Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Jesus, I just wanna thank you....

I've discovered innumerable benefits to a theological education during my three years in divinity school. But there are also some serious drawbacks. For instance, you can never attend a dinner party for the rest of your life without being asked to say the blessing. Even worse than that, is the fact my theological education has forever ruined me for the evangelical praise music of my high school days. None of the songs which I sang so passionately in my high school youth group make sense any more, given all the things I now know about The Bible, theology and the church. Whenever I try to go back and sing old classics such as this one:

The nails in Your hands, the nails in Your feet, they tell me how much You love me ...

I just can't stomach it and feel the need to immediately initiate an ecumenical dialogue about the dangers of substitutionary atonement theology.

Or this one:

Better is one day in Your courts, better is one day in Your house, better is one day in Your courts than thousands elsewhere …

which scares me with its hierarchical rhetoric and tendency toward disengagement from the world. It seems that the ideology of most evangelical praise music boils down to “I just want to thank You, King Jesus, for the blood, the blood, the blood.” But while the colloquial language is easy and welcoming it can't possibly outweigh the problematic perspective that undergirds it.
I've tried composing my own praise music with more theologically appropriately lyrics but “justification by faith alone” doesn't fit easily into the meter of much contemporary music while songs about the triune God and Jesus as a political dissident don't inspire the kind of emotion I'm looking for. For now I'll have to settle for my friend's composition:

Homoousias*, we love You, we just wanna let You know. We're Your people, we love You. Three persons, one God, today.

*Greek for “of the same substance”

Anyone recognize the once famous Christian rocker above? Bonus points if you can name a song by him from the 1990s!

1 comment:

  1. "the blood, the blood, the blood." I can hear you singing it into your fork at dinner!