Denying all the Dying of the Remedy

So quite a bit of hype and discussion has been flying about the internet in the past few days concerning Derek Webb’s new album–primarily about the song that I mentioned in a previous post.  At internetmonk.com, thethinklings.org, and dennyburk.com, in order of severity.  Quite a few people have problems with Derek, the new album, and/or this specific song.  I think I’ll try to sum up what people are saying and attempt to respond.  I’ll probably end up doing quite a bit of what Derek warns against though (“You wouldn’t be so damn reckless with the words you speak”).

1. A few people have an issue with his use of language.
A lot of people, though they may agree with his point, have issues with his use of language.  They say it is offensive and unnecessary.  I don’t want to say that Derek Webb is just like Jesus, (no doubt some people will read this in that way), but I imagine that some of the people looking on at Jesus clearing the temple were offended by him turning over the tables and cracking the whip… I mean, why did he have to sound so mad? He could have simply asked them nicely.

2. Some have expressed an issue with his clearly indignant tone.
A commenter on the post at thinklings.org pointed out that others have made similar points without the use of anger, with the implication that if Derek had done this, it would have been better.  Once again, I think we should look to Jesus’ example.  Jesus called those people whom society had labeled as “sinners” out in their sin in a very gentle way.  To the Samaritan woman at the well, Jesus offered living water.  To the woman caught in adultery, he said, “Go and sin no more.”  There is no indication that Jesus had to point out Zacheus’ sins at all.  On the other hand, Jesus showed indignation, anger, and what certainly would have appeared as arrogance to the religious types.

3. Some have pointed out that he is simply degrading into another one of these emergent/new monastic types who is telling us all to champion liberal social causes, and they’re tired of being told that they don’t give enough to the poor or do enough to help those less fortunate.
First, I think those people are missing the point: both Derek’s point and the point of many (not all) of the other voices telling us those same things.  I’m not accusing any specific person in any of the above links of this.  I cannot help but wonder if many of the people suggesting this simply don’t want to hear it because they don’t want to hear the truth. Sure, there are some great churches that are doing some great things.  Evangelicals give a lot of money to hunger relief, etc.  But if you don’t think that the majority of American Christians focus on the culture war infinitely more than on helping the poor, feeding the hungry, clothing the naked and healing the sick both physically and spiritually, then I’m not sure that you are paying much attention.

So before you write Derek Webb off, consider the fact that this may be exactly what we need to hear.  And maybe, just maybe, the reason why it makes you so mad or annoyed or frustrated is because you’re the one who needs to hear it most.  And don’t forget that simply giving a hearty amen if you agree isn’t quite enough either.

4.  One more thing is that he is focusing on law and not gospel.
This may be true to an extent, but I don’t think he’s forgotten the gospel.  Two things.  First, you have to consider this album in the context of his other music.  Second, though the gospel is not mentioned explicitly, it is implied in this song.

The following line:
“denying all the dying of the remedy”

He’s clearly referring to those who have been hated for their sin (he’s referring specifically to homosexuals). He’s calling them “the dying.” So whats the remedy? I’m pretty sure that Derek would say that the gospel is the remedy.

Now, I know its not explicit, but the Gospel is there.

But, this song is clearly directed toward those who already know and believe the Gospel:
“Cause if you really believed what you say you believe; you wouldn’t be so damn reckless with the words you speak”
If they really believe the Gospel and the love of Jesus towards sinners, then they wouldn’t be so quick to condemn sinners and, in turn, deny them the remedy, aka, the gospel…

Maybe I’m stretching it, but I don’t think so…

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Derek Webb’s New Album…

So, lyrically, this album is amazing.  Musically, this album is amazing.  In other words, I like it.  A lot.

If you’ve followed Derek Webb at all, you’ll know that there was quite a bit of controversy about this new album… supposedly INO records refused to release it as it was, and Derek Webb refused to change it.  From everything that I can tell, Derek Webb and his people were, amazingly enough, able to turn the delay into an incredibly interesting scavenger hunt type thing, and those who followed all of the clues to the full extent were surprised with the chance to listen to the album for the first time in Derek’s studio at his home in Nashville, after the unveiling of the album the other night.

For people like me, it just served to make me anxious to know what the controversy was about, not to mention to get to listen to the new music.

Anyway, its out now, and you can download it at derekwebb.com for 8 bucks.  You should do it.

Once you listen to the CD, its not hard to figure out what the controversy is about.  The following song, of which I posted the lyrics, is clearly the source of the controversy.  I’ll post the lyrics and post a youtube video in which you can listen to the song, and then I’ll say a couple of things about it.

You say you always treat people like you like to be
I guess you love being hated for your sexuality
You love when people put words in your mouth
‘Bout what you believe, make you sound like a freak

‘Cause if you really believe what you say you believe
You wouldn’t be so damn reckless with the words you speak
Wouldn’t silently conceal when the liars speak
Denyin’ all the dyin’ of the remedy

Tell me, brother, what matters more to you?
Tell me, sister, what matters more to you?

If I can tell what’s in your heart by what comes out of your mouth
Then it sure looks to me like being straight is all it’s about
It looks like being hated for all the wrong things
Like chasin’ the wind while the pendulum swings

‘Cause we can talk and debate until we’re blue in the face
About the language and tradition that he’s comin’ to save
Meanwhile we sit just like we don’t give a shit
About 50,000 people who are dyin’ today

Tell me, brother, what matters more to you?
Tell me, sister, what matters more to you?


Clearly, the song is about homosexuality.  Certainly many people will be upset that he isn’t more clear about his actual stance on whether homosexual actions are sins or not.  But thats not the point.  The point is that American Christians spend much of their time combatting homosexuality, yet there are a lot of people lost, there are a lot of people dying.  And we apparently don’t give a shit, as he puts it.  No more commentary for now.

Genesis 22

So, I was listening to someone preach about Abraham sacrificing Isaac, and I thought of a few things… then I went back and read it, and thought of a few more things… well, here are my thoughts…

  • v.2 says, “Take your son, your only son Issac, whom you love” and give him as a burnt offering…
  • John 3:16 says, “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son…”
  • When Jesus is baptized, the Father says (Matt 3:17), “This is my Son, whom I love…”
  • You see where I am going with this?  There is quite a parallel between this story and the story of Christ…
  • v.8 says, “Abraham said, ‘God will provide for himself the lamb…'”
  • I realize Abraham was talking about the immediate situation, and he may have actually expected God to intervene, or he may have just told Isaac that so that he wouldn’t have to tell him the truth… but you can’t help but think about how Abe’s statement here is true on a much deeper, much more glorious way…

“By myself I have sworn, declares the LORD, because you have done this and have not withheld your son, your only son, I will surely bless you, and I will surely multiply your offspring as the stars of heaven and as the sand that is on the seashore. And your offspring shall possess the gate of his enemies, and in your offspring shall all the nations of the earth be blessed, because you have obeyed my voice.”

  1. Thank you, Abraham, we really appreciate that one. Seriously.
  2. 1 John 4:9 In this the love of God was made manifest among us, that God sent his only Son into the world, so that we might live through him.
  3. Abraham was willing, even to the point of raising his knife, to give the life of his only son in obedience to God.
  4. God was willing, (and had planned to do so and has now done so), to give the life of His only Son out of his love for the world…
  5. Oh, and about that Lamb… that sacrifice that God was going to provide?
  6. 1 John 4:10 In this is love, not that we have loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins.
  7. Back in 1 John 2, a little something extra is added on: He is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the sins of the whole world.
  8. and in your offspring shall all the nations of the earth be blessed…”

    canoeing…

    So a few weeks ago, Leah and I bought a canoe.  Its pretty low-end, but it gets the job done.  Anyway, we went out a few weeks ago on Ospwagon Lake to try it out.  That was the second week of June just after the ice had all melted.

    Last night I went out at about 9 o clock and paddled about four and a half miles around the same lake.  One of the great things about living up here is that the sun literally sets for hours and hours during the summer.  And then it comes back up almost immediately.  Anyway, the first pictures are from a few weeks ago, and the rest are from last night.