Read the following story and then decide whether you think it is straight news, or satire.
ANAHEIM — The latest Vineyard Music worship CD, “Intimacy, vol. 2,” has raced to the top of the Christian sales charts, but Wal-Mart is refusing to stock the album without slapping on a parental warning sticker. The ground-breaking — some say risqué — album includes edgy worship songs such as “My Lover, My God,” “Touch Me All Over,” “Naked Before You,” “I’ll Do Anything You Want,” “Deeper” and “You Make Me Hot with Desire.”
“We’ve had concerns about previous Vineyard CD’s, but this time they went overboard in their suggestive imagery depicting the church’s love affair with Christ,” said a Wal-Mart spokesman. “It would be irresponsible to sell this to 13-year-old kids.”
A Vineyard Music Group (VMG) spokesman defended the album.
“We felt this was the next logical step in furthering people’s intimacy with the Lord, as the title implies,” said Sam Haverley, director of VMG public relations. “People aren’t content with yesterday’s level of closeness. They want something more. We feel this album gives them that.”
Wal-Mart represents a third of all CD sales, which has forced VMG to try to negotiate a deal. VMG proposed adding a heart-shaped warning sticker rather than the black-and-white label more often seen on raunchy rap albums, but Wal-Mart refused. VMG is considering issuing a censored version of the album. ”
If Christians want to make R- or X-rated music, that’s up to them,” said a Wal-Mart spokesman, “but we don’t have to carry it.”
When I first read this, quoted in a blog as a news item the blogger was blogging about, I went looking for the news agency which had generated the copy. Mother Google helped, of course, and there it was: Lark News.
Did I feel bamboozled? Foolish? Gullible?
No way. I didn’t read this as satire, because you can’t satirize Jesus-is-my-boyfriend songs any more. They’re simply too mainstream to be satirized. It would be like satirizing the wetness of water, or the brightness of sunlight. You can’t exaggerate what’s already so far out there that nothing can exceed it.
Well, I guess it could be exceeded, but only by borrowing from the Baal worshippers and getting hot, steamy sex in the sanctuary on Sunday morning. And why create a janitorial crisis when you can simply sing about it, in hypnotic repetitions, with backup band and crooning voice-overs that help you slip into a religio-erotic swoon of your own creation.
Try googling the phrase “Jesus is my boyfriend” but before you do, make a guess on how many hits that will generate. It won’t be a gazillion (the post-millennial kingdom hasn’t arrived yet, dontcha know). But, I’ll betcha its more than you thought it would be. Yes, a lot of them are negative toward Jesus-as-my-boyfriend; but, they testify to the pervasiveness of the notion in Christian worship and culture. Jesus-is-my-boyfriend-songs have become a genre of the Contemporary Christian Music (CCM) scene, and a feature of many thousands of contemporary worship services each week across the land.
Boyfriended: Nawwww. That’s so retro. Jesus is our boyfriend now, and if you’re a guy, no biggie. Just put Jesus in touch with your feminine side and things will be just fine.
Guy: “But, I’m a TOTAL guy. I don’t have a feminine side!”
Boyfriended: Well, you’re in the bride of Christ, so you’re feminine at some level. Quit fighting it and learn to groove. Ask your sisters in Christ about it. They’ll help you learn to melt in Jesus’ intimate love. Try it, and you’ll like it.
Guy: But, I won’t feel like a guy any more. Instead, I’ll feel really gay.”
Boyfriended: Sheesh. What a chauvinist! Get over yourself already! Just sing those love ballads to Jesus and you’ll get in the groove after a couple of dozen verses. It’s not hard. Just let go and let Jesus be your boyfriend.