’t we have our cake and eat it too?


Uhh, doesn’t anyone here watch South Park? This was the exact story line they used when Cartman decided to make a best selling Christian album by taking pop love songs and substituting the name ‘Jesus.’

Mariette Knoblauch

The Simpsons commented on this:

“Christian rock’s just like regular rock; you just replace the word “Jesus” with “baby”.

Adam Wood

Let’s not forget the Song of Songs…

“Let him kiss me with the kisses of his mouth.”

“Let my beloved come into his garden and taste choice fruits.”

“I have taken off my robe… My beloved thrust his hand through the opening, my heart pounded for him… I opened for my beloved.”

The problem is not the sexualization of the Divine. The problem is the desecration of sexuality.

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