Road Trip

Road Trip

This past week my wife and I had the opportunity to drive to Kentucky to be involved in a good friend’s wedding.  It is about an eleven hour drive and the good news is that on the way down we only fought for about 7 of those hours!  Even better news is that we did not fight at all on the way back!  With it being so quiet in the car, I found it easier to listen to the songs on the radio.  During one stretch of awkward silence, we were listening to K-Love Christian radio.  Their tag line is “uplifting and encouraging”.  Of course, my heart was not in tune to uplifting and encouraging, at the moment, so it might have skewed my observation.  During this particular set of music they played about eight to ten songs in a row.  About half way through the songs, I noticed a trend and so I began to pay closer attention. While their songs were uplifting and encouraging, seven out of eight, or nine out of ten, whatever the actual number was, did not mention the name of Jesus.  I believe that they also did not mention the name of God.  They used a lot of pronouns and statements that pointed to the truth that the antecedent of the pronoun was God or Jesus, but they did not say the names.  I do not mean to disparage the ministry that these songs have in our lives.  They help us navigate these difficult times.  I am asking, though, and this is a legitimate question, not a leading question, what is the reason for this trend? One or two songs may be a coincidence but 7 out of 8 or 9 out of 10 seems to point to a specific decision to avoid using the names of Jesus and God (can someone say conspiracy nut?).
As I sat in silence (admittedly not a godly silence but I have also meditated on this when I was at peace with my wife) I began to think through what some of the answers could be to this trend.  It might be that the names of Jesus or God are hard to rhyme.  The use of pronouns is simply easier to fit in to the sentences.  After all, from the context of Christian radio and the statements used in the songs, it is easy to discern that they are speaking of Jesus or God. More cynically, it could be a marketing strategy.  Make the songs more generic and maybe they will be listened to by more people. Simply fill in who you believe fits the used pronouns.  Or, maybe, it was my grumpy imagination getting the best of me and I simply missed the use of Jesus and God.
But maybe, and this is just an observation, this kind of oversight reveals hearts that desire the benefits of having a personal God but do not truly want a Lord.  Most of these songs spoke of help in the midst of troubles, strength for the storms of life, encouragement for lonely times, and even how he gives us a more powerful self identity. They were designed to speak of the one who is encouraging and uplifting when life seems so big.  He is there for us.  All of that is so very true.  But the he is God our creator.  He is there for us through the work of his son, Jesus.  The he is the almighty, just, holy, and loving God who does not only promise to uphold and sustain us but demands that we recognize, worship, and obey him as the Sovereign ruler of this universe.  He is also our heavenly dad.  He is not simply there for us but we were created to bring him glory and praise through our holy lives.  I am wondering, and I do not condemn or judge this mode of worship to God, if this balance of loving Father and Holy God, has become skewed just a little bit.  Yes, it is true that God is always there for us.  That Jesus has given us the gift of life eternal that is full of joy and power.  But we are his creation, created to bring him glory, created to live our lives as a reflection of the new life he has given us, and created to make all things about him.  We are to recognize, at all times, that he is not only our heavenly Father, but also our Lord and King.  That his provisions and blessings for us are not primarily about our encouragement and uplifting but always, first and foremost, about his glory.  He proclaims his character to us through the work of Jesus on the cross.  I think those truths make it imperative that we make clear who is the antecedent of the pronouns we use.

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