Miniblog #155: Something Is Terribly Wrong with the “Jesus Is My Boyfriend” Genre
I’m fond of the criticism that too many worship songs today fit the “Jesus is my boyfriend” genre. It’s no longer a matter of narcissitic, trite lyrics chalked full of superficial reflections with questionable theological implications. As Southpark rightly lampooned, many of our worship songs are now almost completely indistinguishable from any other love song, both in content and tone. They seriously make it sound as if we want to cuddle with Jesus, kiss Jesus, and make love to Jesus. In more gentle terms, N.T. Wright has called them “teenage love songs” about “falling in love with Jesus.” Either way, ChristianMingle.com has proven the point by seamlessly using these songs in their commercials. I find this implicit, widespread conflation of spiritual and sexual in our worship songs to be incredibly creepy. To be clear, I’m not saying that this is wholly without precedent–biblical or otherwise. Look no further than Hosea and his unfortunately-named, promiscuous wife for a vivid illustration of this. Moreover, I agree with Rob Bell that we need to explore the infinitely complex relationship between spirituality and sexuality. I’m not pulling a Sheldon Cooper here. What I’m saying is that our songs need a greater degree of complexity, reflecting the fact that we’re using human relationships as a metaphor. Being in love with God should ultimately be unlike being in love with anyone else. Whatever intimacy with Christ means, however many helpful comparisons might exist between a young couple falling in love or a long-term marital relationship, I don’t think our worship songs should ever have physical let alone orgasmic overtones. Whatever a “personal relationship with God” might involve, I’m quite sure we shouldn’t understand it that way.