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?
Life has seasons. Sometimes God adds to us and sometimes he removes things from us. Sometimes we have to repent from overt sins or misdirected attitudes. Our song selection should reflect that fact. There are some great songs out there that may be the wrong season for your congregation.
"The Lord Gives and the Lord takes away ...." is appropriate ONLY when the congregation is going thru a time of loss.
There was a time about 3 years ago when a family (mother and 2 teen age children) in our congregation were all killed. That song was appropriate as we all healed from that loss. It reminded us that Beth, Connor and Britney were all with HIM. It would not be appropriate now.
Another song, "Heart of Worship," has the lyric "I'm sorry Lord for the thing I've made it, its all about you ...." It is talking about repenting from making worship music an idol. It is a fantastic song both in melody and lyric; but IMO is inappropriate for congregational use if you are NOT in a season of repentance.
God cannot be boxed.He reveals Himself in different ways to different people at different points in their lives.Jobs statement of God at that point came as a result of the occurances in his life.
I am at a point where i constantly say 'though He slays me yet will I serve Him' - will u ask/say 'Does God slay his people'
I say 'I am sticking still' knowing that there is no hope/God elsewhere - would you say ' i am the one holding on to God...
I want to say our words(spoken or sang) are an expression of the depth of our experiences and OUR KNOWLEDGE OF GOD(which differs from person to person). If your congregation cannot handle sloppy wet kiss or He takes away then use somthing else(Rm 14:21,1 Cor 8:13), Our responsibility is to get people to meet with Him/see Him and not get them confused....There is a place for deep truth but its rarely in congregational worship
I am with most of us here... some songs seem to wax poetic and it sounds kewl, but I have to get on the side of scriptural soundness, and in other cases use ANOTHER scripture or thought to bring out the message that is needed for that service. For example - SLOPPY WET KISS and HEART BEATING VIOLENTLY.. I changed to SOAKING SPRING RAIN and HEART TURNS WARMLY, mainly because both feel better.. a VIOLENTLY BEATING HEART is very scary to those that have not been delivered from anxiety! As for BLESSED BE YOUR NAME - I know it's scripture, so I had to take another thought and bring it to the surface. We all know "The Lord giveth, and the Lord taketh away... blessed be the Name of the Lord!", but I challenge that with the New Testament with the grace of God and for that line - YOU GIVE AND TAKE AWAY... we say FOR YOUR LOVE AND GRACE, I WILL LIVE MY VOICE (or HANDS) in PRAISE... my heart will choose to say....,
The melody and overall songs are great! Sometimes a popular song just needs tweaking for the people of God that we serve. I live in a military town, where quite a few soldiers are deployed. I would be foolish to bring ADDITIONAL fear into the picture. I choose to speak LIFE and to allow the Lord to sing over us with songs of deliverance. All I know, it works for us!
Oh and by the way... one guy didn't want us to sing How He Loves at ALL because it talked about HURRICANES... I lived on the East Coast and hurricanes were a part of life... What I'm saying to that is that you can't please EVERYBODY - My prayer is: Lord, put me in the heart of Your people that I minister to, and put me in their heart!
Thanks for all of your replies so far - this is a very interesting debate!
Just wanted to add a note about the way we conduct ourselves and communicate on here.
As we all know, we should be known for our love for one another. Let's try to respect each other, even when, or perhaps, especially when someone holds a different view to ourselves.
Just because something is in the bible, it doesn't necessarily mean it's God's will or that we should take that statement to be correct and one that we should adopt as New Testament Christians. I think the only person in the Bible that we can do that with is Jesus - as He was God, and we're told that if we've seen Jesus then we've seen the Father. The way I understand this is that whatever Jesus said or did was God's perfect will. Everything else in the bible needs to be interpreted and the context and co-text (but let's not get too deep!) explored and studied. This almost always results in different Christians holding different view points.
People normally have good reasons for holding their interpretations of scripture, so if you're genuinely surprised that someone believes differently to you why not ask them (in a sincere way) to explain further why they believe differently?
I expect only a small minority of us have read the WTR Guidelines (that's fine, I normally skip over these too on most sites) but one of ours is:
"Please always treat each other with respect."
Let's remember that this is an open forum which can be read by anyone - we want to be good witnesses and to be known for our love for one another.
Thanks for reading!
With the song How He Loves Me it's difficult for me not to hear Muhammad Ali's words in there "float like a battleship, sting like a bee".
Great song for a concert or gig, but probably not for a typical Sunday Morning congregation.
LOL! I think it was "float like a butterfly"....
As the worship leader/blogger who initially introduced this song to corporate use broadly back in early '03, I disagree. ;-)
I do agree that the song is rich in metaphor, & doesn't necessarily connect with everyone, but the images are - to me, at least - challenging in good ways, & stretch believers in their commitment to God & intimacy with God. I've since written similar songs that - I acknowledge - leave me feeling somewhat awkward when I sing them... sometimes a degree of awkwardness is good. It's musical discipleship... stretching ourselves & our people towards deeper intimacy with "Dada" ("Abba").
How He Loves Us: The portion of this song that refers to a "sloppy kiss" is talking about the point of salvation. I understand how people like the poetry side of these lyrics. However, I generally don't think of salvation as a sloppy wet kiss with Jesus. Of course these lyrcis are talking about heaven and earth but lets be real; we're talking about what Jesus has done. Though there is nothing biblically wrong with this, I generally think congregations get to this part of the lyrics and stop and question what they are about to say. Unless they know this song well I believe it would break the focus on Jesus.
Blessed be your name: Though both are biblical, I would have to question the motives behind changing these lyrics. This song all the way through is about how we will bless God's name in the good and the bad. If you change the bridge and not the verses I don't know what you're gaining. I think the heart behind changing the lyrics would likely be because you don't believe that God takes things away, which is very unbiblical.
Years ago, Elmer Towns (Mr. "Sunday School"), wrote a book called "Putting an End to the Worship Wars." In the book, he discusses the differences between anointing and emotionality, as well as how worship leaders should handle theological differences. It was very helpful to me in approaching this subject.
For me, both as a worship writer and as a worship leader, I find the difficulty comes to play when there are theological "glitches" in the song lyrics. Years ago, Carol Wimber had a meeting withsome of Vineyard's worshipwriters at Vineyard, just after John's death, where she discussed with them the types of songs that were becoming commonly led at that time. She was quoted (I was not there, but the account was told to me by a friend), "We have enough 'God is my Girlfriend' songs." She then asked for songs that were theologically and doctrinally sound as well as able to move the heart towards intimacy with God. Personally, I agree with her.
When I look for a song to "take us there," there are three things I look for:
1) Does the song carry what I call "seeds of Glory?" That means, does it take my focus off of myself because it carries strong encouragement regarding the character and nature of Abba Father -- or does it only center on making me feel better? (Declaring my forlorn state without declaring the victory of the Cross in my forlorn state.) If the song does carry those seeds, those are the songsthat carry more than market-ability; they are anointed by the Spirit of God.
2) Is the song theologically and doctrinally sound? Does it confirm the Word of God and pull me towards more intimate relationship with my Heavenly Bridegroom, or does it become a "platform" for me to seclude myself into an emotionally exclusive confirmation of my own views and brokenness? (Too much emotionality in a song tends to only comfort brokennes without invoking the desire for the personal changes that brokenness is designed to serve as a catalyst for).
3) Is the song easy to understand, and not too "wordy?" While I do believe that the Holy Spirit desires us to all live on a learning curve, and be disciples rather than just wear the label "Christian," it is possible to wear people out during a worship segment of a service. The most successful worship pieces (excluding the hymns), for me, are the ones that I can't stop singing because I remember them long after Sunday/Wednesday services are concluded. Those are the ones that "teach and admonish," --
Simply put, Matt Redman's "Blessed be Your name," is great and meets all of the criteria mentioned. We wore it out. The "worship war" seems to come on the "you give and take away," part -- Is this something Job said about God, or is it something God said about Himself? For me, what image of God the Father do I want the congregation to walk away believing?
The "sloppy wet kiss" song is very appealing to the fatherless, abandoned generation -- for and from whom it was written -- so that has to be taken into account -- Abba Father is the Perfect Parent who is always happy to see us, spend time with us, knows us completely and holds no hint of rejection or disapproval towards us. There again, what image of our God do people take away -- and is he close up or detached? We did change this lyric -- simply because the idea of God drooling did not appeal..... just sayin.
Hope this isn't too much sharing.
WOW! Thanks for those words. Not too much at all!
I am honored to actually be on a blog with the person who shared "To Him Who Sits On The Throne" with us all! I'm just saying! I thank you for sharing this song and others with the world!
I'm sorry if I offended anyone for my STARSTRUCK moment!!
To God be ALL the Glory!
We use How He Loves a lot in our youth services, which are led by students. They are the ones that suggested we use the alternative wording of "unforeseen kiss". They felt uncomfortable singing "sloppy wet kiss".
Now, that's cool. That they were open enough to share they prefer the other lyrics.