Casting Crowns new song “Just Be Held” seems to get airtime every other hour on contemporary Christian radio (yikes, this is an admission that from time to time, I do listen to such). Now, before I say anything, let me state up front that I appreciate musicians who strive to do everything they do for Jesus and his kingdom. However, in a society where music is such a craze, it is musicians that hold the power to shape people’s overall philosophy (including theology and our view of God) quite possibly more than any other voice or set of voices. That being said, I cannot stomach a recent line in one of their songs.
The line in this song is as follows: “Your world’s not falling apart, it’s falling into place.” No doubt, this line is meant to comfort, encourage, help, and ultimately, to motivate a person to not give up. The song is meant to strengthen someone to continually embrace the notion that God is good and that He is not finished. In other words, God will bring good out of this storm (Romans 8:28). While I hate the particular line mentioned above, I appreciate the intent and heart behind it.
Why do I hate this particular line? Because it is too idealistic, too fluffy, and mainly, because it is not true. It is not humane. It resonates with a “clicheness” (I know that I just made this word up, but hey, I am a philosopher, I can) that most millennials find nauseating. I want truth. I want what is real. I want that which is genuine, authentic, and even painful. Do not shield me from suffering or ideas that pierce like nails.
I don’t want emotional protection.
I want truth.
Nietzsche, an adamant atheist and outspoken critic of Christianity, ironically said, “Truth is hard.” It is. Let it pierce me, crush me, kill me. But don’t lie to me and others.
Here is the truth: Imagine telling someone that has just been raped or molested or one of the 19,000 kids that will die today from easily preventable diseases (that you and I can save for a few bucks) that their world is not falling part, but rather, falling into place. If someone really wanted me to believe this, it would be hard for me not to believe the following about this individual:
- They have not suffered
- They have not been willing to wrestle on a gut-level with life, faith, and the tensions that lie therein
- They are superficial
- They are too insecure to let me suffer; my pain bothers them too much
Okay, I am done. A soapbox of sorts I suppose. If you like Casting Crowns, keep listening. I do not doubt the sincerity of their faith. I know that some of their band members have even suffered with cancer and that in the midst of this, they kept singing, kept worshiping, etc. My point is that, rather than tearing them down, I am just shocked that this particular phrase came from them.
And, let me add, I do believe that there are a significant number of circumstances in our Christian walk where this is true, where a relationship falls apart because God wants to make sure we end up with someone that is better suited for what he has purposed in his heart for us. My point is simply that this line is not always true. In some sense, it is relative (let the Christian fundamentalists now object).
To be fair, one line in this song I love and believe is probably helping millions of people cope with something horrible is…
I don’t throw the baby out with the bathwater. There is much to this song that is good. However, regarding the other line, it is like a cup of hot chocolate to a construction worker who has worked outside in the sweltering heat all day. You get the idea.
I want lyrics that are more responsible to both the Word and our experience. Life can be difficult and though God can bring good out of evil, this DOES NOT mean that the evil is sanctified and transformed into something good. Evil never becomes good. God bringing good out of evil only means that God is good.