I'm annoyed. Irked; riled; angered; peeved; irritated; vexed; and any other word that Thesaurus.com desires to throw my way.
The source of my agitation? Mr Robbie Williams.
I would like to state from the outset that in general I've never really had a problem with Robbie. Some of his music is good and he's a first class entertainer. He does have a tendency to come across as a little obnoxious and arrogant at times, but show me an A-list pop star who doesn't!
It's his new single that's got me blogging. It's called Bodies and you can listen to it here.
Musically I think it's a return to form. Very catchy and it's got a good anthemic vibe come the end. But have you heard the lyrics? Here's a slightly abridged transcript for you:
God gave me the sunshine
Then showed me my lifeline
I was told it was all mine
Then I got laid on a ley line
What a day, what a day
And your Jesus really died for me
Then Jesus really tried for me
Bodies in the Bodhi tree
Bodies making chemistry
Bodies on my family
Bodies in the way of me
Bodies in the cemetery
And that’s the way it’s gonna be
All we’ve ever wanted is to look good naked
Hope that someone can take it
God save me rejection
From my reflection
I want perfection
Praying for the rapture
‘Cause it’s stranger getting stranger
And everything’s contagious
It’s the modern middle ages
All day every day
And if Jesus really died for me
Then Jesus really tried for me
Jesus didn’t die for you, what do you want?
(I want perfection)
Jesus didn’t die for you, what are you on?
Oh Lord(Jesus really died for you)
Ohh(Jesus really died for you)
(Jesus really died for you) Ohh
I've bolded the stuff that's causing me a problem. It's obvious that the song is an outworking of all sorts of things that Williams has been thinking about. His interest in spirituality has often been a feature of his songs and I don't believe that he's intending to offend with his lyrics. But offend he does. I'm loathe to use the word offend actually. It's bandied about too often these days and has lost any real meaning. It might be better to say these lyrics upset me.
I'm a Christian. The absolute core of my beliefs is that Jesus Christ, the Son of God, totally God, totally human, absolutely holy and pure, died an horrific and undeserved death in order to take the punishment that I deserve for my disobedience and rejection of God. This is a truth. Jesus died for me. Really. I would have no problem if Robbie was singing that Jesus didn't die for him, if that's how he feels. But it is heart-breaking to hear someone singing at me through the radio that my Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ didn't die for me.
This also brings up an interesting situation. Who do I complain to? There's no real reason for me to complain to Williams (other than to correct him!) - he has a right to write and sing what he wants. Freedom of speech and all that. But should radio and TV stations be more responsible in what they are broadcasting? I'm 99% sure that if someone wrote a song denying in such terms something so integral to the Islamic faith, that the media would at the very least think twice before airing it. It is in fact only two lines of the song that truly affront. It would be very easy to edit out - they do it enough with swearing these days. You would be well within your rights to say, "But if it's only two lines then what's the big problem?" but those two lines - "Jesus didn't die for you", "Jesus didn't die for you, what are you on?" are killers. They come at the very end in the most anthemic part of the song and for Christians they have the capacity to cut to the heart.
Robbie's confusion and agnostic predilections are made clear by the fact that whilst he's singing these words the backing vocals are chiming, "Jesus really died for you". He would probably use that as his defence and it does diminish the insult a little. Although until I looked up the lyrics I thought that they were also singing "Jesus didn't die for you" - perhaps a slightly greater quality of diction is all that's required there!
Interestingly I've not heard a single word of complaint to any media outlet but I expect that a lot of Christians find themselves in a similar situation to myself - to whom do I complain? It makes me sad but for now I'll have to make do with responding to Mr Williams in a loud voice each time I hear his song: "Actually Jesus did die for me, thank you very much! Praise the Lord!"