- “Jesus draw me close, closer Lord to You. Let the world around me fade away…”
- “Draw me close to You, never let me go, I lay it all down again, to hear you say that I’m your friend…”
The reason I am bringing this up is not to bash or insist on a comprehensive boycott of these songs. At Parkview we presently sing or have sung many songs (or sections of songs) that could be classified as “God is my girlfriend” songs (choruses, verses, etc..). In any case, I do feel we need to be cautious about over using these songs in corporate worship for the following reasons:
They make less of God
If we verbalize affection to God in the same way we would a person we are dating, then maybe we are thinking (or teaching) too little of God. If we are inviting unbelievers and believers to the goodness of our great God, then is it in our best interested simply paint a picture of a better cuddle?
They tell us nothing of God’s character or acts
Certainly our finite ability to understand and articulate the greatness of God forces us to simplify our adoration to tangible categories of God’s goodness; however, we shouldn’t use this as an excuse to emasculate our songs to the point that they say nothing specific of God’s goodness or character by only dwelling on the feelings we have for him.
My wife deserves better
Taking the previous point a little further, I could tell my wife “I love you, you are wonderful, come near to me, for when I’m with you the world fades away.” I could also tell her “Your loving smile fills my life with gladness, you grow more beautiful every single day, our children care for each other because of your example of selfless love, your spiritual fervor inspires me to love God more deeply, being with you brings me great joy.” Which would she prefer? Hands down she would prefer the second (BTW: I did confirm this with her before posting this). Why? Because those statements spoke deeply of the qualities that make me love her. Interestingly I could have wrote the first statement after my second date, but could only write the second after years of growing to love and know her more deeply.
The guy factor
I remember having a discussion with a Worship Leader friend about the lyric “Jesus I am so in love with You” in a song we used to sing at Parkview. The discussion was centered around the idea that sometimes flowery or emotional language can create a disconnect with men who tend to have an aversion to “touchy feely” moments. Certainly this is not true with all men, but in my perception is true with many.
They aren’t worth our time
Worship songs are more prolific now than ever. There are scores of wonderful songs to choose from every week. As we select our five to six songs for a weekend shouldn’t they be the best we have to offer?
People want to say something
I have worshiped in many charismatic churches that seem quite contented to repeat endearing phrases to God over and over and over again. This plain reality is that most people who attend mainline evangelical churches don’t relate to this way of thinking. Feedback I’ve received at our church (in a very academic oriented community) is that people really struggle with highly repetitive songs. They tend to want the lyrics to take them somewhere by telling a story that challenges them to think as well as engage the emotions.
In conclusion, I am not arguing that churches should only sing a diet of heady four verse songs rich in theological meaning. This would be insensitive to the seeker in our midst and would prevent us from occasionally pausing to dwell upon one aspect of God. My only concern is that we not fault on the side of singing songs that only express feelings and neglect to give God worship that articulates more deeply what makes him deserving of all our honor and praise.