So to kick off this post series, I thought I’d start with a campy, crowd favorite! Many (both christian & non-christian) alike mock this song for how unapologetically cheesy it comes across. The charismatic melismas and ad-libs, the piano, the quintessential choir, and the leading “trustworthy-white-male-voice” all combine to make this song sound almost like a joke or a mockery of Christian musical worship. Given all this, however – there’s something strangely comforting about this song, I like it! Maybe I have a penchant for liking corny things? But, I’m not sure I could even say that… after over 3 years of being exposed to some of the corniest white Christian rock songs in the world through campus ministries, I do have an aversion to corny things. In my experience, many of the songs that were selected (by a mostly white) musical worship team featured essentially, exclusively white musicians whose songs tended to be so “poetic” and esoteric that it would come across as pretentious and “hipster” (a la the hipster christianity wave)- I could give countless examples, but for starters , here’s an excerpt of the lyrics of the song “He is Jealous for Me”: ( David Crowder Band)
“He is jealous for me, loves like a hurricane, I am a tree
Bending beneath the weight of His wind and mercy
When all of a sudden I am unaware of these afflictions
Eclipsed by glory and I realize just how beautiful You are
And how great Your affections are for me”
Now, I’ve heard from a friend of mine who shares in the disdain for this song that it was written at a point of heavy pain and grief over the lost of a loved one and so this was the writer’s prayer/response to that. When thought of in this light, it’s not so bad but when sung as an anthem of discipleship for worship…it’s a bit awkward and I personally don’t feel the strong emotional reaction that I’m sure simply reading the song in context of tragedy might.
So, I say all this to say that, even in all of its campy, “corny-ness” ( which just SCREAMS late 80s/ early 90s evangelical revival..) I adore it! It makes me laugh and connects with me on a deep level at the same time. Kind of like the guy who goes out of his way to impress a girl (even if it’s excrutiatingly …corny – for lack of a better word..) , sometimes the girl can’t help but be won over by the guy putting himself out there. That’s essentially what this song reminds me of. The artists are putting themselves out there and when I listen , they’re singing with such shameless conviction that Jesus really is kind of a big deal… He’s the answer! There’s just something about this song that connects me to when I first realized the Good News. So, secretly…(or maybe not so much now..) it’s one of my favorite worship tunes, but what do you think?
Now, I am not gonna say that Aslan isn’t an allegory for Christ. But I have many problems with that Liam’s statement AND the author’s “CONCERNS.” First of all, Aslan can be Buddha? Okay, really? Really? I guess Liam hasn’t read the Narnia series or doesn’t remember the politics in them. Look Aslan is a type of Jesus, and he’s also a right wing authoritarian figure. Prince Caspian is basically a story about how democracy is bad, Aslan is “good but dangerous” hint hint hint. If you read any C.S. Lewis, especially his Space Trilogy, the guy leans heavily pro-war and conservative. Does the Buddha represent any of these values? Um no, because not every religious founder is viewed by their religion the same way. It’s like Liam is taking what he has learned from Christianity, and applying it to another religion, rather than seeing it, speaking of it on its own terms. Narnia is clearly a theistic story; Buddhism is a non-theist religion.
On the concern, and the argument that C.S. Lewis is an “intolerant” Anglican. Look, really? That’s dumb. Have you even read the newspaper headlines with Anglicans and Episcopalians? (please read the links if you don’t know what’s up) While Lewis was politically conservative, he was theologically liberal. He is what we call a universalist, that Jesus died for everyone, and that while Jesus is savior, if you worship Tash or practice another religion, you are saved through Jesus’s death and resurrection. This is the conclusion of several of Lewis’ own writings, including The Last Battle. Whether we disagree with Anglicans is a different issue, but to make claims about Anglican theology and history, without any familiarity, well, is just bad theology!