“Good, Good Father” is a Bad, Bad Song. That’s What It Is.

“Good, Good Father” is a Bad, Bad Song. That’s What It Is. June 20, 2020

Seriously, folks, if your church is doing “Good, Good Father” tomorrow, you need a new church. You really do. You really do. You really do.

Never mind that Father’s Day shouldn’t intrude on the church. Jesus made that clear enough by saying “Who is my mother, and who are my brothers?” comment.

But this song is a crappy, crappy song. That’s what it is. And if it weren’t for evangelical Christianity’s obsession with warm fuzzy pseudo worship, it would’ve gone unnoticed upon release.

Is it really that bad?

Yes, it is.

Here’s how it goes…

Oh, I’ve heard a thousand stories of what they think you’re like
But I’ve heard the tender whispers of love in the dead of night
And you tell me that you’re pleased
And that I’m never alone

You’re a Good, Good Father
It’s who you are, it’s who you are, it’s who you are
And I’m loved by you
It’s who I am, it’s who I am, it’s who I am

Oh, and I’ve seen many searching for answers far and wide
But I know we’re all searching
For answers only you provide
‘Cause you know just what we need
Before we say a word

You’re a Good, Good Father…

’cause you are perfect in all of your ways
You are perfect in all of your ways
You are perfect in all of your ways to us

You are perfect in all of your ways
You are perfect in all of your ways
You are perfect in all of your ways to us

Oh, it’s love so undeniable
I, I can hardly speak

Peace so unexplainable
I, I can hardly think

As you call me deeper still
Into love, love, love

You’re a Good, Good Father…

You’re a Good, Good Father…

It’s completely narcissistic.

Of course, any song that says practically nothing about God’s character tends to drift toward narcissism. But this one begins and ends with us. The “thousand stories” we might have heard don’t matter, since we’ve heard whispers of love in “the dead of night” (creepy!). Consider the unabashed arrogance here! The witness of the saints is disregarded for the way we experience God.

Incredibly, the text is so narcissistic that it is devoted to self without even trying to be. Look at the refrain, which we repeat ad nauseam. After the “good Father/it’s who you are” piece, the only way we can possibly understand the second part is self-referentially. “I’m loved by you/it’s who I am” in this case can only mean “You love me because of me!”

It’s scary that the writers didn’t seem to notice this. And it’s even scarier that we all like sheep fumble along through all the repetition as our “worship leaders” stand on their stages and croon it. This just isn’t okay.

It’s terrible poetry.

Step back and take a look. No rhyme scheme. Abundance of passive voice. It’s almost comical. It doesn’t try, it doesn’t try, it doesn’t try..

It’s impossible to sing congregationally.

If you read music, take a look for yourself. Syncopation and compound meter is a recipe for a train wreck.

God isn’t our “Daddy.”

It succumbs to the modern tendency to over-familiarize the personal nature of Abba.

Christian culture is obsessed with the idea of a personal “Daddy-God.” So it is with “Good, Good Father.” The writers allude to God as a father figure that tucks children into bed and scratches their heads during bedtime prayers. But that’s not the heart of the Aramaic term. Abba isn’t “daddy.” It isn’t “dada.” It isn’t desperate, childlike babble. It indicates our relational status as God’s adopted children, children who are deeply loved, while preserving an air of deep respect, distance, and reverence.

When we worship, we aren’t climbing into our Daddy-God’s lap. Be are affirming our faith alongside others who share it, and who will ideally hold us accountable that the constant repetition of truth takes hold within us.

Some of you will say that we should accept this kind of song because of the good intentions behind it.

That’s even more concerning to me. I firmly believe their intentions are good. They don’t even realize that they’re luring congregations into constantly repeating how they feel about God, and divorcing those feelings from anything concrete. And the church, including the scholars and pastors who should know better, continue to turn a blind eye and let it happen.

The worship industry will peddle this fluff, and it will try to make us believe that it’s brilliant. That’s how they make money. We should be angry at ourselves falling for it; for downloading it by the million, consuming it into our parched minds and spirits, and demanding it in our worship “experiences.”

We’ve got to do better.

We’ve got to stop putting dreck like this into the hearts and mouths of God’s people, and letting them think they’ve worshiped.

It’s time we focus our worship away from the music and toward the Table.

It’s time we return to voicing our prayers with careful, specific, honed poetry and prose, so that our prayers of praise, confession, and thanksgiving speak truthfully and honestly about God and about ourselves.

It’s time we reject Nashville’s and Atlanta’s and Australia’s narcissistic, indulgent offerings of thinly-veiled self-adulation.

It’s time we rediscover the simple, intelligent, elegant language that once permeated the church’s worship, so we don’t fall for this kind of unrefined and subjective babble anymore.

We can’t let this stuff slide.

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