Sometimes it's best not to know everything "they're" talking about, regardless of who "they" happens to be.
Derek Webb, on/off/on-again/off-again/on again? lead singer for Caedmon's Call, has just digitally released his newest, highly anticipated and apparently label disconcerting solo album, Stockholm Syndrome. Interesting title, especially when you consider what it means.
I follow Derek on Twitter, and when I saw this tweet back in May, I followed the link to his site and realized trouble was a' brewin' (that link is now directed to his store). On a polemically-littered path seeded with contention, there appears to be dispute between he and his record label over inclusion of a song or two. It's not difficult to figure out at least one of them….
I like people with conviction. I applaud those who seek God in choosing their mountains to die on. I'm grateful for those who speak on behalf of those whose voice is marginalized or non-existent.
That's pretty much how I see Derek. I wrote about him forever ago and this–
fruit of that tree, you will not surely die’ and that Jesus Christ was
a white, middle-class republican and if you wanna be saved you have to
learn to be like Him” (from "A King & A Kingdom”, album Mockingbird)
remains one of my favorite lines in the history of music.
The dubitable nature of the album's birth, coupled with management-eyes blinded to Webb Vision, compelled me to listen to the tempestuously controversial "What Matters More?"
And then, oddly, I thought of Prince's "Controversy" from back in the day…interesting juxtaposition, no?
Feel free to chime in…I'm especially curious about your response to "What Matters More".
If you're interested in purchasing Stockholm Syndrome prior to its official September release, Derek has even been creative with tiered options.
this theme touches on so much more than his specific subject matter. it can be applied to any situation in which an individual is being controlled by someone in a more powerful position. the methods used to control can be violence, humiliation, degradation, shame, etc…
no matter the means, the real harm is done when the stockholm syndrome manifests itself and the “victim” tries to gain acceptance from the perpetrator by giving up his true identity in small, seemingly inconsequential, bits and pieces until what is left on the outside hardly resembles what is the true person suffocating on the inside. it is this self-betrayal that torments the soul more than any abuse by someone else. as an adult now, trying to shed the layers of childhood abuse, it is crucial to dig until i find the truth of what matters more.
Such a difficult subject. There’s so much misunderstanding out there. I’ve known people kicked out and rejected by their own (supposedly Chrisitian) families for being gay, certainly that cannot be how Jesus wants us to behave. Then, on the other side, if you believe it is sinful, it wouldn’t be a behavior you would want to promote. The Catholic Church believes that homosexuals are called to a life of celibacy. I think the danger comes when people try to seperate themselves from other sinners, reveling in the pride of not being “like them.” If we are being honest, we acknowledge our own inability follow God’s laws. Ya know, the plank in my eye, the sliver in yours. Judgement belongs to God. If you go to the gospels, it’s pretty clear that Jesus puts a pretty high priority on loving one another.
Man, all that is so much easier said than done.
I have to confess that I do not like Derek’s music, attitude or style. It all seems like he’s crying about problems rather than offering loving REAL encouragement to anyone who might be in similar situations. For someone with so much potential, he sure seems eather negative and full of angst. Life is hard enough without having to listen to someone sing about it.
sigh….honestly, my from-the-gut reaction is shock. I know…that’s the point. And sometimes that can be good. Just a couple Sundays ago, during our mission’s time, they were some photos showed of some very sick kids and a truckload (blurred) of dead children picked up off the street. Shocking, yes, but for a good reason. I honestly don’t know why he felt compelled to use four letter words. And truely, I’m not sure what his point was. I wish I could ask him in person. Am I supposed to be saying homosexuality is okay? I’ve commited just as bad sins (gossip, rebellion, lying, hate, etc), but they would have sent me to hell if someone hadn’t told me about Jesus. I’m assuming that’s not his point, but I feel like one more person (among the many in our media) is telling me to shut up, just let them “go to hell” literally. And the easy answer, just call me hateful. I know I sound emotional. I grew up listening to Caemond’s Call and it was very impactfull for me. It’s never comfortable (although good, I know) to have your idols knocked down. Sending this with prayer, hoping I’m conveying the message that was intended. I love you, girl!
I’m a little confused by one of the comments above as I didn’t see any four-letter words in the lyrics that anyone would object to. Did I miss something? Eh, those kind of words don’t bother me on their own anyway. It’s all about context and how they’re used.
I really don’t like the style of music at all, but I’m sure that’s not what is most important to you. (I’m not a huge Prince fan either.) As for the subject matter, that doesn’t offend me. It’s something I’ve been thinking about a lot lately and considered writing a post about. I just don’t know how that would be received–or if I care.
Here’s my stance on homosexuality. I don’t believe people are born homosexual. We have a choice in everything. I believe it’s a sin, plain and simple. However, I don’t know that there are specific levels of sin. Is one person’s lie better than another person’s homosexuality? Didn’t Jesus Christ die for *all* of our sins? (Not that we should continue sinning because we know we are forgiven!)
What does the Bible say about homosexuality in particular? So many people read (and blast phrases from) Romans 1, but they fail to read it within the context. Do they ever get to chapter 2 or do they skip that because it’s inconvenient for them?
Here’s what I know. As Christians we are supposed to be “imitators of God as dear children”. For God so loved the world. The Bible is full of examples of how we are to live and walk and love. Jesus Christ was the perfect example of that. Did he tell people who were sinning that it was okay to continue in their sin? No, but neither did he treat them with hatred and brutality. He laid down his life for our sins. Jesus Christ loved. God loved. As I see it, it is our job as Christians to LOVE. Romans 2:4 says:
“Or despisest thou the riches of his goodness and forbearance and longsuffering; not knowing that the goodness of God leadeth thee to repentance?”
It’s the *goodness* of God that leads men to repentance, not our judgment or preaching of hellfire and brimstone.
We may hate the sin, but we should love the sinner. The sin is the works of the flesh. We need to learn to look on the heart as God does and work with that. As the heart is changed, it opens up the possibility for the rest to change. Concentrating on the outward realities and preaching sin only drives a person deeper into that sin. I’ve seen too many people turned off from Christianity and usually it boils down to one thing: no love.
Just one thing to add to the discussion. If you heard this song on the radio and didn’t know the story behind the controversy, what would you think of it? I suspect I’d be forced to consider the lyrics and the meaning and I would probably share the song with a friend and then together we’d think about the message and I can’t imagine walking away with a bitter taste, but rather with an affirming nod at the very least, because the question forces me to ponder a question that is indeed critical to my faith: What does matter most?
Following that line of thinking, does the fact that this is coming from a Christian who (gasp) swears right there in front of God’n’everyone make the provocative truth any less true?
I know the arguments that are lining up in response to my thoughts – and I welcome them. But if we’re quick to judge or dismiss something that invites contemplation of the heart’s motives simply because that “something” makes us uncomfortable, I have to wonder what other possible truths we’re missing out on because we’re afraid to engage with the harder questions.
I’m intrigued by this post, as I followed Caedmon’s Call a long while ago (I still love the Lead of Love like it was released yesterday!), but had no idea that Derek Webb had any controversy brewing. I don’t want to weigh in with an opinion, just to thank you Robin for highlighting an interesting subject that gave me some food for thought…
Oh, My, Robin!!
I have known Derek and his brother (a physician I used to work with) and the members of Caedmon’s Call from waayyy back in their early days of performing at 20-person Bible studies to larger college venues to the ginormous Metro Bible Study at Houston’s First Baptist Church to their first indie album and forward. Former bass player for the band Aric Nitzberg still gigs with my dad from time to time.
Derek is someone who has always stood by his convictions, and he’s never been afraid of the shock value. I think this album was inevitable, and if you listen carefully to the lyrics if his early song Bus Driver you’ll understand that he’s been headed in this direction for a long time.
Here’s are some of his points that he has been trying to make for years:
— Aren’t we all children of God regardless of anything?
— Didn’t Jesus say, “Those without sin throw the first stone?
— Didn’t Jesus make no distinction among sins of any kind meaning none are worse than any others and all sin is sin?
— Didn’t Jesus make it clear at the temple that He has a temper of His own?
— Isn’t it clear that “all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God”?
— When one of us is hurting, shouldn’t we all feel the pain?
It surprises me not that Derek has found controversy in his work and art.
And I’m sure that it surprises Derek not that some folks are completely turned off by what he’s saying. I think that’s totally another implication of his title Stockholm Syndrome.
Anyway, I still love Derek and his family, and I understand his drive to do this and put out this message in this controversial way.
Thanks for highlighting this, Robin!
look at it like this…you are a kid…you know you are gay…yet somehow you end up involved with the very group of people who think you are some sort of an abomination……how is this explained….stockholm syndrome could explain it. has this guy lived until now looking for acceptance from the very people who label him a sinner simply for being who he is…..if this could be thought of in terms of stockholm syndrome, who is the kidnapper and who is the prisoner??
Robin…why do you insist on pushing my buttons?!
I do not know this artist personally and cannot assume his motivations. I can, biblically, judge his words and deeds. I find them pretty “damn reckless.” I agree, reducing Christianity to gay versus straight is a distraction. Unfortunately, I think Derek Webb joined that club with this song.
We are all born sinners. I would even begrudgingly agree that some of us are born with a propensity towards a particular type of sin despite our environment. So what? We are born into sin and need to be saved from its power and ultimate destination…hell. An eternity separated from God. There is no “debating” that Christ came to save the lost. Those who live a life characterized by sin are lost. They are dead spiritually. Homosexuality is just one of the million sins that make us an enemy of God. Remember, you are only a child of God when you realize you are lost in sin and willingly trade your will for His.
What matters most? Life and death. Sharing The Life found in knowing and relying on Jesus in your day to day life. This is true love. If we don’t share it, people will continue in a spiritual death for eternity. Sharing that Life always includes the recognition of sin. Thats what repentance starts with. Remember the message Jesus came with? “Repent, the kingdom of God is at hand.”
We have to stop victimizing sinners of all kinds…it is killing them.
What Dawn said!! 🙂 I’d only change one thing and not use the “d***” in front of reckless 🙂 (lol)
Even though we try to live in a world of “everything goes” that is not the Biblical way.
I wasn’t aware of the controversy until this post, and perhaps I’m just dense, but I didn’t “get” what he was saying until I read the words several times and read a lot of the comments. I wasn’t sure who he was “yelling” at initially.
I don’t think this song is a solution to what he thinks the problem is. The way I read it, he’s being just as “unloving” as he claims others are.
Regardless, I don’t like to listen to songs that will leave words/thoughts in my head that aren’t pleasant, so this one won’t be on rotation in my car.
Thanks for saying what I tried and failed to say! You said it so much better than I!
I think it’s pretty amazing, and a brilliant commentary on the bizarre American evangelical Christian subculture in which too many people are more worried about the use of the word “damn” in a rock song and obsessed with deciding which categories of people (all of whom are, Biblically, be created in the image of Go)d are or aren’t worthy of God’s grace than it is with caring for the tens of thousands of children who die of preventable causes each day. You want to know why Christianity becomes completely irrelevant for millions more people each year? Webb has summed it up very well: it’s the Christian culture that has taken the place of the Gospel.
thats a blink 182 song
Weird! Didn’t like it!
Not because I’m cynical and unable to “get” his important message!
But…because he obviously felt so passionate about it that he stepped over some Christlike boundary lines.
Christ never would speak his message in that context….so who are we to think we’re making an impact by blurting out expletives? RIDICULOUS!
And for anyone who isn’t offended by foul language….is that how you want your pastor to speak from the pulpit? Umm, not me!
I’m just sayin!
If I wanted to listen to cursing/lyrics….I’d just play some Emenim or some wild OVERPAID rapper on the HOT LIST music genre now.
I think it’s just out there!