What Matters More???

Wow! For those of you who followed the Derek Webb fiasco to the end… Congrats are in order. I did the best I could and was there compiling music at the very end of it. For those of you who have no idea what I’m talking about, it’s ok. Please keep reading!

One of my favorite Singer Songwriters is Derek Webb. He recently released an album called The Stockholm Syndrome. There was a lot of controversy surrounding this album that delayed it’s release and ultimately resulted in two separate albums to appease the more conservative crowd.

The main song of controversy is titled What Matters More? I’ll include the lyrics here for you to read and the video of the song.

You say you always treat people like you like to be
I guess you love being hated for your sexuality
You love when people put words in your mouth
‘Bout what you believe, make you sound like a freak

‘Cause if you really believe what you say you believe
You wouldn’t be so damn reckless with the words you speak
Wouldn’t silently consent when the liars speak
Denyin’ all the dyin’ of the remedy

Tell me, brother, what matters more to you?
Tell me, sister, what matters more to you?

If I can tell what’s in your heart by what comes out of your mouth
Then it sure looks to me like being straight is all it’s about
It looks like being hated for all the wrong things
Like chasin’ the wind while the pendulum swings

‘Cause we can talk and debate until we’re blue in the face
About the language and tradition that he’s comin’ to save
Meanwhile we sit just like we don’t give a shit
About 50,000 people who are dyin’ today

Tell me, brother, what matters more to you?
Tell me, sister, what matters more to you?

So the question is… What Matters More?

I’ve thought about this a lot, even before Derek released this album I had been pressed with these questions. Several months before I heard word of this song, I was listening to an old podcast of Rob Bell. In this particular sermon Rob is talking about a conversation that Jesus had with the Pharisees. During this conversation Jesus says

“Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you tithe mint and dill and cumin, and have neglected the weightier matters of the law: justice and mercy and faithfulness.”

What is Jesus getting at? According to Rob, and I agree with him, Jesus is telling the Pharisees that they’ve gotten down the legal things. They know the do’s and do not’s of religion. Where they are lacking is in carrying out justice, showing mercy, having faith in God and His sovereignty. They’ve neglected the “weightier” issues. Some translations say that they’ve neglected the “more important” issues. Being agents of justice and showing people mercy are more important than tithing?!?! That seems to be what Jesus is saying. Justice, Mercy, and Faithfulness are more important than the legal side of things. In fact it’s this legalism that gets the Pharisees in so much trouble with Jesus.

What’s important to note is that Jesus does not say that tithing is not important. It is important, in fact he goes on to say that we should to the weightier things without neglecting the others. We should do justice, show mercy without neglecting to obey those personal things that God has placed on us.

So what’s my point? What do these have in common? The question that Derek asks is, “What matters more?” What matters more, the fact that there are gay people in our world or that children are starving to death? What matters more? That a new state has allowed for homosexual union, or that 50,000 people died yesterday and you didn’t even shed a tear? He’s not asking which one matters at all. He’s asking which one matters MORE? I think that Jesus would say that the justice and mercy issues matter more. Saving the starving and diseased children.

Is that what we Christians think is more important?

I don’t think that it is. Almost without fail each week I get a new e-mail in my inbox telling me to take some action against homosexuality. I either need to boycott Ford because they’re advertising during a show that shows to guys kissing, or I need to write my congressman about some new law or bill that prevents people from carrying out hate crimes against homosexuals (That’s another post entirely). More time, effort and money from Christians goes into a fight against homosexuals that is a one sided fight.

When I want to take action that will help prevent the spread of malaria I go to Bill Gates. That’s not a Christian organization. When I want to take action that would help get clean drinking water to literally millions of people who don’t have it, then I go to One.org. That’s not a Christian organization.

We Christians have forgotten to concern ourselves with the things of Christ! We are so caught up in our Pharisee attitudes and our legalism that we don’t show justice or mercy to a world that is in misery! A world that God loves, a world that Christ died for! His message and His gospel is not just a ticket to Heaven, but a call for a lifestyle that fights on the side of justice and mercy.

We “Christians” don’t act like Christ! Hollywood is concerning themselves with the “more important” issues and yet we think that we have the right to call ourselves righteous in God’s site. We think we have the right to say that we are Holy and living Holy lives simply because we are obeying the rules.

If that’s what Holiness is than I, along with the Fathers of the Church have seriously misread the Bible.

So what matter’s more to you as a Christian? What are you going to do? Where is your time, effort and money going to go?

There is one more quote from Derek that I would like to share. There is a verse in his song called This Too Shall Be Made Right.

I don’t know the suffering of people outside my front door
I join the oppressors of those who i choose to ignore
I’m trading comfort for human life
and that’s not just murder it’s suicide

Let’s join together and concern oursleves with the more important matters, not neglecting the others.

5 thoughts on “What Matters More???

  1. “Hate Bill” Favoritism

    If “hate bill”-obsessed Congress can't protect Christians from “gays” as much as it wants to protect “gays” from Christians, will Congress be surprised if it can't protect itself from most everyone? If “hate bills” are forced on captive Americans, they'll still find ways to sneakily continue to “plant” Biblical messages everywhere. By doing so they'll hasten God's judgment on their oppressors as revealed in Proverbs 19:1. (See related web items including “David Letterman's Hate, Etc.,” “Separation of Raunch and State,” “Michael the Narc-Angel,” and “Bible Verses Obama Avoids.”) Since Congress can't seem to legislate “morality,” it's making up for it by legislating “immorality”!
    And don't overlook “Tribulation Index becomes Rapture Index” on Google, etc.

  2. Seems to me personally that you missed the point. It's not that homosexuality is an unimportant fight to fight, but I see more Christians graying their hair over that goofy “Beat up one sin at a time” fight, than my fellow Christians picking up the standard over genocide worldwide, or babies dying in the streets of starving, war-torn countries.

    God, then family, then country. If I fail my God in helping the suffering, then I have failed the *world* that he loved enough to die for it.

  3. I find “Anonymous's” comment almost completely incomprehensible (by the way, anonymous posting is for cowards), so I will not attempt to reason with him/her, which I think would probably be a futile exercise anyways. (I will say that there is a whole lot of irony in your point about the relationship between the misuse of Bible verses and divine judgment, but your apparent lack of intellectual humility means the point will surely be lost on you.)

    My response, Paul, is: Isn't the answer obvious? The bulk of the Bible is about social and economic justice. I can think of four passages that address homosexuality directly (five if you count Sodom, which is kind of a misreading of the text). Jesus never said a thing about it, by the way. So I'm going to go out on a limb here and say that Evangelical obsession with two sins (homosexuality and abortion) the Bible almost never mentions is, well, unbiblical. (How's that for divine judgment, Anonymous?)

  4. Once again, I whole-heartedly agree with you. We are way too concerned with hot-button issues. For people in the United States this often has to do with sex….oh no! I typed SEX! But it's true, that's one of our biggest hot-button issues in this country. Meanwhile we have kids starving on the street, people be oppressed, people dying because they have no one to take care of them. If I remember correctly, and I'm pretty sure I do, we were called to take care of each other. We were called to give grace and mercy, as you said.

    I know it's a lot easier to have a set of rules to follow that tell you what's wrong and what's right. It makes it more clear that way and makes us feel good when we stay within the appropriate boundaries. Unfortunately that's not the way God works. (Thank God!)

    And honestly it's really rather upsetting that we even have to ask this question because it seems to be rather obvious from the teachings of Jesus what matters more…

  5. Thank you for this blog Paul, and by the way, that's a great song! People starving and dying from diseases such as malaria will always be more important than hot button moral issues. Great job Paul!

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