May 21, 2006

Whose Jesus, indeed…

Filed under: Uncategorized — Brian @ 7:40 pm

Eric Siegmund posted about a song called “My Jesus” making the rounds on Christian radio. The lyrics are here

Eric called out this part as being not to his liking:

Cause my Jesus would never be accepted in my church
The blood and dirt on His feet might stain the carpet
But He reached for the hurting and despises the proud
I think He’d prefer Beal St. to the stained glass crowd…

(I swear that when I hear this song, it’s “High Street,” and not “Beale Street.” High Street is the main north-south street through Columbus, Ohio – where the radio station I hear the song is based…)

Anyhow – I understand a distaste for the song. It’s is more than a little presumptuous to claim Him for one’s self. Eric put it better than I would have…

…whenever I hear someone begin a sentence with the words “My Jesus,” it raises a red flag, because what often follows would be better expressed as “Here’s how I imbue Jesus with my stereotypes, biases, and preconceived notions.”

But it got me to thinking. I like the song, pomposity aside. I was wondering why I wasn’t bothered by it as much as some others were, and here’s my theory:

First, it’s important to know that I’m a relatively “new” Christian. After much thought and consideration, I was baptized and joined my church just this past January.

OK – now here’s the theory: maybe a song like “My Jesus” is a better song for new Christians than for more experienced ones. When Todd Agnew sings, “If Ephesians says to imitate Christ / Why do you look so much like the world?” I hear that as an honest question I should ask myself. I don’t hear the singer saying that he knows Jesus better than I do – though he very well may. For me, it’s a thought-provoker, and I need those.

And maybe – once I’ve read the whole Bible a few times, and lived through more of life through that lens; once I’ve more consistently and consciously tried to apply His teachings, and more fully and habitually put my wants behind His — maybe then I’ll be turned off by things like this. Maybe then the dissing of the Church (the “stained-glass crowd”) will bother me more than the questions will help me, and I won’t much care for songs like this anymore.

I don’t know. I am a beginner, here. And I’ve been a beginner at enough things to know that most look different after some experience. Maybe this is one of those things.

Just thinking out loud, here.



  1. Eric is a more seasoned, mature Christian than I am, as well, and you make a valid point that things look different with experience. I think the distaste for “My Jesus” comes less from its pomposity and more from its implication of moral relativism, the idea that somehow my Jesus is different than your Jesus, that what goes for me may or may not go for you, and all that jazz. At least that’s where my distaste for the title and understanding of that portion of Eric’s post took me. And where I appreciate the message Todd is making in the song, as I understand it (that the “stained glass crowd” needs to focus on Jesus and not the material things of the world), I think one of the problems with moral relativism is that we fight such messages everyday. They are sometimes inadvertent, as perhaps in this song, but they are everywhere in our culture and it’s chipping away at our moral fabric. It points away from The Truth and leads people to believe that there are many Truths. I’m glad you carried on the discussion. It’s funny how everyone does get something different out of it.

    Comment by Gwynne — May 22, 2006 @ 1:31 am

  2. The “moral relativism” is a part I hadn’t put much thought into. I guess I see the singer as a more experienced Christian than I am, and I’m interested to hear his perspective. …as I am from my pastor, and from Eric and Jim and you, Gwynne, and others who know this stuff better than I do. But I see what you’re saying, and I’m grateful that you are willing to share it.

    It’s all the more interesting when I hear a different take on something like this song that I saw as somewhat pretentious, but mostly innocuous. It reminds me that there’s more to learn, and that the perspective I have now isn’t “correct” in the strict sense of the word. Even if it is appropriate for where I am – it’s not the whole thing.

    And for me, it’s *such* an exciting lesson. I can tell that I’ll never understand it all, but that just makes me want to try even more.

    There is so much more to all of This than I ever realized. It’s amazing.

    Thanks, Gwynne, for your thoughts. I have been thinking about this a lot since Eric’s post, and it’s good to add your perspective to it all.


    Comment by Brian — May 22, 2006 @ 9:39 pm

  3. I appreciate your insight, too, Brian. Without the help of others, our progress toward the “correct” perspective would be even more stunted (I hope you didn’t hear me saying that I have the “correct” perspective already or that the messages you walked away with, from that song, were wrong ;-). I hadn’t even thought about the pretentious aspect and so, was just offering up what thoughts I did have. It is an amazing journey and we’re all just on different parts of the path.

    Comment by Gwynne — May 23, 2006 @ 2:05 am

  4. Not at all, Gwynne. :-)

    Comment by Brian — May 23, 2006 @ 6:12 am

  5. I’ve been preoccupied with other stuff so I’m late to the party that I guess I sort of started…but I’m glad to see that it has actually thrived in my absence. 8-)

    I’m enjoying seeing the different perspectives and watching the discussion evolve. These discussions are important and helpful to all of us, whether we’re new Christians or, um, “more seasoned, mature” (which is Gwynne’s polite way of pointing out that I’m older than dirt). Despite what she seems to think, though, I know nothing. And I’m looking forward to the time when I’ll know everything. Until then, this kind of thing is pretty cool.

    Comment by Eric — May 23, 2006 @ 7:47 pm

  6. Heh. Why did I know that Eric would accuse me of calling him “old?” But there’s no hiding the fact that he’s a wise guy (in more ways than one). ;-) Heck, I’m just looking forward to the day when I’ll know something.

    Comment by Gwynne — May 23, 2006 @ 9:56 pm

  7. I’m enjoying this one, too. Now, when I listen to the songs on the radio, I’m thinking more about the lyrics (it’s easy for me to just focus on the musical part and lose the poetry part – I am often surprised at the words in new songs I like).

    Gwynne – you’ll notice that in the original post, I used “more experienced” as the opposite of “old,” myself. I like that you got called on it and I didn’t. :-)

    Hmm. Where’s that “close comments” button…

    Comment by Brian — May 24, 2006 @ 6:20 am

  8. Gwynne gets no slack because there’s not that much difference in our ages. ;-)

    Comment by Eric — May 24, 2006 @ 12:10 pm

  9. Right. Just a decade or so, give or take. ;-)

    Comment by Gwynne — May 24, 2006 @ 5:56 pm

  10. Oooh…I sense a nerve… ;-)

    Comment by Eric — May 24, 2006 @ 8:31 pm

  11. This is fun!

    Comment by Brian — May 24, 2006 @ 9:16 pm

  12. Isn’t that what Marie Antoinette said as she knelt for what she thought was a fitting for a new jewel-encrusted necklace?

    Comment by Eric — May 25, 2006 @ 8:31 am

  13. I don’t know, Eric. That was a little before my time.

    I’ll take your word for it, though…

    Comment by Brian — May 25, 2006 @ 9:33 am

  14. Oooh…I sense a nerve

    Nah, I’m not old enough to be sensitive about my age. ;-) I was just stating facts. 8-}

    Comment by Gwynne — May 25, 2006 @ 10:03 am

  15. Brian, I’m sorry we’ve digressed significantly from your original post. Maybe we should start over?

    Comment by Gwynne — May 25, 2006 @ 10:04 am

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