Just wondering what people's views are on changing lyrics of popular worship songs such as 'How He Loves' (by John Mark McMillan) and 'Blessed be Your Name' (by Matt Redman).
The original version of How He Loves had the line:
'Heaven meets earth like a sloppy wet kiss'
but some of the covers of the song changed the line to:
'Heaven meets earth like an unforeseen kiss'
Similarly I've heard that some people change the line in Matt Redman's song 'Blessed be Your name' from:
'You give and take away' to 'You give and bless the day'.
Presumably this is legal and the artist's permission was sought before making these changes to the song lyrics - but why do people feel the need to change them? Why not just use a different song?
On "Sloppy Wet Kiss" I can see why a worship leader may want to change it lyrically so that it would be more accessible to the congregation. However, "Unforseen" seems just as artsy but loses the original intent. If I were to change the lyric, I would sing it as "Heaven meets earth like a passionate kiss" so the dynamic is still there and the meaning similar.
"You give and take away"... sums up the entire song to me and is definitely based in scripture. If you need to change that line, just don't sing the song at all. LOL.
This is just my opinion of course. I'm glad I found this site and look forward to reading and learning from others around the globe.
The original meaning of "sloppy wet kiss" was that the Cross of Christ was not pretty & neat, but a messy, yet still beautiful way of God showing us His love. Not sure anything else can convey that but the original.
For "Blessed Be Your Name", I agree and would leave the lyrics unchanged considering the scriptural reference to Job. For "How He Loves", I would rather use "Unforeseen Kiss" because I really don't like how "Sloppy Wet Kiss" sounds.
This has been a good discussion so far. Unfortunately I didn't have time to read all 6 pages of comments, so please excuse any redundancies.
How He Loves - Personally I don't see any serious theological reasons with the line, "sloppy wet kiss," and that seems to be the consensus. However, whether or not we should use this line in church has very little to do with what us worship leaders think. The fact is that if the majority of people worshiping at a given location will be distracted by it then we shouldn't use it. In a situation like this where it's not a question of theological accuracy but of whether people will be weirded out, then it largely depends upon the body and their reaction to the line.
I actually don't like unforeseen either and I'm surprised that Crowder would go with such a poorly thought-out substitute. Perhaps we could come up with something better? It would be great if every congregation had the freedom to use the original line without alienating a large percentage of the worshipers, but that's just not the case. Remember, worship leaders, what we all are already painfully aware of: it's not about us.
Blessed Be Your Name - This line change is just plain ignorance of or aversion to scriptural truth. What a ridiculous thing for a church leader to make...
So, for "How He Loves" we have two official versions. Arguably, neither version of that line is particularly fitting for congregational worship; "sloppy wet kiss" might suggests that God looks at us with mawkish sentamentality and there is a strong case that the God's breaking of sin and death through the cross was anything but unforeseen. Or, if you insist that the lyric is about personal experience rather than theological history, we are back to the point that it becomes meaningless when everybody sings it because it is put in front of them.
How about a different tack? What if I decided to only use the chorus of the song? Would that be an effective way to use it as part of a worship set without either the concerns about making corporate use of personal poetry or twisting the original authors words in a misleading way?
It might be good to interject that changing the lyrics or melody to any song is illegal, even for church use. I suggest if someone does not like parts of a song, they can write a whole new song that you do like. People have tried to re-write and even steal one of my old songs, but it is preferable that they write their own new song and sleep better. Just something to chew on :)
Yes, I mentioned this earlier. I am glad to see your post -- it really concerns me that so many Christian worship artists think it's okay to even consider changing or omitting lyrics in someone else's worship song. I can't wrap my head around that. It shouldn't be an accepted practice, and it IS illegal.
What about the question I raised earlier (it probably got lost - I find the flow of discussion hard to follow when it takes off and starts going in different directions): what about the case when you don't alter a word but drop a whole section? For example, how about if I took "How He Loves" and just sing the chorus?
There are many, many songs, both in the sacred and secular worlds, that have lost the verses but kept the choruses. If you go back and look at the verses, it's usually not hard to see why.
It is not illegal to sing part of a song rather than the entire song.
I do that a lot with songs that have bridges that (in my opinion) do not relate well to the rest of the song.
I don't think it's illegal to omit portions of a song - you're just not supposed to "alter or change the basic lyric". I doesn't imply that you are obliged to sing the whole song - only that what you sing has to be left unchanged.
For instance, you can sing only the chorus or only one verse because that's not changing the basic lyric. But to omit a word, while trivial, is to violate the agreement with CCLI.
Do I think this is right? Sometimes it seems like we should be able to change the melody a bit or make a small word change to fit our needs. But the rules are well stated and we've tacitly agreed to them by signing up for CCLI.