Derek Webb – Stockholm Syndrome

By Eric Pettersson on September-22-2009 | Filed under Reviews | Tags : , , , , , , | Share

Derek Webb – Stockholm Syndrome
Score: 3/5Score: 3/5Score: 3/5Score: 3/5Score: 3/53
2.5 (8 votes)

Artist: Derek Webb

Album: Stockholm Syndrome

Label: INO Records

Release Date: September 1, 2009

Review by: Eric Pettersson

Tracklisting:

  1. Opening Credits
  2. Black Eye
  3. Cobra Con
  4. Freddie, Please
  5. The Spirit Vs. The Kick Drum
  6. What Matters More
  7. The State
  8. The Proverbial Gun
  9. I Love/Hate You
  10. Becoming a Slave
  11. Jenna and Jimmy
  12. Heaven
  13. What You Give Up to Get It
  14. American Flag Umbrella

Now that the initial shock effect has subsided and the controversy over Derek Webb’s use of strong language has cooled down a little bit, it is time to look into what Stockholm Syndrome, as a whole, has to say and how effectively it was communicated both lyrically and musically. As fans have come to expect over the years, Derek continues to speak his mind on pressing issues in the world around him and to do so over an ever-changing musical landscape.

The new album, Stockholm Syndrome, starts off with a drum and bass feel, signaling yet another significant change in Webb’s musical direction. The album is very electronic-based and often danceable, and it is a move that may help Webb break out of his niche market. His voice enters on the second track, “Black Eye” with a meandering jazzy singing style that fits well with the smooth, club-esque music (all in a respectably indie kind of way).

We really begin to get to the meat of this album with “Freddie, Please.” This slow ballad asks “How can you say you love me when you hate me” to a certain man who pickets funerals only to be told by Derek, “Freddie, can’t you see, brother, you’re the one who’s queer?” While Evangelicals today are almost unanimous in their condemnation of Fred Phelps’ use of the phrase “God hates fags” and his deplorable tactics in communicating this message, they also feel the need to always add the disclaimer that they basically agree with what he has to say, just not the way he’s saying it. Derek has no time to mess around with this compromise of the transformative power of the Gospel, saying Phelps would even picket Jesus’ grave for “loving the things you hate.” Jesus specifically went to the outcasts of society and loved them, and the Church must do the same, regardless of how much their lifestyle grosses us out. (And let’s be honest. Even though there are those eleven verses in the Bible saying homosexuality is sinful, how many Christians hide behind that when their primary reason for fighting it is just because they think it’s gross? My guess is it’s probably the majority if my youth group experience was at all typical of the Church in America today.)

Continuing in the vein of Mockingbird’s “New Law,” “The Spirit Vs. The Kick Drum” is a first-person song that challenges a lot of the over-simplifying and short-cuts we take in our faith. The former ironically asked for a new law with a whole bunch of easy answers and simple-to-follow rules so that we no longer needed wisdom and discernment or the ability to listen to the Holy Spirit. The new track, a really upbeat song with fast drums and a grooving bass, says successively through each verse, “I don’t want the Spirit, I want a kick drum… I don’t want the Son, I want a jury of peers… I don’t want the Father, I want a vending machine.” How often do we have this attitude, wanting the benefits of God’s blessings without the difficulty of maintaining a true relationship with God? There are many similar parallels given in each verse, all repenting of our desire to gloss over or even cut out the more troublesome parts of Christianity.

I bought the digital “explicit” copy of this record, so my review will include “What Matters More,” the controversial song that didn’t make it onto the physical version sold in stores. This song adds to the reflection on the proper way for Christians to respond to homosexuality, and it seems that even beyond his use of the word “shit,” most people are actually just upset with Derek for being willing to stand up for gay people. He doesn’t really say one way or the other whether he thinks it is a sin, but this is irrelevant in a song focused on asking the Church what matters more, maintaining a certain tradition or truly loving our neighbors? His words are most powerful on the second verse, which says, “If I can see what’s in your heart by what comes out of your mouth, then it sure looks to me like being straight is all it’s about. It looks like being hated for all the wrong things, like chasing the wind while the pendulum swings. Cause we can talk and debate till we’re blue in the face, about the language and tradition that He’s coming to save. And meanwhile we sit just like we don’t have give a shit about fifty thousand people who are dying today. Tell me, what matters more to you?” We can talk about Jesus and personal morality all we want, but if we’re not doing the work he’s called us to do, if we don’t even care about the fact that thousands are dying daily, we’ve missed the point.

The theme of the album as a whole is expressed clearly in “I Love/Hate You,” a love song to someone who is destroying the lover. This is Stockholm syndrome, a psychological condition in which hostages come to identify with and love their captors. The album presents several examples, such as “Becoming a Slave” which paints the picture of a culture that is enslaved to the status quo, unable to condemn the apparent evils of slavery and trying to cope by saying “It’s so easy, when they’re not like us.” Another song, “Jenna and Jimmy,” tells the story of a guy attending a political meeting and listening to a girl talk about social injustice and changing the world, pretending to care and agree just so he can end up in bed with her.

“Heaven” is a satire with a slight island sound added to the electronic mix, talking about a homeless man who dies and remains homeless in Heaven because “You only have what you came in with.” In this Heaven, Jesus rides in a bulletproof car, so that “Everyone is safe from the man who tells the Truth.” It makes you think, if the last will be first and the first will be last, why do so many of us put so much time and effort into being first in this life? Do we really believe in the picture of Heaven shown in this song? Have we put Jesus in a box to protect ourselves from his more uncomfortable teachings?

While the other songs have more thought-provoking things to say, I would have rearranged them and ended the album with “The State”/“The Proverbial Gun.” These two songs blend into each other to tell the full story of a man who “sold [his] conscience to the State.” It is the sad story of the Church throughout history: Catholic and Protestant, liberal and conservative. We sell-out to the State in exchange for a place of comfort and privilege, but as Jesus said, what good is it if we gain the whole world yet forfeit our souls? The second song is a slow acoustic guitar and passionate vocals with a constantly building keyboard swell as it presents a hopeful ending of this man’s story. Entering “The courtrooms of the mind” and knowing “I’m guilty as hell,” the ending may not be what you expect. “By the afternoon I’m out, out on the pavement walking, wreaking of salt and blood. No hat upon my head, no shoes upon my feet, picking your body from my teeth. No stars above me, no stripes upon me. Free.” May we all mentally free our consciences from the hold that the world has on them, knowing that in the end, we are accountable to God alone.

Overall: With perhaps his most drastic musical change so far, Derek Webb continues to show his versatility as a song-writer on Stockholm Syndrome. While many old time fans will not connect with this style as well, he does it surprisingly well and the final result is something that has eventually grown on me. Calling for the physical and spiritual liberation of those in bondage to any other than Christ, Webb angers both the captors and the hostages who have grown to love their captors, but this is the agitation that true prophets have always caused by calling for God’s people to give up their wickedness and idolatry and return to the Lord. You don’t have to instantly agree with everything Derek says. In fact, that would go against his call for spiritual discernment. But to ignore or reject such a helpful and important spiritual message because of a disagreement over a minor issue like language only shows that we really “don’t give a shit” about “what matters more.”

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Derek Webb - Stockholm Syndrome, 2.5 out of 5 based on 8 ratings

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About the author Eric Pettersson

Eric Pettersson is from Reading, PA and a graduate of La Salle University in Philadelphia with degrees in Communication and Religion. He wrote regularly for IVM 2005-2011. Now he has his own website, Explore Reading, "a progressive guide to the city of Reading, Pennsylvania. Follow him at www.explorereading.net View all posts by Eric Pettersson

65 Responses to 'Derek Webb – Stockholm Syndrome'

  1. Mike M says:

    i’m really enjoying it. spirit v. kick drum is awesome!

  2. RJ says:

    Ugh. That is all. Ugh.

  3. Chris says:

    “It is the sad story of the Church throughout history”
    “his song adds to the reflection on the proper way for Christians to respond to homosexuality, and it seems that even beyond his use of the word

  4. John says:

    Why are people turned off by this? Criticizing modern Christianity too much for you? I don’t get it, it’s like somebody comes along and says “Modern Christianity’s attitude needs to be fixed” and everybody’s struck like a bat being exposed to light. It’s some hardcore “you need to change” talk, people. Listen up and stop chickening out.

    • David M says:

      I don’t have a problem with anyone saying we need to fix how the church is nowadays. That’s obvious. But instead of sitting here and complaining and acting self-righteous, why don’t we do something to actually change that? Not saying Derek Webb hasn’t, but it’s like what Mattie said at Cornerstone: stop asking for a Revival. It’s already started. We need to move past that and start doing the work.

  5. Levi G says:

    John, that’s never been the issue. At all. That’s incredibly unfair and I think very unkind to imply. It’s often the people who care about reforming the church who aren’t ok with the way he presents it. It’s actually more like someone came along and said “whether or not homosexuality is a sin doesn’t matter and isn’t an issue” and “I can be crass to shock people” and then when people disagree with him he turns around and says “SEE? THIS IS WHAT’S WRONG WITH THE CHURCH.”

    John, I think the problem is that you’ve fallen for it.

    • John says:

      I see what you’re saying, but I tend to see him as saying homosexuality isn’t the *biggest* issue, not that it’s not an issue at all. It’s definitely not the biggest issue in terms of marriage and what not – I see divorce as the biggest issue right now. But I see him saying people are spending too much time debating about homosexuality when, believe it or not, there are more pressing issues at the time.

      I don’t have an issue with swearing. It’s appropriate here and dare I say necessary because certain issues just need that much attention and swearing certainly attracts the attention of Christian conservatives (I’m sure Jesus dropped a cuss word or two in His time: “brood of vipers” for e.g., and Paul basically used the word sh*t).

      I don’t think I’ve “fallen” for it so much as I see some of this shocking stuff as a good kick in the butt of complacency and confusion.

  6. Manuel says:

    Right on, Levi.

  7. Colt says:

    I am want to judge this album, and the man on the cover. But should I? Only one can see into the depths of the hearts of men, and it isn’t me. Is he judgemental? It seems so, but I don’t know him or his heart. Is he trying to create shock value just to sell his album? maybe, but I don’t know him or his heart.

    I’m not advocating a position of weak-mindedness. Just wisdom. Does his message need to be heard? Perhaps his communication of it isn’t perfect, but (from what I read in this review) I think many would benefit from his “harsh” opinions.

  8. Colt says:

    *I want

    It’s been a long day, lol. Note: I have yet to hear the full album myself.

  9. daguitarmaster says:

    i agree levi

  10. Eric says:

    I’m not gonna lie. There were several points on this record, such as the line about being safe from the man who tells the Truth, that I was just like, OK Derek, get over yourself. But my goal with this review was to look at the positive aspects of the release and show how it could be helpful spiritually, since it seemed to me that he was being unfairly attacked and judged over a minor point on the record. I wanted to correct that by showing all the substance throughout the record as a whole, but in doing so I think I was so focused on that goal that I limited myself from being able to add some constructive criticism.

    In fact, I’ve been thinking about it a lot since I posted this review last night, and I wish I would have done a few things differently, but what’s been said has been said, and I don’t think it makes sense to go back and change it all now. But if I did change, these are the new thoughts I would want to include:

    Stockholm Syndrome is cloudy. It’s cool for about eight songs, and then I just get tired of the new style, of the vague themes, and I start wishing for all the pretensions to break so that good ol’ Derek can shine through again. I miss “Wedding Dress,” and the other more worshipful songs that repent of being a part of the problem rather than just point it out in other people.

    It’s not his best work musically or lyrically. That was either Mockingbird or She Must and Shall Go Free. A lot of the songs could have been cut out, and it would have been a much more solid release. I probably would have removed the last three songs, along with “Cobra Con,” and rearranged to end with “The State”/”The Proverbial Gun” as I said above. I think that I might actually make a playlist on my computer and do that so I can actually make it through the whole album without getting bored.

    And now for the big moment of personal disclosure: I don’t think strong language is inherently wrong or sinful. I think that Scripture calls for us to be careful with our language, but the main idea is to use our words for building people up rather than tearing them down, and unfortunately strong language is most often used to tear people down, so Christians have generally decided to avoid it altogether, sort of like how a lot of Christians completely abstain from alcohol for fear of abusing it. So knowing that that was my viewpoint, you can hopefully see how I was so troubled by the fact that people were rejecting everything Derek had to say just because he chose to use one of these words. I wanted to help them get past that and show them the good points of his message, but in doing so I went too far and also glossed over the low points on the record.

    So yes, Derek does need to lighten up. Yes, he comes across as pretentious and judgmental, as if he’s simply traded in one form of Fundamentalism for another. But he has had a positive impact on me with his past records, and even if his opinionated attitude is getting old, he still continues to say valuable things now on Stockholm Syndrome (with some pretty good music, too, even if I prefer his acoustic folk style).

    Hope that helps. It at least helped me to feel better about getting all my real thoughts out there. What do you guys think, should I change the review itself and add these parts to make it more complete?

  11. Tim says:

    Thanks for the revised viewpoints. I mostly like this cd for its artistic styles and less for what he’s saying. Not because it bothers me, but because it doesnt interest me or really get to me in any meaningful way. I figure when the style of the songs gets old i’ll probably stop listening. I tell you what cd got boring fast was ringing bell. More personal songs would be nice. Maybe his CD of cover songs will be a nice change of pace or at least be fun.

  12. Levi G says:

    John, to address your reply, I respect that you have your opinion. I would like to point out, however, that the topic of swearing has come up a lot lately on this site and I have argued heavily on the side that swearing is simply not fit for living a Christian life. Someone else did a good job of refuting the brood of vipers and “rubbish” comments the other day. I’m not trying to have that argument again here (or I’d type it all out again, haha) but I’m saying that there’s a reason people like myself have a problem with him swearing to make a point. I personally believe it’s against what the Bible teaches.

    So is homosexuality. And I think that people like Webb need to be a lot more clear about their stance on these issues when we have artists like mewithoutYou being vague, only to be found admitting their spiritual lostness and worshipping at Sufi temples later. Not that Webb is doing this, but the Christian public needs to find a good place between being too judgmental and being too gullible when an “idol” of theirs suddenly does something unfit of a Christian. It’s gonna happen a lot since we’re all depraved sinners, but an undiscerning Christian is in great danger of being numb to sins we come to regard as “small” or “insignificant,” or in this case what we think of as being “not the biggest issue.” Let’s at least, as Christians, speak with clarity about the subjects we bring up if we intend to make points with them. If Webb is trying to make points, he should do more than bring up a vague notion of homosexuality in order to make an argument, cause it’s pretty apparent that we are divided on exactly what he’s trying to say.

  13. Levi G says:

    Eric, though I’m not in agreement with you on everything (particularly your view on Christian speech), I’m glad you clarified things and I appreciate that you did so in a critical but amicable way.

  14. who? says:

    It’s hard to keep up with all these groups….. I didn’t even know about the mewithoutYou thing.

  15. who? says:

    P.S. good review!

  16. John, save yer breathe, I have said all that stuff before, but everyone is holding to their knee jerk reactions. Even though the evidence in front of them says otherwise

    • Levi G says:

      Opinions are fine, but there are respectful ways to express them, and there are mature ways to express them. Saying “you’re all wrong and holding to your knee jerk reactions” is assuming a lot about people you don’t know, plus it doesn’t add anything helpful to the debate. You can read on in this thread to see Ian’s sentiment here explained in more detail, the way you are talking I feel like you must have missed it.

    • Levi G says:

      Sorry Ian, this is directed to John in reference to this comment.

  17. Eric says:

    @who?: “the mewithoutYou thing” is debatable as well. The complete story is that everyone in the band claims to be a Christian, but Aaron, their lead singer, was raised by Sufi Muslims and so joins his mom at her mosque and says that he can find God there as well as at his Christian church. Now, some will find this as a problem and others will not. This is not the place to debate it, that’s already been done on mwY posts, but I figured you should at least have the basic facts of what is going on with that controversy.

  18. Levi G says:

    Ian, at this point you’re just being rude when other people are trying to respectfully debate.

    • John says:

      I don’t see how he’s being rude…? He’s just relating his experience/opinion.

    • Levi G says:

      John, saying the equivalent of “I’m not going to argue the points you guys made, but you’re all wrong and too dumb/arrogant to see it” is not only rude, but also completely unhelpful to the debate. He might as well have said “you guys are dumb and wrong” and it would’ve made a similar impression. If that’s his experience/opinion, there are many more mature ways of expressing it.

    • John says:

      At this point buddy, you’re reading way too much into his comment. He was replying to me because he seems to hold the same opinion as me, and we both obviously support Webb’s strategy/message/etc. He didn’t in any way mean to address you guys; he was just telling me that he’s tried to debate against people who oppose Webb before, and they seem to hold to their opinion regardless. He doesn’t say anywhere that you guys are “dumb and wrong,” though he does think you’re wrong. But that’s the whole point of having an opinion. If you didn’t think the other side was wrong, he wouldn’t be debating. This isn’t a liberal accept everything fest, we’re trying to get down to the truth here.

      This also isn’t the first time an opinion has been expressed on this site. I never hesitate to show my dislike for Relient K, and the people on here freely chastise me for it. They think I’m dumb and wrong for disliking Relient K. Is this “rude?” I don’t consider it so. I know people have their opinions, and we’re all free to express it. If they think I’m dumb and wrong for hating RK, then so be it. I welcome differing opinions.

    • Levi G says:

      John, I replied to the comment we were discussing by accident, so see above if you’re interested.

  19. who? says:

    Thanks Eric for filling me in.

  20. John Wayne says:

    I like Derek Webb and I need to buy this. Doubt it’ll top She Must and Shall Go Free, but who knows. More surprising things could happen. I like the fact that he speaks his mind, and I’m looking forward to seeing what I think about all the “controversy”

  21. Scott.L says:

    Levi – Hang in there, man. Outside of a miracle of God, guys like Ian won’t ever come down off their high-horse. What’s sad is the pious superiority with which they point the finger and tell those of us that don’t agree with their new enlightenment that we’re all acting too pious and superior. Prayer is probably the best bet.

    Eric – While I’ll agree to disagree on the Christian speech issue… your review as a whole was outstanding. Great job.

  22. @Scott
    Im sorry, have we met? Because most people wait to call people superior and pious until after they have spent time with a person.
    Levi, did I hurt your feelings? Enough so that your buddy had to come to your aid?
    Im not saying Im smarter or more enlightened than you. What I am saying is that I dont see what you guys are seeing. I DO NOT see were this musician says that the sin of homosexuality is ok. I DO see him saying that the Christian culture’s treatment of that group of people is down right deplorable. I could say that other groups, such as the BME crowd, ex-cons, and the homeless in our daily lives have met the same wall of judgment and exclusion…
    If sin is sin is sin, how can we justify this?
    Arnt we called to love the sinner and hate the sin? Arnt we called to represent something bigger than an adolescent reaction to something that mystifies us as a body of people?
    That is what I see him saying.
    Being pious is judging someone before you ever take the time to know them. I did not do that. I looked at the facts sitting in front of me (lyrics + interviews) and disagreed with you and Levi’s assessment. when I voiced my opinions earlier, I was called a prick. When I saw somebody else saying that SAME thing I brought up in earlier posts, I spoke up. When Levi’s response to my comment was that of a 14 yr old hall monitor, I treated him accordingly.
    I dont think I know more than anybody on this web site.. But God has blessed me with my brain and my eyes, and I can only talk about what I see. And so can all the rest of you. I am not swayed easily by the mob, so my opinions differ from most of yours.
    I like Derek Webb, I think he made an amazing, important album here. I think that he is challenging us to be better, and to truly let what does not matter, slide….

  23. David M says:

    Disagreeing with opinions is one thing, but I’m going to agree with Scott in the sense that name-calling and flat-out insults don’t help your cause, Ian. I’m not going to say you’re a horrible person, because I don’t know you. No one here has done that. But it is safe to say your attitude sucks, and it’s hard to take any of your thoughts seriously when they’re drenched in such sarcasm and disdain. All I want to say is Ian, what are the benefits from being a jerk? Especially on this site? Go to Lambgoat if you want to be like this. Everyone has just as much of a right to say how they feel on the topic, so don’t come on here butt-hurt when people don’t agree with Derek Webb’s views. Yeah, it’s been covered time after time, but for as many times as you can come on here and support him, everyone else has the right to dispute it. I love you, because you’re my brother, but like I said, your attitude sucks, and it ruins topics like this that could be edifying.

  24. Levi G says:

    At the risk of sounding like a “14-year-old hall-monitor…”

    Ian, I’m sorry that you took things so personally. I have tried to argue the issue and the issue alone, and if you feel that’s immature, I can only disagree and be disappointed that you have to resort to name-calling instead of the responding to other people’s points or calling out what you see as unfair.

    I don’t have much else to say since I would be repeating much of what Scott and David have said, but for the record, I obviously didn’t ask them to step in. I do, however, really appreciate what they had to say, because it is frustrating when you feel that your choices are either to be a coward who is afraid to mention the truth for fear of being ridiculed and derided, or you must subject yourself to the mudslinging. By God’s grace there are people here (on both sides of various arguments) who are able to debate without resorting to that, and I’m thankful.

  25. Nate says:

    I’ve seen a discouraging amount of drama on this site lately.

    • David M says:

      Tell me about it. I’ve been on tour the past two weeks and I’ve tried to keep myself off this site because of said drama. I mean, I love Brandon and what he does, and MOST of the discussions, but it’s still sad to see. :(

    • Nate says:

      I love it too. We really need some up to date Christian news sites…. but it’s getting ridiculous when it seems like every thread ends up in arguments. 99.9 percent of the people that visit this site would classify themselves as chrisians…. let’s just concentrate on the love of music and of a savior that we all have in common.

    • David M says:

      I mean, I won’t lie: I’ve been guilty of being a jerkhole. Look back at the beginning of the year when I was still Mormon. I was spouting off at people left and right. Now, I see there’s nothing positive that came out of both being Mormon and a jerk, and I have to take a few steps back sometimes, but it’s worth it. There’s a huge difference between having a respectful debate and just saying things that shouldn’t be said. Like I said in my comment earlier, there’s so many topics that have the potential of being edifying, but instead, we worry more about being smarter or better than the next person, rather than putting ourselves in their shoes.

      Anyways. I’m done on this thread. Derek Webb is a decent musician, I’ll give him that. I just think all of this controversy could’ve been done better. Props to you if you like it. But don’t be rude to the people who feel it isn’t right, because most of the people who haven’t liked it have had a lot of valid points. There are people who have supported Derek Webb who have had valid points, too, but I’ve found there’s a lot of people acting defensive, as if THEY were the ones who wrote the music themselves. It’s weird.

  26. John says:

    Wow, this thread has gotten out of control. Every comment posted here has only confirmed the fact that everybody’s extremely jumpy about the issue.

    I post that I think people are afraid of criticism (my observation), and I get called “unkind.” Ian tells me not to worry about commenting because people are jumpy about the issue, and he gets called “rude.” Am I missing something here, or do I just hold comments in a different light? Because neither what I said or Ian said was “rude” or “unkind.” They were simply observations for the purpose of analyzing the situation and not aimed at bringing anybody down.

    I don’t know, but it feels like there’s some sort of elitist totalitarianism going on from the people who disagree with Webb here. Post something that says you agree with Webb – nuh uh, it gets shot down. Inappropriate. Rude. Say people are jumpy and sensitive about the topic – nuh uh, that’s unkind.

    Come on, guys. Levi, some people see Webb’s actions as justified (considering both Paul and Jesus have used cuss words and he’s not saying homosexuality isn’t an issue at all) and see the people who have disagreed with Webb as very sensitive about the subject. That’s not “unkind” or “rude,” it’s simply an observation. If you feel insulted, I’m sorry, but that’s just the observation we’ve been making. An observation is an observation, there’s no opinion behind it. You don’t have to feel insulted, k buddy?

    Deep breath everyone.

  27. alright, so I am going to just ask a question(s), because it not only pertains to me, but also the Derek Webb issue

    If somebody is a jerk, or arrogant, does that mean that their opinion is no longer valid?
    If somebody says something that is true or at least is trying to present something as truth, and they do it in a way that is rude or offensive, does that mean that the opinion is negated?
    That the truth or perceived truth is no longer worthy of consideration or dialogue?
    Even if it offends you?

  28. John says:

    Guys, guys, this debate is getting out of control. Half the comments have only proved that people are indeed jumpy and sensitive when it comes to Webb. Can we please calm down? Some of these reactions are ridiculous. I make an observation that people are jumpy, and I get called out for being “unkind.” Ian tells me not to bother with debating since everyone seems so jumpy, and he gets called “rude.” Really?

    It seems like there’s some kind of elitist totalitarianism going on here. It’s like, “don’t say anything bad about our side, or we’ll put you down for it!” Please, no one did any actual mudslinging before people started chastising others for their opinions. Ian and I were simply making observations that people are jumpy. Somehow, that has been translated into “counterattack! counterattack! the Webb supporters are after us!!!111!!”

    If people are jumpy, people are jumpy. There’s no need to try to sugarcoat the truth. I’m not saying either side is right here, but both sides have displayed a lot of sensitivity on the subject. That’s the truth. Now let’s all calm down and continue this civilly.

    I’ll start:

    Supporters say Webb is justified in his actions. Why?

    – He’s not saying homosexuality isn’t an issue, he’s saying it’s not the BIGGEST issue. I agree – divorce is a bigger issue. Poverty is a bigger issue. We’re wasting time in the church debating about homosexuality while we ignore bigger issues. Key word: ignore. Not saying it’s NOT an issue. But it’s gotten to the point where it’s all we talk about (not every church, but it’s this way in a lot of churches)

    – Swearing is ok when used in proper context. Jesus swore. Paul swore. Profusely? no. To call attention to a subject of dire importance once in a long while when it’s called for? Yes. It’s not like Webb is using profanity liberally. He’s using it in an area where people need to perk up and pay attention.

    Ok, any protests? Go on right ahead. Objections welcome :)

  29. JoshIVM says:

    How many times do we need to have this argument? Seriously, every post about Webb doesn’t need to turn into this.

  30. Scott.L says:

    Ian – You’re circular reasoning won’t make your point. You’ve come 180 degrees and are now making the point that I made in my post… it’s not the opinion I take issue with, it’s the manner in which the opinion is presented. So to answer your question… the answer is ‘no’. Being rude or being a jerk does not make your opinion any less valid. But on the other hand, don’t be surprised if people react to you being a jerk. If you’re going to express your opinions in a knowingly offensive way, don’t pretend to be shocked when people get offended. You’re just setting up a strawman argument. It’s like a self-fulfilling prophecy. You act offensively (by your own admission). Someone takes issues with it. And then you can point the finger and say, “See, I was right, they’re knee-jerk reactionaries who are trying to supress my opinion.” The only problem is that it’s not your right to an opinion we’re disagreeing with… or even your opinion itself… it’s the way your opinion is presented. Huge difference. Your opinion is your own and you’re welcome to it. And welcome to express it at any time and in any way you choose. But if you’re gonna be a jerk (as you called it), don’t get steamed when someone calls you a jerk.

    John – I’m more convinced now than when this began that you’re just posting to stir things up. Your complete mischaracterization of this “debate” and accusation of “elite totalitarianism” was comical. But enough of that, like I said, I think you’re just trying to keep this thing going, so I’ll let it go. I do however feel compelled to say that Jesus (who I personally believe was the sinless son of God) never swore. Neither do I believe that Paul swore. This has been commented on at great lengths in other threads here on this site. But maybe you haven’t read them. I would love for you to post the scriptures where you claim that they swear and articulate just how you come to that conclusion. Personally, I think that for a Christian (or any one else for that matter) to swear is wrong on a number of levels, but it’s a whole another issue when you post to a public site a blanket statement that Jesus swore. You’re wrong.

    This will no doubt feed your (and others) view that I am trying to keep you from having your own opinion or that I am elitist or totalitarian… however, truth is not subject to opinion. And this is such a case. You are free of course to hold whatever opinion you so choose. But when you publicly state something as fact (and not as an opinion) and it plainly contradicts truth… that must be refuted. Anyway, if you would be willing to elaborate on your statement that Jesus and Paul swore, I would be interested in hearing your arguments. Aside from the “brood of vipers” and the Paul dropped the S-bomb thing above… because those are patent misrepresentations of scripture.

    • John says:

      I’m definitely not posting just to “stir things up.” I don’t understand where you derived this notion, and am disappointed that you would think that I am. I only restated my position to try to readjust the inevitable debate to proceed in a more civilized manner.

      I’m not making my own joy complete by calling people “elitist totalitarians,” and you aren’t one – but the atmosphere this thread has made has been one of seeming fear of disagreement with one’s opinions. Of course, it’s the internet and the tone of everything may be different from how it would be in real life. But everyone has seemed afraid to have their stances challenged and instead resort to calling other people out. That’s the mood I’ve collected anyway. Could be wrong.

      As for swearing, let me point you here:

      http://bible.cc/matthew/3-7.htm

      Scroll down to “Wesley’s Notes.” You’ll find that the term “brood of vipers” was indeed a very vivid and profane description of something. It was a pretty extreme term; you wouldn’t walk around in that day calling somebody a “brood of vipers” for no reason. Yet it was all in context. Why? The Pharisees (whom Jesus was referring to) fit that description. And they were doing things that needed to be called to attention. Derek Webb is using profanity in the same context when he uses “sh*t,” which literally means poop. Poop is useless, poop is disgusting, poop is revolting, etc. He’s comparing the church’s attitude to the qualities of poop. I don’t find anything wrong with that.

  31. Scott.L says:

    John – Well, if I misjudged your motives in this, then I apologize. I’ve been wrong before… once. :-)

    We’ll probably have to agree to disagree on the swearing thing. Using strong language just isn’t the same as swearing. Jesus called people strong things, for sure. Hypocrits. Fools. Thieves. But to say that He swore simply isn’t true. Again, I’m sure that we’ll agree to disagree. This argument has been layed out in other threads on this site by those far smarter than me… but for the Bible to require us to do something that Jesus refused to do… that would undermine the foundation of Christianity itself.

    Here is the portion of the text from the link you provided, I don’t see anything about Jesus swearing… or John the Baptist either, who is the one doing the talking in this verse (Jesus doesn’t come on the scene until verse 13).

    Wesley’s Notes

    3:7 The Pharisees were a very ancient sect among the Jews. They took their name from a Hebrew word, which signifies to separate, because they separated themselves from all other men. They were outwardly strict observers of the law, fasted often, made long prayers, rigorously kept the Sabbath, and paid all tithe, even of mint, anise, and cummin. Hence they were in high esteem among the people. But inwardly, they were full of pride and hypocrisy. The Sadducees were another sect among the Jews, only not so considerable as the Pharisees. They denied the existence of angels, and the immortality of the soul, and by consequence the resurrection of the dead. Ye brood of vipers – In like manner, the crafty Herod is styled a fox, and persons of insidious, ravenous, profane, or sensual dispositions, are named respectively by him who saw their hearts, serpents, dogs, wolves, and swine; terms which are not the random language of passion, but a judicious designation of the persons meant by them. For it was fitting such men should be marked out, either for a caution to others, or a warning to themselves.

    • John says:

      It all comes down to how you define “swearing.” What is swearing, except strong language? It’s the exact same thing. It emphasizes something to an extreme. I don’t really remember Jesus ever refusing to “swear,” though he did use strong language. If this strong language wasn’t taboo, then he could’ve used taboo language elsewhere but it just wasn’t recorded in the Bible. But I think “brood of vipers” was pretty taboo – it’s not a nice thing to say at all. You could even say it was pretty vulgar, but it was used in the right context.

      The Bible does say avoid “foul talk,” and I would categorize “foul talk,” in addition to saying vulgar things, etc. to mean using strong language out of context. Why would you call your friend a brood of vipers? that kind of thing. I would conclude that Jesus used strong language that would have been outright disrespectful, rude, and terrible if used in any other case. This sounds like “swearing” to me.

  32. Scott.L says:

    Sorry, my response is stuck in the site’s Spam box. Not sure what that’s all about but it can sure be annoying. Oh well.

  33. schlottermann says:

    I’m not trying to get into all this. And I brought this up before…why would we be instructed to not use foul language, and then Jesus goes and does it? Wouldn’t that mean Jesus is contradicting Himself? I don’t think that’s possible. It seems we find any loophole we can just so we can do certain things. God struck down the husband and wife in Acts for lying TO God about the money they earned from selling their land or belongings. Does that mean we should go around killing people when we hear them lie to God?

    Maybe a bit extreme. Anyways, that’s all.

    • John says:

      Good point. But think about it. Foul language is usually only “foul” when used out of context. If you were to call Satan “a piece of sh*t,” would that be really out of context? You’re expressing the most extreme form of verbal hate against the most evil thing in existence – is that really “foul?” It all goes back to the meaning of the word. A word is a word – it’s a pronunciation. It doesn’t have any significance by itself, it needs a definition. A word is “foul” because its definition implies foul things. When foul language is forbidden in the Bible, it’s saying not to talk about normally vulgar things like defecating or whatever in any setting, especially not in a reverent setting like church. Be wise with your words, basically. There is a place for everything. Even Paul uses the word sh*t when its proper:

      “More than that, I regard everything as loss because of the surpassing value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have suffered the loss of all things, and I regard them as rubbish, in order that I may gain Christ.”

      “Rubbish” here in the Greek is the word “skoobala,” which literally means sh*t.

      Now again, I have to emphasize that the “time for swearing” is RARE RARE RARE. We have to use THE UTMOST CARE when using extreme words. I myself have don’t recall a single instance in my life when I’ve cussed (I’m young, not trying to be self righteous, I just have taken a lot of care not to use choice words). I just don’t find a problem with it when used in the right context.

  34. Scott.L says:

    I’m gonna gracefully bow out of this one. It’s not going anywhere fast.

    John – If you wanna swear, have at it. There you go… I think that’s what you’re looking for. You must have some reason for being so adamant about making excuses and justifying it. I would think that as Christians we should try to live above reproach… in all situations… even when we could justifiably do otherwise… but maybe that’s just me. I’ve always tried not to consider God’s grace as a license to sin… or to stray from holiness (without which no man shall see God).

    I knew there was a reason I told myself to just stick with reviews. Peace.

  35. David M says:

    So you’re saying it’s okay to belittle someone and bring them down to your level just for your opinion’s sake? That’s what I’m calling out as rude, John. Speak your mind as much as you want, but have some respect for others. Like I said earlier, support Derek Webb, that’s fine. I could care less what you think about him. I’ve spoken my mind and left it at that. I actually only said something about how I’m tired of hearing about changing the church when that’s been the case for years. But when someone gets on here and starts throwing insults for no good reason…that’s what I don’t understand.

    I’m not saying you’re a horrible person, Ian. But you could’ve said what you did in a million different ways, all of them better. Like I mentioned before: whatever happened to being edifying as the body of Christ instead of tearing each other down? Maybe Derek Webb should write a song about this thread.

  36. John says:

    @Scott.L I stated in my reply to you that I haven’t cussed a single time in my life. I have no agenda whatsoever to “legalize swearing” or whatever, my only agenda is to get down to the truth. The thing is, there is a place to use extreme language, and Webb seems to use that when appropriate. That’s the whole gist of the argument. Webb is justified in his word choice. That’s all I’m trying to get at – I agree that Christians shouldn’t have sailor’s mouths.

    @DavidM I don’t really see anybody in this conversation who has been belittling others. Ian wasn’t belittling anybody when he told me to “save my breath.” He was just some guy who agreed with me who had been in a similar argument and had seen that it doesn’t usually go anywhere. I respect everyone’s opinions whether you agree with Webb or not. I’m just not sure where all the accusations of “rude” came from.

  37. and being called pompous and superior is any better? Im honestly asking…
    I mean, I consider judgments of character much more mudslinging-esque than me calling the situation the way I see it…. I mean did I say anything that was really that bad? I dont believe that using sarcasm to make a point quite compares to making a assessment of somebody’s heart based on website posts

    I own being sarcastic by the way…the rest i do not

    and Derek Webb is still awesome

  38. Really? says:

    Wait. This was about Derek Webb? Looking at the comments i almost had no idea.

  39. Matt says:

    This disgusts and saddens me brothers….pointless arguing where no one wins and anger is rampant. a personal relationship with Jesus Christ isn’t this complicated. sigh.

    • John says:

      Personal relationship w/ Jesus Christ doesn’t mean there aren’t any complications, and just having a personal relationship w/ Jesus Christ has nothing to do with getting down to the truth of controversial matters.

  40. sam30 says:

    I don’t know much about Derek Webb, nor do I want to get into the argument.

    I just want to say that the review was brilliantly written. I really enjoyed reading it. Eric, you have a lot of talent there.

  41. Matt says:

    I really don’t know much about this guy at all, but I like him cause he’s a ballsy, haha. Maybe I should take a listen to his music.

  42. KC says:

    Here are some words for all of us to ponder. Humility. Grace. Forebearance. Meekness. Not self-serving. Patience. Self control. Kindness.

    Hard words for a hard discussion.

  43. sue wheat says:

    I look at it this way. D.Webb, with this album has brought more attention to himself with his music than to Christ. (are d.webb and m. driscoll related?)

  44. sue wheat says:

    I understand that he is making a point, I just think he could have gone another route to do so.

  45. oh yes he did say that says:

    the Bible clearly states: that foolish and pointless debates/arguments should and need be avoided. soooo with that in mind…

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