Friday, August 7, 2009

One Way Jesus

It hasn't been one of my favorite praise songs.

I have a conflicted relationship with contemporary Christian music to begin with. Before I served a congregation where this was a significant form of worship, I harbored an active dislike for "CCM." It was, as far as I was concerned, nothing more than predigested treacly Jesus-pop, carefully focus-grouped and image-managed by AmeriChrist, Inc. so that the socially isolated teen children of fundamentalists could delude themselves into thinking they're "edgy" and/or "cool."

I've since come around quite a bit. I've seen it used in worship, and realized that it's not nearly as annoying as I originally thought. I've gotten to know the faith of folks who like CCM, and found it to be filled with grace. There've been plenty of moments when I've been spiritually moved by the efforts of my praise team. Thanks to their efforts, I'll often find myself humming praise music to myself when I wake up in the morning.

There are, nonetheless, some songs that still annoy me. Some of them are troubling because they say basically nothing about the faith. Others say...well...things that I don't agree with.

"One Way Jesus" had been one of those songs that fell into the latter category. The song's recurring chorus goes like this:
One Way Jesus
You're the only one that I could live for
One Way Jesus
You're the only one that I could live for
As a Christian who doesn't assume that other faiths are just the 32 Flavors of Hell, the simple chorus of this song has in past felt a bit Booyah-Buddhist-Suckah-Here's-My-Jeezus-In-Yo-Face.

The other day during worship, I had a different reaction. What I believe about Jesus of Nazareth is that his life and teachings and his whole being express the purpose of humanity. His message of compassion and selflessness, of love for God and love for others, is a universal and defining value. That message and the life it causes us to lead is "The Way." It is, as the letter to the church at Ephesus puts it, the "one hope" to which I am called.

In believing that, which I do, I'm affirming that choosing to follow his path is inherently good. Making that commitment, which I have, doesn't mean that I am therefore obligated to hate other faiths, or to view them as inherently evil. It does, however, mean that I'm making a value statement about the significance of Christ and the life he called me to lead.

Given that you can't be a progressive without a sense of direction, I figure there's nothing wrong with saying you happen to think the direction you've set yourself in is a good one.

1 comment:

  1. "Given that you can't be a progressive without a sense of direction, I figure there's nothing wrong with saying you happen to think the direction you've set yourself in is a good one."

    But is it necessary? That is, does it have any greater value than the others? Objectively, speaking.

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