Those words are part of the chorus to a song called “All These Things That I’ve Done” by a band called (oddly enough) The Killers. These three broad-stroke keywords encapsulate the mission statement of Jesus. (Most of) the entire song too, could be sung by Him as a means of expressing His concern and desire for everyone to see “all these things that I’ve done”. This doesn’t mean that they wrote it with Him in mind. Nor does it mean they’d be receptive if you tried to tell them. To each their own.
Back in 2003 the rock band Evanescence released a song called “Bring Me To Life”. This song was certainly about crying out to God for His resuscitation and resurrection, right? Many fans bombarded them with this revisionist definition till finally one of the band members spoke out in anger and censure at the fans’ wrong opinion. Again, Neil Peart, drummer and lyricist of Rush (my favorite band) responded to a fan with “Yeah, right” when they tried to tell him that one of his songs was about his meeting God… “Yeah right.” Ed Roland, lead singer of Collective Soul (another favorite), the son of a minister no less, even shies away from the incessant pigeon-holing leveled at he and his bandmates for their “thinly-veiled Christianity”. I respect him though, for wanting his message to reach the broadest possible audience.
I was eleven or twelve when my dad turned me on to the concept of taking the lyrics to a song and refocusing their direction to God. At the time, we were packing up to move while listening to The Eagles and Wings. It was my first introduction to popular music. Up till then I had only listened to early nineties country (still my favorite era for that genre). Pretty tame and easily digestible stuff. Since then my musical tastes have run the gamut from sixties early rock and roll (CCR, Simon & Garfunkel), seventies classic rock (Eagles, Wings, Doobies) to eighties (Don Henley, Fleetwood Mac and U2), getting fewer-and-farther between up to the present. These past few years, I’ve sampled whatever sounds good and like most people I talk to, I like “most all types of music”. Across the board however, my rubric stays the same: “How can I take this song and sing it to God?” Love songs are easy. But when you get into some more obscure grey-area lyrics that certainly could be given a spiritual meaning, (but were almost certainly never intended as such) you gotta use some imagination.
The Bible says “to the pure, all things are pure” (Titus 1:15) and elsewhere also says that he was “convinced there is nothing unclean of itself” (Romans 5:15). The meaning is what it means between you and God. If you find a song that isn’t explicitly Christian but you can twist it around in a good way, go for it. “Whatsoever things are pure…” (Philippians 4:8) sing ’em to God (Psalm 68:4,32). Don’t worry about the “author’s original intent”.
In closing, I would like to say that I feel that the contemporary Christian genre has let me down. I’m all for singing worship songs to the Lord but when all of the songs (at least the ones I’ve heard) barely scratch the surface regarding the Christian walk, I’m non-plussed to continue listening. A strange, lack of conviction and genuineness seems to pervade the entire canon. This being said, I will listen to Andrae Crouch. He communicates the love and character of Jesus better than any other artist, regardless of genre.