Home > Church, Faith, God Project > Jesus is also my Boyfriend (Or, How to hit that again the Christian way)

Jesus is also my Boyfriend (Or, How to hit that again the Christian way)

Unsurprisingly, “Jesus is my Boyfriend” garnered some strong reactions.  Very few of them written—there is a comment section, but don’t tell anyone—most of them verbal.  It’s been called borderline blasphemous (if not completely), I’ve been asked to repent, gotten several laughs, and people commenting on how “explicit Christian music has been recently” (yes, their words, unprompted, not mine).  Naturally, we decided to do it again.

I want to do a quick FAQ before we continue.

Jesus is my boyfriend?  Isn’t that a little irreverent of you?  And why do you care?

Jesus is my boyfriend isn’t my term, actually.  I wish it was.  It’s been around since I was born, and Google shows 1,310,000 hits using the Jesus is my boyfriend search term (only 47,000 with quotes around the phrase; this doesn’t include the modifiers “lyrics,” “songs,” and “music” which also are popular to add on at the end).  Is it irreverent?  Yes, but I never claimed not to be (and am okay with being labeled such, just like I’m okay with “heretic” and “apostate”). My issue with these songs are simple: they leave us at a shallow theological/relational/religious place.  They don’t carry you beyond having a crush on Jesus.  And I mean crush.  These songs are about (or come across as) naive, butterfly-in-your-stomach, unending love.  Anyone who’s been in a relationship knows that it is a lot more complicated than that.  People disagree, go different directions, fight, throw things, and yell.  They also surprise each other, make sacrifices for their partner, kiss, sit down and talk it out, throw things, and cry.  “Jesus is my boyfriend” songs, however, don’t acknowledge that reality, and don’t let a person grow beyond that.  Worship music can be used for a lot more than to set the mood, they can teach us about the Bible, doctrines (who hasn’t used Amazing Grace to teach about God’s Grace, and if you haven’t, why not?), and actions.  The “Jesus is my boyfriend” songs have a place in worship sets (the good ones at least) but they shouldn’t dominate them, as is often the case in churches.

This song takes some of lyrics from the Bible!  How can you ridicule it?

Just because it’s Biblical doesn’t mean it is inspired without context.  I strongly believe the Bible only gains meaning and has inspiration because it is a collection of arguments from people struggling to understand how God works.  Their story is our story.   We’re all trying to figure this thing out—life, God, Jesus, religion, and nacho cheese dip.  We can take a verse from the Bible all we want, but one verse doesn’t transcend an argument into the divine, and one verse doesn’t make a song good.  For more on this, read somebody smarter than me: N.T. Wright, “How Can The Bible Be Authorative?”

How can do this and not feel blasphemous?

These are songs written by regular people.  I’m not denying the Trinity, the Cross, the Resurrection, or anything else (including a direct action by the Holy Spirit).  I’m critiquing these songs as art.

But these people wrote these song about their feelings towards God, and you’re belittling their relationship with God.

These are songs written by regular people.  I have no issue or judgments about any of the song-writers relationship to God.  But they wrote songs to be sung by people, and therefore have subjected themselves to the field of art criticism.  We pass criticism on personal art all the time—film and TV, secular music, books, photography, drawings, paintings, radio dramas, and shadow puppets.  Evoking God doesn’t give you a free pass, and neither does playing the emotions card.  All art is created to get across a message, to convey a feeling, and it is subject to criticism on how well the artist succeeded (both in technical and thematic elements).  Criticism isn’t a bad word, in its purest form criticism analyzes what works, what didn’t, how was it interpreted, what needs to be improved on.  Once these songs were put out to the public, they became fair game for criticism.  Both on technical and thematic aspects.

Okay, but how do people outside of our faith view this?  Aren’t you worried how they’re gonna take it?

Actually, the non-Christians (agnostics/atheists/other faiths) have responded positively to this, and haven’t viewed this as an attack on the Christian religion or its beliefs.  Just on what I’ve decided to call the “Christian Industrial Complex”, the stuff created by Christians for other Christians.  It has opened up a lot of great avenues of discussion to explore our beliefs.  The stronger reaction—unsurprisingly—has come from Christian circles.

Are you going to repent?

No.

With that out of the way, here is the follow-up to the critically mixed “Jesus is my boyfriend”!

Revelation Song

Honestly, this is the most uninspiring song, with the most uninspired title, to hit the worship circle in a while.  Apparently, according to gig-performing Jordan, this is capturing the hearts and minds of evangelical worship sessions everywhere.  It makes sense—the world gets Justin Bieber, and us enclave Christians get this song.


(Original: Revelation Song, if you can get through the original without deconverting to Atheism, you win a Heaven.  Also two high schoolers covered Bieber’s “Baby” but changed it to “Jesus”.  The result?  A worship song. Outstanding gentlemen!)

Breathe

By request!


(Original: Breathe)

Trading My Sorrows

Let me make this perfectly clear: if you were offended by our adaptation of “Madly”, or offended in general, do not listen to this song.  If you like “When Harry Met Sally”, listen to this song.  If you’re unsure use these steps to help: (1) Think of this songs chorus; (2) Think about what we’re doing; (3) Lightbulb.

(Original: Trading My Sorrows)

Unfortunately, due to time constraints, this post didn’t go up as soon as planned.  But it was always planned that we would have songs we think should be sung more often at worship services.  Some aren’t your typical worship songs, but that doesn’t mean they don’t have value as teachable elements in Church.  This was one the main points of protest with the last post—overly critical with no suggestion as to change. I’ll take the fall for that one, splitting into two posts seemed great at the time, but the lag time between this post and the last one may have killed the momentum.  Without further ado, here’s what you should be singing.

Stare at the Sun

Why wouldn’t you sing Thrice?


(Original: Stare at the Sun)

Micah 6:8

The only traditional worship song in this list, and something that comes from the Bible which I think holds the same impact it does when you read it in context.  Of note, this song eventually got nixed from my Church’s set list because it was deemed “not congregationally friendly.”  Some of the songs deemed “congregationally friendly” are the altered songs in the last two posts.


(Original: Micah 6:8)

Beggars

Again: Why wouldn’t you sing Thrice?  Just sing their whole catalog and you’ll be much happier.


(Original: Beggars)

Bonus Track!

This is what happens when we mess around, and no, this has no bearing whatsoever on worship.


(Original: The Kill (30 Seconds to Mars) | Audrey and Kelsey’s song, All I Have—yay bonus track!)

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  1. Stacy Mallard
    May 26, 2010 at 8:25 am

    Oooo….I think I actually hate that song (Breathe) more now!! I also “get it” more-good Q & A. I’m afraid to listen to your rendition of “Trading My Sorrows” since I already have issues with getting the giggles in church services now. Heaven knows what might happen the next time I visit a church and this song kicks in!

    I’m sure you’re aware of this, but you know this kind of thing has been around at least 100 years. Consider the old hymns “In The Garden” and “I Will Sing the Wondrous Story”, or “Since Jesus Came Into My Heart”. We as believers (or maybe more just as humans) are so prone to making God smaller and more contained so we can wrap our brains around Him, and it always leads to “shallow theological/relational/religious place(s).” The thought also hits me that these songs seem to come from a very effeminate sensibility.

    It’s funny that no one ever writes songs based on the imprecatory psalms. I’m thinking I’d identify more with them on a lot of days. It could be very cathartic to sing out “But you O Lord will bring down the wicked into the pit of corruption; bloodthirsty and deceitful men..” (wait, this could be Kwame’s theme song!) or “Make them like tumbleweed, O my God, like chaff before the wind!” It seems like songs based out of these themes would have a more masculine bent. Maybe you guys should try it!!

  2. Joe Anderson
    September 29, 2010 at 4:14 pm

    Jesus is my commander; the one who crushes the heads of my enemies and leaves their bodies strewn about. So I sing Psalm 2 and Psalm 110 (and the rest of the Psalms for that matter).

    I like what your doing, but question your judgment on some of the songs you have chosen to satirize. I am not a huge fan of it, but “Indescribable” actually reflects on the glory of God as revealed in creation, not unlike Psalm 148. That song does not seem to be doing what you indicated in your previous post (it is not saying that God is the crystal goblet… which is bad poetry) it is saying that God is glorious because he is the creator of glory.

    Songs like “I want to know you” and “How He Loves” are the ones we should be going after. Like a good parent we should always try to find something to praise, which is to say we should leave the songs that are actually scriptural alone; even if they are not *great* songs.

  3. D
    September 11, 2012 at 3:40 pm

    Oh come on, Barlowgirl and Tenth Avenue North are much, much worse than this. ‘Need You To Love Me’, and ‘Beloved’ (OH MAN BELOVED) being the worst culprits. They’re at the point that people legit use them as love songs. But the way Tenth Avenue North sing they could make ad jingles sound like love songs. To be fair to them, I like both those songs. I also like ‘clothed in rainbows of living colour’.

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