Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Derek Webb's controversial song

Above is a controversial song by Derek Webb who is part of the group, Caedmon's Call. Personally, I don't care much for "Christian music." Musically, its almost always about 10 years behind the times and seems to want to rip off U2 riffs that were written decades ago. But besides this, I thought Derek Webb's song was pretty controversial to say the least.

Having sat under teachers to the likes of Jay Bakker, i've heard it all when it comes to evangelical fundy's who have wrongly treated homosexuals. And to an extent, I agree with them. Denying homosexuals jobs and other discriminatory acts is something that I cannot stand for. Nor can I stand for the outright hatred some evangelicals have shown the homosexual community.

Apparently, this is what Derek Webb's song is about. But there is something else that is rather peculiar in this song. As Fred Butler has rightly pointed out, why are homosexuals being singled out in being shown such "hatred?" If homosexual behavior is a sin, then why not go after the other sinners that are treated far more harshly, such as the porn industry or much worse, child molesters? Am I saying child molesters are the same thing as homosexuals? No, i'm not. I'm simply suggesting an irony that homosexual behavior is being singled out. Is it because homosexuality has become trendy and more socially acceptable? Do we treat other sinful lifestyles like this? Hasn't adultery become rampant as well? What happens when these lifestyles become trendy? Is Derek Webb going to write songs about how these people are mistreated?

For me, the bottom line is not so much how we shouldn't treat homosexuals, but how we should treat them. Thus, we have a dilemma:

A) Homosexual behavior is a sin.

B) Therefore, we need to treat it as such.

When are these people who keep telling us, "stop mistreating homosexuals" going to inform us on how we should treat them? And if you are going to try to make the impossible case that homosexual behavior isn't a sin, then be prepared to do some biblical exegesis. Otherwise, let's start talking about how to treat sinners as opposed to how we have mistreated a very specific group of people. In other words, let's make a more general and positive approach on how believers should spread the gospel, which includes pointing sinners to their sinful standing before God. And when we do that, there should be no basis for saying, "oh, just make sure that you don't be too harsh to this one particular sin."


Cody said...

I think Derek is right to make a distinction between regular old sinners and homosexuals-- after all, Christian America has. If we did in fact treat sin as basically equal and reached out to each human being as being created in the image of God, songs like this wouldn't have to be made. It is also a fact that when we reach out to Muslims (or Hindus, materialists, Jews, etc.), we try to understand what they believe, figure out their worldview, and share the Gospel to them uniquely, showing concern and appreciation for where they're at and what their needs are. This is hardly the case with how treat homosexuals.

Clifford B. Kvidahl said...


Not much to add to the controversy. But I will add that I really like Derek Webb's solo stuff. It has been very controversial since his first release. If you get the chance, check out "Wedding Dress" off his first disc.

Also, there is a song called "Black Eye" that is on his new disc that is very, very good. Good stuff.

N.B. I do understand and share your distaste for CCM. Not very good these days.


Mike Felker said...

Cliff, i'll be sure to check that out. I'd actually be very happy to hear some CCM stuff that steps outside the box and seeks to be innovative.

Cody, with the unfortunate harsh treatments that "Christian America" has wrongly showed homosexuals, you have to ask yourself why they are being singled out? The reason being, it is a sin that has become socially acceptable. The same has happened with abortion. When this happens, it is our Christian duty to point it out. So i'm with you on this.

But it seems that folks like Webb are singling out homosexuals in a different kind of way. Its as if he's asking us to soften our views on this particular sin. And i'm all about having unique methods of presenting the gospel. After all, the early church did this with Jews and Gentiles. But I don't know of the Bible ever doing this when it comes to particular sins.

One problem I have with Webb is that his attitude towards homosexual behavior is not the same as the Bible's view. In other words, if the Bible's view on homosexual behavior isn't soft, then neither should ours. We can be soft on the sinner, of course, but we cannot be soft about their sin.

I hope i'm not stirring too much controversy here, but I really would like to see more from the likes of Derek Webb telling us how we should evangelize homosexuals as opposed to how we shouldn't.

Anonymous said...

Biblical exegesis requires at least an average attention span - something that fewer and fewer people seem to have these days. The problem that should be addressed is the general equation of sex as only just another mundane, unimportant human appetite, no more a big deal than say being in the mood for Mexican or Chinese food. People today, Christian people, do not pause in accepting all sorts of sexual acts as understood whether it be masturbation, oral sex, and premarital sex. Adultery becomes the logical next step when boredom sets in. Homosexual/bisexual sex is increasingly only considered as more exotic (like Thai food) for a society that is becoming desensitized to any supposed Christian mores. Like today's "Christian" music it is all a matter of the profane incrementally taking over what was important, what was sacred.

Mike Felker said...

Anonymous, I can sympathize with what you said in a lot of ways. Sexual preference isn't too different than ice cream preference. Neither one is "wrong."

For those who advocate such things, I just can't find consistency in their position. If homosexuality is to be admired, as our president recently declared his hope for, then what other sexual preferences are to be admired?

Most people get rubbed the wrong way when i make these comparisons, but why can't polygamy be accepted? What about adultery? Statutory rape? According to our society, what was corrupt and immoral yesterday will be admired tomorrow.

Anonymous said...

Mike, you are correct but you are still missing the point. There is clear consistency in only really valuing human law which can be reached by a consensus. Human law is subject to change and "improvement." How many people think they are "good" because they pay their taxes and don't have their photos on the Post Office wall? Polygamy, adultery, "swinging couples", statutory rape, - pick a card -, are all acceptable if society decides that they are and it appears to be doing just that. We are witnessing a metamorphosis in society where little girls dress like hookers, "bi-curiosity" is rampant in high schools, loss of virginity is almost at the toddler level and advertising has never been as sexually targeted to "enhancing" whatever sex you can imagine doing. Sex sells and it is a consumer society. Men are bombarded with images of beautiful women's bodies all day and there are those who wonder why the majority of husbands have serious computer porn issues. What is most tragic is the juvenile equation of temporary infatuation with real love which is a major reason for the high divorce rate.

No, God's Law is considered somehow quaintly primitive and certainly restrictive to all important "freedom." The trouble is that freedom is now equated with license. Chastity and modesty are laughable concepts and even those who make brave attempts to be modest and chaste have a sliding scale as to what it really means. Christians are becoming a minority in a world that finds them alien. Of course Christians have always been not of this world so they mustn't be shocked by what is happening. Its old news. Reality check: this world will pass away.

Mike Felker said...

Anonymous, I agree with all of this. But i'm not seeing how I "missed the point."

I'll just end on the following note: if Christians are going to be consistent in defending one group of sinners (homosexuals) for harsh treatment, they need to defend other groups as well (abortionists, polygamists, child molesters, porn industry, prostitutes, etc.) since they've been treated just as harshly, if not more.

Anonymous said...

The point is that Christians increasingly, consistently defend only what evolving human law dictates they defend. The concept of sin rarely enters the discussion anymore because it isn't considered quite polite in the age of the cult of the warm fuzzy. The personalized God adapts readily to the foibles and choices of an individual who looks upon the Divinity as an understanding, permissive hand puppet.

ShaneBertou said...

If anyone is interested, I'm giving away a free copy of Derek's new CD on my blog.

Anonymous said...

Interesting topic. However, I have to say I've never quite understood the concept of "homosexual behavior", because it implies that homosexuality is a result of a conscious / unconscious choice at some point in one's life. Where does the "act" of homosexuality end? What does homosexual behavior include? I don't have in mind all the relating bible passages, but I know that all of them (OT and NT) hold a negative view on the subject. However I also notice that all of these tend to concentrate on rather the physical aspect of homosexuality.

The way I see it, is that homosexuality is really so much more than just finding members of your own sex physically attractive. It also affects your manners, your aspirations, your sensitivities and strengths, your whole personality. It is really difficult for a homosexual person not to "act homosexual", that is not to act how he/she is. I don't believe that homosexuality would be only a switch, or a block on surface that can be replaced or altered while leaving the rest intact.

It's interesting how the Bible does not provide any more insight on the emotional, human side of the problem, but rather restricts itself to simply banishing engaging in homosexual sex, and it is thus understandable that for many years preference and behavior have not been treated separately. But I'm not saying that the division of the 2 make the case easier, only more humane.

So my point is: longing for a person of your own sex, and thus treating them differently, with a different attitude should be considered sinful too? Hugging somebody you is a whole different case than hugging a friend, and is by no means less homosexual if it happens between those of the same sex, than lying with your fellow man, bc it comes from the same root. Sex, preferably, is the reflection and the summit of such feelings, not their originator.

And since it is difficult anyway to define what's natural when it comes to sex between those of the same sex, where should we draw the line, if we are talking about only the physical aspects? How could we just frown on the physical, when all of that is coming from the emotional? How is infatuation or love defined as a sin? What exactly is the sin of homosexual behavior? And thus, how can you separate homosexuality from the homosexual individual by his/her acts?
Isn't this approach insufficient?

I have a few ideas on rape and polygamy, but I'll save them for myself for now.

(ps. Mike, thanks for your posts, they are really helpful, they make me want to know the Bible better :)


The Apologetic Front said...

Hey Andrew, thanks for stopping by and leaving your comment. I also appreciate your comment about these blogs being of benefit to you. That really does mean a lot to me and I hope you'll continue in your search.

I need to be brief here for the sake of time, as i'm in a bit of a hurry. So I hope I can respond to the gist of what you're saying.

The line of "this is just the way I am" vs. "homosexual behavior" is the same line i'd draw with heterosexuals and their behavior.

For instance, if I look at a woman in lust, I am sinning. If a man looks at another man, they are sinning. I think we can all be honest enough with ourselves to distinguish between a friendly hug and an intimate hug.

In other words, to figure out where the line is with homosexual behavior, look at where the Bible draws the line with heterosexual behavior. However, this doesn't mean that its biblical for two men to make out as long as they aren't lusting anymore than its biblical for you to make out with your 5 year old daughter. Wisdom and discernment are certainly necessary in this.

As far as the "quirkiness" of homosexuals, I don't think that's a hill i'd die on. As long as its not "sin," I don't think its wrong to have unique or even weird aspects to your personality.

I hope this gives you something to chew on. If not, or I need to clarify something further, please let me know.

Again, I appreciate your comment.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for your thoughts, Mike! I found your blog in the heat of my apologetic aspirations, but I felt like putting my thoughts down on this particular subject, which is close to me. I see and experience this question from a more direct angle, and this have brought me battles with my own faith. But this also lead me to handle this not only in terms of bible passages, but as something I experience on an everyday basis.
My main dilemma really, is that being homosexual is not only sexual. I know this from my memories from my early childhood, when, although I was living in a monastery at the time with my family and had no clue about sex - what was to later become an attraction to my own sex have already manifested itself, only on other levels. That's one of the reasons why I cannot support the bible's touching upon only the sexual aspect. Homosexuality is something that runs through your life, and its core for me isn't sex, because it's so much more than that. So for this reason, I consider the bible's approach one-sided and insufficient.
You are absolutely right in saying that we need wisdom too when trying to live according to the Bible. I understand also that we have the guidelines of what's morally right in the Bible as something universal (but these rules that give legitimacy and prospects to a man and a woman, will turn upside down if we are considering 2 of the same sex - they provide a frame of living if you're normal, but aren't so easily implemented if you're gay, resulting in self-hatred, depression. At least they did/(do) for me).

I don't believe I would have a sinful aspect of my personality... But it's just semantics. But then again, maybe I'm just too liberal :)

But I cannot go on with my train of thought, my English is failing me, I'm staying up too late I guess. I'm still debilitated by a few passages condemning sex between men, and a Bible that seems to be clueless about the emotional side of the problem. Which is the problem itself.

Anyway, keep up the great work. I hope I made some sense!!

The Apologetic Front said...

Andrew, just a few thoughts. First, I agree that homosexuality is not strictly "sexual." From what I know, this effects many areas of one's personality. This is why I was very careful to distinguish the fact that its not wrong to *be* a homosexual. However, the Bible is clear that homosexual sexual behavior is sinful.

I wouldn't say that the Bible doesn't provide the right frame of living for homosexuals; if you mean by that, homosexuals who don't participate in sexual activity with members of the same sex. Regardless of how weird one might be in their personality, there is nothing in the Bible whereby you have to deny that it can apply to you.

I know for me I live a very unique lifestyle in that I travel full time in a rock band. This is obviously not a normal way to live. Yet I seek to life in harmony with what the Bible teaches. I truly believe one can do this as a homosexual.

The bottom line for me is sexual behavior: mental and physical. The Bible is clear on both; whether you are hetero or homosexual.

I hope i'm getting the gist of what you're saying and representing your view correctly. If not, let me know!

Anonymous said...

From perusing your blog, Mike, I discern that you are a homosexual.

Oh, don't be alarmed . . . I am not judging you . . . there were homosexuals in the first century, too, who were Christians. I am not condemning you for this. But, however, the fact of the matter is that the Bible clearly states that "homosexuals" (men who lie with men), along with gamblers, fornicators, drunkards, and those seeking spirit mediums, are among the “unrighteous persons” who “will NOT inherit God's kingdom.” 1 Corinthians 6:9,10 [English Standard Version] states:

"Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: neither the sexually immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor men who practice homosexuality, nor thieves, nor the greedy, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God.”

Notice, though, that the next verse says that this is what some Christians WERE (not ARE) --- I quote:

"And such WERE some of you. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.”

Therefore, it should be stressed that the way to the Kingdom of God IS OPEN to such persons, but ONLY IF . . .
“... if they manifest humble repentance and 'turn around' in conversion to Jehovah God through Christ. Repentance includes a turning around, 180° turn from the previous coarse, 'works that befit repentance' including any restitution if merited, and then a dedication to begin to live your life this new way, for GOD, symbolized by the public display of baptism. And . . . Jesus DID NOT reach out to prostitutes and sinners, he felt compassion for and reached out to remorseful prostitutes and repentant sinners, not those who ignored him and his message, and who went about their sinful way. God's mercy and forgiveness are conditional on genuine repentance.”

Mike Felker said...


I take it you didn't read this blog post? If so, I have to wonder how in the world you could get the impression that i'm a homosexual.

TruAgape1234 said...

To the apologetic front:
Let us know when u decide to throw FALSE religion in the trash where it belongs and replace it with what the bible ACTUALLY says given the original Greek, Hebrew and context in which it was written. Scripture never condemned homosexual love between persons of the same sex. And the litany of "clobber passages" FALSE religion has manufactured and clinged to to support their lies is now being seen for what the original manuscripts initially portrayed. Sodom and Gomorrah had NOTHING to do with homosexuality. Leviticus didn't mentioned female homosexuality for a reason. Paul never referenced the city of Sodom in writing 1Cor 6:9 (sodomite is a false religious term). Romans was being addressed alongside the backdrop of paganism, violence and idolatry. And the Greek at Jude 7 (sarkos hetras) reiterates the fact that the victims in the Sodom account were not even human. So the possibility of a homosexual encounter isn't even possible.
Perhaps if u want to continue taking scripture OUT OF CONTEXT, you can focus on the three fingers pointing back at you and choose the "better" course by remaining single. And should you be too weak to handle such a "gift" you can ensure that your sexual encounters with your wife are ONLY for the purpose of procreation. If such pills should be too bitter for you to swallow, then perhaps u should think twice before offering that same bitter pill to your homosexual brothers and sisters around the world with your bigoted, ignorant, unscriptural prejudice against their desire for love and companionship.