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Sunday, November 20, 2005

J-Lo and the Dispensation of Hugs

Will she lead the liturgical revolution?
We live in the Age of Hugs. The Scofield Bible commentators came up with seven ages: Innocency, Conscience, Human Government, Promise, Law, Grace, and Kingdom. Somehow, these divines missed "Embrace." It goes between "Grace" and "Kingdom." Fortunately, our musicians have rectified our theologians' oversight.

Of the many worship songs in current usage that speak of "embraces," the most egregious is "Draw Me Close." The lyrics run thusly:

Draw me close to you
Never let me go
I lay it all down again
To hear you say that I'm your friend
You are my desire
No one else will do
Cause nothing else can take your place
To feel the warmth of your embrace
Help me find the way
Bring me back to you

You're all I want
You're all I've ever needed
You're all I want
Help me know you are near

Last year I was working at Sears and heard this song (or some such--they're all so alike) over the PA. I would like to compare it to the song that preceeded it: "Jenny from the Block" by Jennifer Lopez. The chorus goes like this:

Don't be fooled by the rocks that I got
I'm still, I'm still Jenny from the block
Used to have a little now I have a lot
No matter where I go I know where I came from
(From the Bronx)

Notice that J-Lo is specific. She names the central character, herself. She has a clear aim in mind: To show those who would disparage her that she is true to her heritage and considerate of those less fortunate than herself. She uses the concrete imagery of jewelry to show that her adornments do not detract for her fundamental essence. Finally, she calls her people by name.

Our God delights in calling and naming. He has given us names for Himself and for ourselves. This universal mushiness needs to stop. Which god does "Draw Me Close" address? The only veiled reference to scripture makes God's acceptance of us conditional to "laying it all down," which I suppose refers to laying down our burdens before God. Otherwise, it's not particularly clear that God is being addressed at all.

Those living in the Age of Hugs take note: There are other things that God does. While the prodigal son was indeed embraced by his father, and we are told that God draws us to His bosom, he does a few other things, including sustaining the entire Universe and forgiving us for our sins. Beside perpetuating the heresy that something has separated us from the love of God, what does "Draw Me Close" say? As Hamlet, that musical punster, said, "The rest is silence."

Bonus Irony: J-Lo mentions God by name in "Jenny from the Block." She sings:

Put God first and can't forget to stay real
To me it's like breathing, yeah

Sounds like a pretty strong stand for lordship salvation, but we'll have to see if she has a--erm--full-orbed statement of her soteriology in her next album.

Category: Theoblogia


  • This is the best post yet. I would be laughing harder if I wasn't also grieved by the verity of your judgement. At least San Juan de La Cruz and other mystical poets actually mention Christ, the Cross, and God the Father. They may be too bizarre for my tastes, but at least their eroticism doesn't ignore the basic aspects of the Gospel. I would feel uncomfortable singing the above song to my wife. Mostly due to it being cheesy, but also it is so generic; it fails to communicate any of the lovely qualities I would ascribe to her, primarily because it fails to say anything substanative about anything.

    By Blogger Garet Pahl, at 7:43 AM  

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