With the recent purchase of a new guitar, and my desire to get back into leading worship and playing my guitar and writing more, I decided it was time to weed through all of the worship music I’ve had on my computer since college and do some categorizing. I made folders (Good Songs, Okay Songs and Bad Songs) and went to work going through them, reading the lyrics, deciding which songs were ones I could sing with integrity & use in congregational worship.
Unfortunately, some of my college favorites made the “Bad Songs” folder, while using the “Okay Songs” folder as a form of purgatory for the ones I wasn’t quite ready to claim as theologically-inappropriate.
While going through the process, I did find some really bad lyrics…many that I’ve sung and used to lead worship in the past…and thought I’d share them with you. Please feel free to share below in the comments some of the lyrics that you find inappropriate-theologically, uber-cheesy or just bad.
Can a nation be changed?
Can a nation be saved?
Can a nation be turned back to you?
We’re on our knees, we’re on our knees again.
Matt Redman – “Can a Nation Be Changed?”
Sure, a nation can be changed…should we sing in worship for our nation to be converted and “saved” and turned back to you? There is the implicit understanding that our nation (while Matt Redman was probably referring to the UK) was previously a “Christian” nation and that everything would be better if it returned to such a state. Not so.
You are my desire, no one else will do
‘Cause nothing else could take your place
To feel the warmth of your embrace
Kelly Carpenter - “Draw Me Close”
Yes…I love me some warm embraces from Jesus. No one else can fulfill that desire…
Friend of sinners, Lord of truth
I am falling in love with you
Friend of sinners, Lord of truth
I have fallen in love with you
Matt Redman – “Friend of Sinners”
Matt, as you’ll see below, really loves this “falling into love” motif with Jesus. Some of his stuff is the strongest “Jesus is my boyfriend and I love him more than anything” type of praise music out there…good stuff.
You call me child and I’ll call you Father
Kisses from heaven of joy and laughter
I want to lavish my love on you, Jesus.
David Harper – “I Want to Lavish”
I really don’t know exactly what it looks like to lavish your love upon Jesus…but, this could just be me, but I don’t know that Jesus really needs us to lavish our love on him…I think he’s probably doing just fine. But hey – that could just be me.
In the secret, in the quiet place
In the stillness, you are there
In the secret, in the quiet hour I wait only for you
‘Cause I want to know you more
I want to touch you, I want to see your face
I want to know you more
Andy Park – “In the Secret”
Andy, Andy…oh Andy. Did you read these lyrics before you published this song? Did you think about the fact that talking about finding Jesus in a secret, quiet place, and talking about touching him in that secret, quiet place might have some unfortunate connotations. Let alone the whole “Jesus is my boyfriend & I really, really love him” type of song – the sexual overtones are just a little much…but maybe that’s just me.
The nails in your hands
the nails in your feet
They tell me how much you love me.
The thorns on your brow
They show me how
You bore so much shame to love me.
Richard Cimino – “The Nails in Your Hands”
In addition to “Jesus as my girlfriend” songs – songs about the cross also have some pretty bad theology. Is it true that the only way we know about Christ’s love is through the blood, nails and the thorns on Christ’s brow? And why do we sing songs that are so “happy” sounding about something that was such a brutal and vicious death?
The simplest of all love songs
I want to bring to you
So I’ll let my words be few
Jesus, I am so in love with you.
Matt & Beth Redman – “Let My Words Be Few”
Finally…I don’t know much about how Matt writes his songs…but it seems like maybe he needed a quick one to finish out an album, and he figured, “Hey, I have a little love note that I wrote to Beth once…..maybe I could just pull that out, and stick Jesus’ name in there.” Beth had to give approval, hence she’s listed as the co-author…that seems to work pretty well. Now I just need to find some old emails to Sarah…or better yet, some of those 20 pages “love” letters I wrote to Shannon in 8th grade. A few E-A-B and G-C-D chord progressions, and I might have the next hottest worship album.
What do you think are some of the worst lyrics you’ve sung in worship & praise music…? Please share below…