Sunday, November 04, 2007

Why is it a guessing game?

I'm sure I've posted about this at some point before. Let me be very specific about my point.

Perhaps I'm just a crank. I'm starting to suspect it's the case. Still, I heard a song today that riles me every time I hear it. The lyrics are below:
Draw me close to you
Never let me go
I lay it all down again
To hear you say that I'm your friend

You are my desire
No one else will do
'Cause nothing else could take your place
To feel the warmth of your embrace
Help me find the way
Bring me back to you

You're all I want
You're all I've ever needed
You're all I want
Help me know you are near
Who is this song about?

9 comments:

Jen said...

I don't care who it's about. Those lyrics are crap.

Anonymous said...

I always thought it was about God. Since you tagged this entry as 'religion,' I suspect you knew that. Are you upset that God isn't specifically mentioned?

-b.

Hal said...

First, I agree with Jen on this. These are not lyrics with any significant meaning. I'm sorry, but they're not.

And I tagged it as "religion" because this song is sung in churches all over the country.

Problem: Who is this song about? You could very easily infer that this song is about your wife or your boyfriend or what-have-you. Shouldn't we strive for something better than these trite platitudes?

Anonymous said...

Couple of things:

1. (This is a tangent from the original point, but ...) Lyrics are not meant to be divorced from their music and should not be expected to stand up on their own.

2. Regarding this particular song, which I am familiar with: I think that who these lyrics are directed to is quite clear in context, and it's okay for informal worship (aka "praise & worship") but not for formal / liturgical worship, for both lyrical and aesthetic reasons. But, many Christian traditions don't have any notion of formal / liturgical worship, so whether or not a song like this could/should be used gets tricky.

3. I actually have sung & played this song in a formal liturgy (a friend's Wedding Mass.) The song choice was not mine, and neither was the general idea of having a praise & worship band for a Catholic Wedding Mass, so the whole thing was pretty awkward for me and I guess an exercise in humility if you want to look for a positive.

4. What songs do you like at church?

-Ryan.

Hal said...

Well, Ryan you have a point about separating lyrics from their music.

Still.

I think people confuse "liturgical" and "informal" with "traditional" and "modern." The problem I have is that a lot of modern music tends to be very watered down in its significance. Sure, it might have lyrics that make you feel happy (in a syrupy, Hallmark kind of way), but who is worship for? Us or God? Do you think he asks something of a higher standard from us?

I think of this song in particular to . . . well, there's an episode of The Simpsons where Homer screws up a sky-writer making a love note. All the women in town see the garbled message and think it's for them. I compare that to this song because the song doesn't ever really SAY who it's about. Sure, the context of church might make it more obvious, but the overall content of the song is still low. It's the vocal equivalent of a doughnut; lots of calories, most of them empty.

Hal said...

Oh, as for what songs I prefer? I suppose it depends. For a worship setting, I really don't think songs that focus on "me" are appropriate. If you're going to worship God, then focus on him.

Style isn't that big of a deal to me. I have big band versions of some hymns that I love, but I'm just as happy listening to the organ at church (our player is amazing).

Anonymous said...

to quote hal. I think people confuse "liturgical" and "informal" with "traditional" and "modern." The problem I have is that a lot of modern music tends to be very watered down in its significance. Sure, it might have lyrics that make you feel happy (in a syrupy, Hallmark kind of way), but who is worship for? Us or God? Do you think he asks something of a higher standard from us?

couple of things.
1) I think that worship is for both God and the ones worshipping him. it's a time to draw closer and focus on him, whether or not that comes in the form of a hymn or a heavy metal band for God, i'm pretty sure that God doesn't care. in fact, he tells us so. the Psalms say many times to make a joyful noise. He commands us to have a good time praising Him!

2) i don't personally care for the lyrics of this one, it does seem kind of wishy washy but what's the alternative? stand in church while this one is being sung and refuse to sing it? wow... God loves that one i'm sure.

3) you mention higher standard. i'm not sure what that means. I'm concerned that you believe that worship be a solemn occasion. for that I suggest point number 1. The times i've felt closest to God in worship are those times that I can completely lose myself to the song and to the worship. I just can't do that to a hymn and i don't believe for a second taht there is some magical formula for worship out there that is the only way God will accept it.

So for me and my family, we're going to rock the house at Shiloh (all are welcome to come) and praise God all the way.

-- Brandon

Anonymous said...

NOt to be harsh, but I can't imagine God saying, "Well, that was a good try, but your song is crap try again."
Plus, I don't think every song meant to provoke a worshipful atmosphere has to mention God by name. Some of the Psalms don't. Does that mean they aren't worth reading? I see this as a modern day psalm.

Personally, I really like this song. It helps me grasp what I should be doing in Church, or on my own. It seems kinda sad that we would be so critical of such a beautiful song, from a writer with a good heart for God. But that's just my point of view.

Hal said...

Nonny, you've got it all wrong. You could say that I picture this song like getting your spouse a gift card for their birthday. Yeah, gift cards are nice, but where's the thought?

I think the problem with songs like this lies on our end; we ought to have a higher standard for worship. Shouldn't we have a higher standard than, "Oh (God), you make me feel so warm and fuzzy inside. Thanks!"?

And I'm uncertain which Psalms you're thinking of that don't mention God by name, but consider how rich in doctrine and theology the Psalms are. How does the song in question compare? Should it compare at all?