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prov·o·ca·tion - something that provokes, arouses, or stimulates. pant - to long eagerly; yearn. a collection of thoughts intended to provoke and inspire. these posts are hoping to encourage people to think, especially Christians, and pant even harder for the waterbrooks of the Lord. If you are not a believer in Christ Jesus, I welcome your perspective and encourage your investigation on these matters.

Tuesday, December 27, 2005

Mockingbird, McLaren, and Miller

I must say that I have always been a fan of Caedman's Call and Derek Webb. I have rarely missed an opportunity to hear either/both of them in concert. Their lyrics in the past and present have fueled many sustained meditations and provoked me to honest introspection and examination of my Christian life. Today, I picked up the new CD by Derek Webb entitled Mockingbird. I have heard much about this CD (including the interviews by Tim Challies - One and Two) and have waited with great expectation to listen to it. I will hold my commentary on the CD until a later time. However, what I will comment on is Webb's advertisement which I received via email. Here's what the email said: I love Derek Webb's CD, Mockingbird - everything about it. The lyrics, content, song structures - the instrumentation (those horns are amazing), chording (some juicy stuff there!), mix, and musicianship. It's rich and tasteful from beginning to end. A lot of us have been waiting for a "someday" and "someone" - when a committed Christian musician would start to lead in the areas of social justice and peace and break ranks with the domesticated muzak that so often passes for "Christian music." Derek is exactly the kind of artist we've been waiting for. -- Brian McLaren, author/activist (anewkindofchristian.com) +++++ "In general, I hate Christian rock music. But now I have heard the songs of Derek Webb. Webb's songs are free of the pietistic sentimentality that usually characterizes popular Christian music. His music, like the Gospel, is at once hard, edgy, and beautiful." -- Stanley Hauerwas, author, educator, Duke Divinity School +++++ "Humanity has a new prophet/poet to add to the beautiful fury of Dylan, Lennon, and Cash. Mockingbird is a forceable entry into the comfortable living room conscience. It is both an invitation to risk and hope for a kingdom not yet come, and also an artful provocation to be the knights of the kingdom that is already present. Derek Webb takes his role as an artist as seriously as he takes his role as a man living out his bond to grace and this record is proof." --Dan Haseltine, jarsofclay +++++ "Derek Webb is one of the most important artists of our time and Mockingbird is his most important record to date. He is becoming our Woody Guthrie." --Donald Miller, author Now, let me say clearly that I am all about the call for social concern and action among Christians (for instance, please see my link on the "taking care of business" sidebar). I believe that pure and undefiled religion is visiting the widow and orphan. I believe that God chose the poor in this world to be rich in faith and heirs of the kingdom of heaven. I believe that if we do it "unto the least of these" we do it unto Him. I believe that we should work to liberate the oppressed, defend the defenseless, embrace the outcast, love our enemies, etc. . . . But what I am concerned about is Webb's marketing tactic with plugs by the Emergent Leader McLaren and pop-leader Miller. It is clear who the target audience is. Now, I do not want to read more into what a simple advertisement offers (as again I have not listened to the CD), but I would really like to know if Webb subscribes to McLaren's theology. I would like to know if he is using the names of these guys as a marketing ploy, or has he really bought into the wholesale endorsement of the EC. I think there are other Christians who are keenly aware of the need to be a part of ministering to a broken world with a broken heart for the lost who do it without compromising central teachings of Scripture and accomodating to the postmodern culture. I know that in the days ahead there will be plenty of discussion as to the nature of the relationship between Webb and McLaren and the like, and maybe the best thing that could come of this is to engage more Christians in caring for welfare of their fellow man both physically and spiritually. >>To read more takes, check out: Tim Challies' Response to A Critical, Judgmental, Deconstruction of Derek Webb's Life, Faith, and Ministry Jeff Wright's Et Tu Derek? CenturiOn's More on Challies' Interview of Derek Webb Ochuk's Derek Webb Not a Poster Boy Grassroots Music Article


Anonymous Jimmy said...

Just picked up the CD, not had a chance to listen to it all yet. I'm in the process of doing so. So far, I have finished about half of it and haven't found anything I strongly object to. Some lines in "My Enemies Are Men Like Me" I somewhat disagree with, such as, "Peace through war is like purity through fornication." Well, not always. War is sometimes warranted and called for.

As far as musically, so far it is on par with ISTUD and SMASGF. Speaking of "She Must And Shall Go Free," I have to wonder what McLaren and Miller and pals have to say about that outing? Blatantly Reformed, I think.

And in defense of Derek (if I must), I'd encourage all to check out his wife's [Sandra McCracken] latest release (also released today) entitled "The Builder and the Architect." Derek helped out on production, instrumentation, and vocals. Wonderful collection of hymns old and new.

12/27/2005 01:33:00 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I went and saw Derek months ago, and he had some important things to say.

1. War sucks. It isn't good. And that's all I'm going to say here, for sake of unity.

2. The EC isn't from satan. In fact, it is quite a great thing when it is not only analyzed, but practiced.

3. We as evangelicals (also progressive-e's and post-e's) get caught up in the stupid things. Whether or not we have free will or what form of church government is most "biblical" or the manner and mode of baptism. There are people dying in Africa (which was the point of his "sermon") and we could help them! But, we would have to take a break from arguing (god-forbid!)

Anyways, I am excited to get the album! It sounded good live, and he just is a super-rad guy!

postscript - Donald Miller is Reformed.

12/27/2005 04:36:00 PM

Blogger Timmy said...


Great to hear from you. No worries - no arguing going on here - just a conversation :). I am glad that you feel as strongly as you do about the EC. I like people who aren't ashamed of their convictions. As far as the stupid things of free will and church government, I will leave church history to answer that one.

I also believe that helping those in Africa is not a stupid thing either. However, I do not feel like I need to disclose credentials to display my righteous acts for men. As One once said, we should not let our left hand know what our right hand is doing . . .

I am excited to get the album as well. Excited, but concerned.

12/27/2005 10:34:00 PM

Blogger postmodernegro said...


I had an opportunity to listen to a couple of songs on Webb's recent CD. I like what I am hearing so far. He is speaking to and for the margins of our society...something you see little of in Evangelical pop culture. I hope it is a trend that will continue. And honestly, if he needs to market it...so be it. Marketing isn't inherently evil. The question is what and how you are marketing.

One more thing...you did not mention Hauerwas' comment. He isn't a member of Emergent...although he is a friend of it. If you are going to take on McLaren and Miller...you need to take on Hauerwas as well.


12/31/2005 09:05:00 AM


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