David and Jesus and I make three
Singing “Oh my God, why have you forsaken me’
They got happy endings as you might expect
But I’m stuck here between the now and the not-yet
I posted my most recent new song last week, Fingernails, which is the kind of “no punches pulled” song that I’ve been trying to write since I came up with I Got Lost last Feb. A friend was kind enough to email me saying
“I respect your courage in writing emotionally complex songs about faith. A lot of the Christian music that’s found its way to my ears over the years has been really dead-simple and unquestioning, and it rings false—but I clearly hear a human voice and a mind at work in this one. I hear conflict and complexity”.
Not to toot my own horn but it made me reflect on the irony that the Psalms is full of a gut-wrenching emotional honesty that contemporary Christian music seems largely devoid of. I’ve had nearly 18 months of working through a kind of self censorship ‘you can’t say THAT in a song’ that I must have just breathed in from the Christian sub culture.
In another song that is less personal – Everything Is Broken, I wrote about all the brokenness due to the fall we see in nature, relationships, governments – everything. The final verse ends
I start to understand as he breaks the bread
Red wine burning deep into my chest
You said “This is my body”
And your body just like everything was…broken
and with the ray of hope that God does not stand outside our pain but is intimately involved and shares our suffering the song switches to the major key for the first time. But I felt at the time the pressure to tie everything up with a neat bow. To explain how God will wipe away every tear, make sense of it all, provide answers, bring redemption.
But life isn’t like that in the here and now. It takes the Bible over a thousand pages to get to ‘and they all lived happily ever after’. A good preacher can lay it all out in 30 minutes. Why do we expect every three minute pop song to cram in everything that needs to be said?
What do you think?