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That’s Not How Any Of This Works

That’s Not How Any Of This Works October 13, 2021

Well, I’m very sorry that I keep accidentally taking blogging breaks. It was not at all my intention to fall off the internet for three whole days and miss yet another podcast. But, well, I’m not so young as I was and I can’t seem to push through a lot of the circumstances of life that used to be easily shoved over to one side in the interest of the morning blog. Things like the deep discouragement of Matt about a variety of things, and that bad cold, and then both of us going into NYC to collect my parents and their three cats. I haven’t said a lot about my parent’s travelings here because I’ve been too anxious to try to put it on paper. And it’s really my mom’s saga to relate. But they got here, cats, luggage and all, and I’m so relieved I could cry.

Which is great because some “friend” sent me this amazing song as podcast fodder, but I’m going to have it for this morning because…well, I just am. I have to have some treats. So first of all, here is the song [Proceed with CAUTION about clicking on it. I listened only twice and I can’t get the thing out of my head. It is very Billie Eilish style catchy and I don’t really mean that in a good way]:

And second of all, let’s just have a short gander at the lyrics, shall we? They are super repetitive so I won’t put them all here, just the salient bits:

[Verse 1]
I sent my only Son
To be with whom I Love
You are all I want
The Wonder of it all
From Heaven’s Gates
You Catch my Gaze

So, I was just remembering to myself that before the advent of J&JW into the world, I had been busy sorting out a lot of my objections to cultural evangelicalism in my own mind. None of those critiques included anything like, ‘these people are not Christian because they are all obsessed with whiteness and the patriarchy.’ Rather, they were more salient and pointed concerns like ‘the teaching and preaching of too many churches is exceedingly vapid and constantly confuses eros for agape.’ And here to illustrate my concern is grotesque evidence of just that problem. A young, soupy voice, vocalizing the passionate eros that God must feel for…who? Her? Individually? She, the singer, caught God’s “gaze” from heaven? Why is “Gaze” capitalized? The song, you see, is from God’s perspective. He is the one speaking. The object of his desire is whoever it is crooning into the microphone, as of course it would be, for the person who can sing like this must be nearly a divine creature, full of “The Wonder of it all.” Don’t get caught up in the trouble this poses for those who think that the “male gaze” is totes bad, nor that God takes for himself the pronouns He/Him, or any of those kinds of little conundrums. Just let yourself drift into the vocal ecstacy of the same phrase sung over and over and over and over as a way of certainly knowing that God loves you, and pretty much only you. God, in this scenario, appears to be caught in some kind of passionate entanglement, and so will the Son be. But we must move on to the chorus or we will never get through:

[Chorus]
And I Love you in the Morning,
In the Noon Time,
In the Evening
You’re my One thing
You’re my Dearest
Here’s my Love Note,
Can you Hear it

Setting aside whatever this “Love Note” is–scripture? the song? a fantastic twitter ratio? WHAT?–we must just ever so gently correct a misapprehension that the singer, and possibly the songwriter also, appears to be laboring under. The singer could not possibly be God’s “One thing” because He, God, calls a lot of people out of the world to be part of the Bride whom he gives to his Son. Jesus gives his life for this Bride in his own blood. They are rejoined as One as a restoration after the sin that sundered Adam and Eve from each other. There’s a lot of nice poetry here. What’s that called? Spiritual metaphor? Theology? Being able to Read The Bible? When Jesus calls you o’er the tumult of your life’s wild restless sea he’s joining you to a big fat invisible We–all the people who have ever been saved–and also to a particular one, to a congregation of people who are altogether dear to the Savior. Anyway, we go on:

[Verse 2]
A Dinner for two just me and you
Let’s take some time
To Sit down and Dine
I Broke my Bread
And Poured out my Wine
I did what it Took
To make you my Bride

And here we see the biggest and most horrifying problem in evangelicalism today. As I said, it’s not that people are too obsessed with their own whiteness or their patriarchy or anything, it’s that they have no idea what the church even is. When you toddle up for communion, or have it passed around to you in your pew (an aesthetically problematical liturgical innovation, I think), it is absolutely NOT “A dinner for two just me and you.” Are You Even Kidding Me? No. Jesus is joining you to all the people who are there with you in himself, in spirit and in truth. You are not the Bride of Christ at your special dinner with Jesus all by yourself. In fact, it really isn’t communion if it’s you by yourself. Like, that’s literally not communion. You have to go to church to take communion in order to be in communion with the Bride that Jesus is making for himself. Your–and I’ll go ahead and indulge in some over-used Christian jargon to make my point–“embodied intentional” relationships, however difficult and messy they may be, with the people with whom you take communion are necessary for you to be a Christian. Unless you are alone in jail, you can’t “commune” with Jesus by yourself. And, my goodness, the Lord’s Table is not that kind of love feast. Jesus is not dating you. His death on the cross, no matter what the Book of Longing may try to imply about it, was neither ecstatic nor erotic and neither was the dinner he ate with his male disciples on the night before the cross. Those twelve men were incorporated together as the Bride with you and us and this is not erotic, queer gender-bending, this is God saving his people through his Son. I could go on and on about this, obviously, but we have to get through this song because I have other stuff to do:

I’m bringing you back
To the Garden,
Back where it all Started
All of your sins have been Pardoned
Now we just get to be together,
Now we just get to be together
Now we just get to be together,
Now we just get to be together

We’re not going to go back to the garden when all this wretchedness is over, we’re going to be all together in a city–ALL TOGETHER–not just the singer and Jesus. There’s a lot of repetition of the chorus at this point so let’s jump to the first bridge:

[Bridge]
Writing Words over you,
Singing Songs over you
I’m Above you, I’m Beneath you,
I’m Before you, I’m Behind you
I’m Above you, I’m Beneath you,
I’m Before you, I’m Behind you

I mean, I love both the Breastplate of Saint Patrick and that bit in Zephaniah about how the Lord will both rejoice over you with singing and quiet you with his love but, you poor dear, neither of those are erotic none of this is erotic this is not how any of this works….more repetition, and finally, the part that really shocked some:

I’m all around you,
I’m all around you
Baby I’m all around you,
I’m all around you
I’m all around you

What, is God Patrick Swayze here? More repetition and then, we can’t just have the first bridge, we have to have the second one:

[Bridge 2]
You’re the Fairest of Ten Thousand
There’s no other I could Love

You’re the Fairest of Ten Thousand
There’s no other I could Love

You’re the Fairest of Ten Thousand
There’s no other I could Love
You’re the Fairest of Ten Thousand
There’s no other I could Love

There’s no other I could Love
There’s no other I could Love
There’s no other I could Love
There’s no other I could Love

You’re the Fairest of Ten Thousand
There’s no other I could Love
You’re the Fairest of Ten Thousand
There’s no other I could Love

Your Love is Wild
Your Love is Wild for Us
Your Love is Wild
Your Love is Wild for Us

I’m not really sure if this is God still, or if it’s the singer saying that God is the fairest. Like, is this some kind of back and forth? Does it even matter? Does anything matter? Here is a better song about love that’s just much much much much more interesting and true to the kind of love with which God loves us:

Have a nice day.


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