Wednesday, August 17, 2005

Christians being human


Charlie Peacock

Many years ago I wrote and recorded a song title, ‘Kiss Me Like a Woman.’ It appeared on my Love Life album, a collection of songs with mostly male-female relationship themes.

A whole chain of stores sent my albums back with a note: ‘When Charlie Peacock starts making Christian music again, we’ll start selling it.’ Some stores held on to Love Life but initiated a policy of keeping it under the counter. This made it available to adults but kept it out of the hands of curious teens and unsuspecting children. The problem focused on the lyrics of ‘Kiss Me Like a Woman.’ What kind of lyrics could make followers of Jesus so wary, upset, and unsupportive?

Hello baby, this is your lover speaking, just as I promised you
I’ve been saving my affections for the beauty of one
One more time show me how love is done
Before we set the house on fire, let’s take the time to build desire
Kiss me like a woman and I’ll love you like a man
We can lie naked and unashamed, made one by divine connection
It’s good to know there’s a sacred trust when you give away your affections
It’s a beautiful place to be when you can trust each other completely.
Kiss me like a woman and I’ll love you like a man

Some followers of Jesus wonder why musicians would think it necessary to write these kinds of lyrics. They’re not alone in their wonderment. We’ve told and lived such small stories in front of the watching world that even they wonder why we enter the public square with this kind of artistic dialogue. When Sixpence None the Richer had their breakout hit with, ironically enough, a song title, ‘Kiss Me,’ the mainstream press took notice. ‘Look,’ the press wrote, ‘they’re abandoning their God songs for love songs. What a curious thing. What possible authentic interests do these artists have in such a topic?’ [Their] answer: ‘They’re simply suppressing their Victorian impulses to achieve popular success and infiltrate the devil’s playground of pop music.’

It’s all very frustrating, but I took special exception to a Wall Street Journal article with this tone and shot off a letter to the editor:

‘While the idea of a Christian singing love songs might be inconsistent with the ideology of much of the contemporary Christian music industry and its supporters, it is an idea perfectly consistent with the Bible (see Song of Solomon). Unfortunately, this truth and similar ones seem to find little acceptance within the Christian music community. As a result, Christian pop music has too often represented to the watching world a ridiculously truncated view of what it means to be a student-follower of Jesus. There are true artists such as Sixpence None the Richer who are trying (through their music and lives) to remedy this error. In contradiction to what your article intimated, artists such as these are not interested in creating ‘God-free content.’ They are interested in creating truthful and artful lyrics which represent their belief that all of life is lived out before the loving gaze of God – including kisses ‘beneath the milky twilight.’ The bottom line is this: Christians actually enjoy kissing. It’s no wonder some want to sing about it.’

From chapter 13 of New Way to Be Human – a provocative look at what it means to follow Jesus, published by Waterbrook Press 2004
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