Theology for the Long Haul

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Travel Plaza Tuesdays: When What We Say is a Little Bit Gray: Part 1

In my high school year book I was voted most opinionated. It was a polite way to say I busted everyone’s chops and would most likely end up forty-five, some kind of activist, and single (boy, I showed them). I don’t like being such a dogmatic person. I work hard to shake it off.

You probably know what’s coming.

I’m about to get opinionated about something. The reason I hesitate is opinions are often rooted in being against something—and that usually ends in some sort of criticism. And while overpriced grocery stores and other common targets of my criticisms can afford to take a hit now and then, the church has been criticized within an inch of her life over the last few years. And quite frankly, we should look for ways to give her some credits instead of the continual withdrawals. So I want to be careful when I say…

There is a song played on Christian radio that bugs the heck out of me. I recognize the musical lead-in and switch the station before I have to hear a word of the lyrics, which start like this:

Give me rules, I will break them
Show me lines, I will cross them
I need more than a truth to believe
I need a truth that lives, moves, and breathes
To sweep me off my feet, it’s gotta be

Having no idea who wrote the song, I googled part of the chorus. In my googling, I discovered a wonderful website The Rabbit Room. On it are some blog posts written by Jason Gray explaining the criticisms he received for his song, “More Like Falling in Love”. Despite my extreme dislike for the song, I immediately had an affinity for Gray. Similar to me, he has a love of words, ie. he likes to use a lot of them. His blog posts are incredibly long, rivaled only by the length of his comment responses.

Proven by the 160-some comments on his post, Gray has gotten a lot of push back on the song. (It should be said that a huge chunk the comments were from ultra-Calvinists who were—well, doing what ultra-Calvinists do best and I won’t even bother going into it). As I hit the scroll button again and again (and again) to read what Gray had to say about the lyrics, I realized he’d fallen into a familiar pit: when you’ve said or done something people have a problem with, and now you begin to attempt to explain yourself in a hundred different ways. You mount a defense, using analogies, metaphors, and every bit of literary arsenal to explain how you were really trying to say this, not that, and so on and so forth. Been there Mister Gray. About fifty-million times. And now experience has taught me that if I say something and a large amount of people draw the same conclusion about what was said, I can’t continue to argue they heard me wrong. In humility I have to admit that I did a shoddy job of communicating and retract whatever I said. I think Gray would be wise to do this. However, I understand it is hard to renege on a song currently on the top 20 Christian music charts.

Tomorrow I’m going to write about the song “More Like Falling in Love” and the problems I have with the message it conveys, even if unintended.
It’s rooted in opinions, those pesky things that plague me.

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