Broken-down Poetry: What Matters More


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Saturday, August 15, 2009

What Matters More

I wanted to quote this song in my facebook status, but I thought it'd stir up more controversy than conviction. So I thought I'd blog about it instead.

Derek Webb (musican/activitist) released his new album digitally -- and with it came a lot of drama. He wrote a song called "What Matters More" that not only speaks blatently against the Christian tendency to condemn homosexuals, but also uses two whole cuss words. (GASP!)

So, like I said, instead of just posting the lyrics so we can gawk at them (or nod in agreement), let's discuss them. Yes, you and me. (Okay, just me. This is a one-way blog, after all.)

You say you always treat people like you like to be
I guess you love being hated for your sexuality
You love when people put words in your mouth
'Bout 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 silently consent when the liars speak
Denyin' all the dyin' of the remedy

What if we treated people the way we wanted to be treated? No really, what if we actually followed the golden rule? What if we stopped using the word "gay" as a synonym for stupid?

After reading The Unlikely Disciple by Kevin Roose, I started noticing how often people use "gay" to mean all these negative things. And after reading that book, it started getting on my nerves. Gosh, whether or not we believe it's God's will for guys to like guys and girls to like girls, we have no excuse to mock their lifestyle by turning it into a cuss word.

I believe that the greatest two commandments are to love God and to love others. And to love others, I think that means to treat them with respect.

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

And here's the question: What matters more to God, do you think? That people know what they're doing is wrong or that they can be offered freedom through Christ?

And what makes us think that telling people they're living in sin will bring them any closer to the cross of Christ?

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 straight is all it's about
It looks like being hated for all the wrong things
Like chasin' the wind while the pendulum swings

Again, the first two lines hold the punch. Why are we Christians known for our anti-homosexuality more than for our loving kindness and mercy? Does this seem right at all?!

I know that God is a God of justice. I know that he HATES sin so, so much ... but I also believe that there's grace. And I believe that it's offered freely. And that I sin. And that you sin. And that God cloaks us with his grace, if we accept it.

I believe there's forgiveness.

And I believe we should be talking about this more than anything else, friends. More than anything.

VERSE 2.5:
'Cause we can talk and debate until we're blue in the face
About the language and tradition that he's comin' to save
Meanwhile we sit just like we don't give a shit
About 50,000 people who are dyin' today

Lines 3-4 were taken from a Tony Campolo quote that says, "I have three things I'd like to say today: First, while you were sleeping last night, 30,000 kids died of starvation or diseases related to malnutrition. Second, most of you don't give a shit. What's worse is that you're more upset with the fact that I said shit than the fact that 30,000 kids died last night" ("The Positive Prophet," Christianity Today).

I think of chapter 12 of Lord, Save Us From Your Followers when documentarian Dan Merchant creates a confession booth like Don Miller did in Blue Like Jazz. But Merchant created it at a gay-pride festival.

Merchant sits in this booth apologizing for the way the Church has acted toward the gay community. He apologizes for gay jokes and for lack of help with the AIDS epidemic. He apologizes for not showing Christ's love.

And he's forgiven.

Everyone he talks to forgives him.

Are we that forgiving?

(I do say it's a beautiful chapter - all of it. I remember reading it early last school year, late at night, wanting to cry and to build my own booth.)

The chapter concludes with a quote from none other than Tony Campolo. He says, "You don't have to legitimate someone's lifestyle in order to love that person, to be brother or sister to that person and then stand up for that person."

And I conclude my blog with the words of Jesus Christ:

"I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me." Matthew 25:40

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