Tag Archives: song lyrics

When Christian Music is Not Safe for the Whole Family

 

 

I can feel my face getting ugly. My eyes are squinting, brows narrowing and my mouth is forming something that probably would have sounded like, “What the ^&*%?” My son is in the car, and so I don’t say it out loud. But I think that four-letter-word, on repeat, for the entire duration of the song.

It was an accident, really, happening upon this curse worthy Christian song. I was in a part of the state that has an abundance of Christian radio stations; I didn’t know what I was doing, I was just pressing buttons.  Sure, I was tempted to turn it off, but I turned it up instead. I wanted to hear this guy out.

I heard. I assimilated. I Google searched Chris August. I have a few things I need to say about his popular song, “Restore” which was released earlier this year.

Let me preface by saying that, the artist in question, Chris August, seems like a genuine, sweet guy, and he’s established a strong following for his music. I want to make it clear that I do not intend my criticism of his song to be a criticism of his character. Sometimes it’s hard to do this well, but I’m giving it a go.

I’m twice married. The heartache, the rebuilding of life after broken vows is worse than you can probably imagine, unless you’ve experienced it yourself.  My story isn’t yours, yours isn’t mine, but I think we can all agree that the severing of the relationship isn’t what anyone hopes for on their wedding day. Even if your relationship was able to be salvaged, restored to wholeness, the pain you went through was brutal. Or maybe you watched your friends, siblings, parents go through a separation, divorce, or restoration of the relationship, and if they let you inside their life at all, you witnessed the pain, the difficulty, and the confusion.

As a Christian, especially a young Christian woman, I definitely felt like I had a scarlet letter of some kind branded to me for years. Sometimes other Christians made me feel that way; sometimes I made myself feel that way. Throughout the journey, a journey that I’m still walking, I’ve discovered that pain is sacred. The anger I felt in being betrayed, emotionally, sexually, and spiritually; it’s a holy kind of anger. I’m grateful for it.

So as I turned the volume up and heard,

“Nobody’s growing old together, we’ve made it easy just to quit
Love has become a negative percentage, why do we bother to commit
We’ve got a long list of excuses, ways we try to justify
Well, I propose to you the truth is, marriage does not have to die”

Oh, well, hello there Shame, I see you’ve made a little home here in this song and on this radio station.

I was incensed. I’m seven years out of a horrible relationship, and hearing these words was incredibly shaming. I do not believe it is August’s intent, to shame people. He wants his music to encourage people. I get that. It probably isn’t any Christian’s intent to shame other people, but it sure as hell happens pretty often. It’s happening in this song.

ALERT: Chris August, some marriages DO need to die.

I don’t know if Chris would be open to doing a duet with me or a remix/mashup of sorts, but I’ve got some ideas.

[Chorus:]
“I know you’re feeling like it’s falling apart and it can’t go on anymore
But God is a God who knows how to heal so just give it up to the Lord
And He will restore”

Actually- giving up on your partner and getting out is quite possibly the best, safest way to restoration.

“He said with this ring I promise, and with I do she said forever
But right now if they’re being honest they don’t know if they’ll stay together
Let’s fast forward to the future after struggling on their own
They finally figured out they needed Jesus in the middle
Now I’m watching God rebuild their home”

Jesus sandwiches, relationship triangles or any other conglomeration don’t actually make for guaranteed God-built homes. Let’s get real.

[Chorus]

“The enemy tries to come and divide
Trying to get us to give up the fight
But darkness will always lose out to light
‘Cause we’ve got the power of Christ on our side”

When the person you’re married to becomes the enemy, WHAT THEN? How about when they say they’re speaking in the name of Christ and living in the light, when actually, they’re lying, WHAT THEN?

And the song goes on. I encourage you (sort of) to give it a full listen, along with a testimony of this guy that was once on The Montel Williams Show. It’s about seven minutes long; click on this link to be directed to the video.

Ultimately,this song was not a safe listen for me, and I would seriously question whether it’s a safe listen for men or women dealing with severe marital issues. I don’t think it is safe for kids to listen to songs like “Restore” because it makes specific promises that God never says he will fulfill.

I believe God IS a God of restoration. But these types of songs? These messages to Christian communities? Honestly, they are part of what led me to leave the church for awhile. I was done interacting with so many Christians who sang the song of pray harder, anything is possible with God, things will get better if you have faith, and so I just bowed out for awhile.

As for me, when my marriage fell to pieces, I preferred other anthems as I let God into the dark, broken places that had become my new life. Restoration looked different for me, and sometimes it sounded like belting out lyrics to “I Bow Out” behind Whitney Houston’s incredible voice. You better believe that I was worshiping as I raised my hand up, bopped my head and pounded the steering while singing,

Tired of playing this game
And I won’t play it no more
And I won’t take it no more 
Through with being your fool
And I won’t do it no more
And I won’t
I won’t keep up this act not for one minute
I’m gonna pull
I’m gonna pull this curtain down

Christian musicians, listen up, please. Restoration, healing, hope, do not look the same for everyone. Jesus makes things new, but please be careful about the “New by Jesus” that you’re marketing.

Sometimes moving towards restoration means pulling the curtain of pretense down, refusing to take the pain, walking out the door and moving on.

{ Readers, what are your thoughts? Do you think current Christian music contributes to a culture of shame surrounding divorce within the church? Are there other songs, sung by Christian artists, which made you feel alienated from your own faith by listening to them?}