“What Matters More” — Derek Webb, Stockholm Syndrome

Blog — By on July 6, 2009 at 6:58 am

Some of you may have been following the controversy and performance art marketing of Derek Webb’s new project Stockholm Syndrome. The song centered in the controversy was released by 20 thumb drives hidden strategically and put together over the weekend. If you want an audio only mp4 of the song, you can get it here.

Take a listen – what do you think? Right message? Wrong message? I think it’s “so susan isaacs”. Can I say that?

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  • Ragamuffin says:

    I don't see it that way. The directives on that post were all things that we could be doing off this blog. It wasn't a call to debate or discuss the matter, it was a call to action…get involved, use Facebook, work with World Vision, demand universal access to ARVs, take 5 minutes to pray and fast…

    I really don't see the need to look down one's nose at this debate by comparing it to the lack of discussion on a completely different kind of post.

  • Tim McGeary says:

    I think the not relevant opinion came early on when some comments indicated there wasn't the level of hate as DWebb describes in his song.

    As for what we can do, YES! That is the whole point. Here are two ideas, one that I partner and one forthcoming. Blood:Water Mission and Derek's future project to provide latrines to stem the spread of diseases through poor sanitation.

    Another albeit somewhat subversive method that I'm doing is removing my giving to my local church until our leaders stop wasting resources on unnecessary in-house programs and start focusing on these real needs, local and global.

  • Jeremy says:

    How am I looking down my nose at anyone, when I have indicated my own guilt? I have never used language saying I am doing great things and anyone else is not. I am saying I am as guilty as anyone else.

    I say I am guilty because a discussion like this is easy by comparison, and clearly I am involved in it. Discussion of Aids demands action or apathy.

  • Ragamuffin says:

    I'm sorry. I lumped you in with the sentiment of some that act like people are so silly to be discussing such trifling matters and that's not what you were doing.

    It just gets old to see the subject broached, then when you don't come to see things their way within a few posts, the derisive tone starts. "People are dying and all you care about is teh gays! Let them be!" *rollseyes*

  • James says:

    If anyone took my statement about gay-hating being not as big as it used to be to mean that the issue isn't relevant, I want to clarify: I never meant that at all. I am saying it's easy to say in 2009 that Christians are mean to gays, when that statement was a whole lot more accurate a generation ago. It has never been more acceptable, in American society and in the church as a whole, to be gay, than it is now.

    Aaron has said that a portion of the church has recently began a campaign against one gay-related issue: the redefinition of marriage. But it's only recent because up till 5 years ago, nobody was calling for gay marriage. Those who are against it are just now getting vocal because that's their response to something they didn't initiate. Should they not respond?

    For the record, I don't care much about gay marriage. I'm specifically arguing against what I believe is a misrepresentation about anti-gay-marriage being some sort of attack.

  • manley pointer says:

    great discussion so far.

    anyone want to comment on the lines about putting words in the other's mouth, or making the other sound like a freak? it concerns me that there's something about our church culture that doesn't elicit the voices of homosexuals, the homeless, the other. maybe dwebb is in part calling on us to listen. anyone had any experiences listening to the voice of the other within the church?

    about the coarse language, dwebb uses the word "damn" in a perfectly reasonable way. after all, it's the tongue that has the power to damn. the tongue is a matter of (eternal) life and death. strong language might be appropriate here.

    as for shit, good call on the tony campolo reference. perhaps we all agree that 30,000 kids dying each day from hunger (tony's number) is a miscarriage of justice, but we've fallen into tony and dwebb's trap: we're talking more about the medium than the message. 30,000 kids died last night. that sucks. Jesus is pretty upset about that. can i get a amen?

    and anyway, let's give dwebb some credit. perhaps christians really ought to follow paul's example and count as shit any religious pride that distracts even a little bit from talking about and doing Jesus' work.

    with love from the people's republic.

  • manley pointer says:

    Jeremy, I took your discussion questions as a real request for conversation about the AIDS portion of dwebb’s song.

    Q: How can we get the drugs we do have to the people most afflicted?

    Since much of the conversation so far has been about legislation, we might talk about ways to end the for-profit “healthcare” system in America. Maybe providing necessary treatment to the least of these is a responsibility of the entire national community.

    Q: How can we curb the spread of AIDs in areas with high poverty?

    One thing we can do is stop having areas with high poverty! Insist on fair trade, call on congress and the president to stop funding the IMF and WTO’s neoliberal structural adjustments, switch the public debate from the “financial crisis” to the “food crisis” afflicting a couple billion people.

    Q : How can I get my church to help with AIDs caregiver kit building?

    I don’t have an answer to this, but I’d like one.

    Q: How do I contribute to the poverty that is causing massive inequity in the world.

    Let’s avoid this one. None of us likes feeling guilty.

  • Tim McGeary says:

    @James – just real quick – the gay marriage agenda is not merely gained traction for the past 5 years. Clinton's administration passed the Defense of Marriage Act when it was clear a constitutional amendment wouldn't pass. It's been a bi-partisan issue from the start.

    Also, James, I've noticed in a number of conversations you and I have participated in that you are clear to draw a line about what is or isn't "an attack". I'm interested in learning more about why that delineation and if you were in the minority opinion's shoes what term you would use to replace "attack".

    @manley pointer – welcome! I'm glad you think this conversation is a good one. After 68 comments, I hope it's not a waste. :)

    I think the putting words in our mouth is a huge issue for Christians, especially when put into the media. It's been a huge issue, especially since 9/11, that Christian talking heads have played into the media context battle.

    Here's the razor's edge, though: christianity is most attractive and has grown the most when it is counter-cultural. Peter Gomes has an excellent description of this in The Scandalous Gospel of Jesus: What's So Good About the Good News?. When the Church becomes too much like the culture, it becomes ineffective. But the teetering point comes with how is the counter-cultural perspective presented? Do we look like freaks out of touch with reality or do we look like something different that has a scandalous attraction that Jesus himself had?

  • James says:

    Gosh, Tim, I don't remember why I used the word attack here. The length of posts is so long. In general, I have seen others call something an attack when they actually referring to comments that someone made, expressing their opinion, and not really attacking anyone. I guess if I had to define it, I'd say that true attacks are personal, commenting on the messenger instead of the message. But that's not a perfect definition.

    As for the 5 years thing, I wasn't sure about the timeline, but I was addressing Aaron's assertion that the anti-gay marriage folks only recently took it upon themselves to fight this particular item. The truth is that they were not proactive, but reactive. Gay marriage was never "attacked" before because it was never a possibility before.

  • Jeremy says:

    Manley – I think your answers to the first two questions point towards an answer to the avoided question. I wonder if sometimes we back off a topic for fear of guilt, when really we are being convicted of something? Just to be clear I'm speaking of topics in my own life, not your comment necessarily. I recall the Rich Young Ruler left his interaction with Christ feeling very sad because he was very wealthy. I think that sadness was conviction. He saw his wealth as a roadblock yet was grieved by thought of giving it up. I think we have to wade into these issues, and wrestle with them. We can't be apathetic, and we can't be motivated by guilt. Somewhere Christ offers us freedom. Freedom (much like marriage) is a word we have asked the state to define for us, which is ridiculous. Freedom to the RYR could have looked an aweful lot like not be so attached to his wealth that he was grieved at the mention of giving it up.

    There is another article about Hoarding on the blog, and I think some of the response is related to this topic. Especially the mentioning of the parable of talents. Would God want us to invest in financial systems so we get a large monetary return, or we would He want us to invest in the Kingdom to get everlasting returns. I have really wrestling through these lately as they pertain to my life. It is often frustrating because I am so soaked in and biased by the culture around me. But we can't turn back when the conversation demands we make some choices that might require change.

    I've rambled enough caregiver kit info below


  • Tim McGeary says:

    @James – it's cool. I just wondered if it the idea of attack had a substantial meaning to you personally in these discussions.

    I'm not sure if this is of interest to you all here, but I stumbled across this survey of spirituality differences between heterosexuals and homosexuals by the Barna Group as I was cleaning out my RSS feeds.

  • Larry Shallenberger says:

    The album is quite good. Just download it.

  • danthenderson says:

    Aaron, I so appreciate what you said. I been tired for a long time of feeling like homosexuality is the one intolerable sin for Christians, when really, it's a struggle that deserves the most compassion. That aside, I particularly LOVED your answer about Christians' involvement in the legislation of homosexual social issues. Why AREN'T people trying to pass legislation preventing divorce, or pornography, etc…things that absolutely tear people and families apart?
    I personally believe that Christians should never try to change people through politics, but through personal relationships.
    Anywho, I loved your comments on this very challenging topic. May we all have the humility to recognize sin as sin, and to have compassion for our fellow prisoners of it.

  • Wow. Why would not I see that?

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