Derek Webb’s “Stockholm Syndrome”| a preliminary album review

[NOTE: this is not a review of the whole album, just an impression from the songs released so far]

He has said it is his most important album to date.  But no matter what, Derek Webb’s Stockholm Syndrome will not be just an album. Regardless of the music, production, or vocals, this album will first and foremost be a manifesto, an indictment, a message. The lyrics will define this album. This album – this artist, even – has become a voice for an entire group of disgruntled twenty-something Christians that have surveyed the rolling hills of American evangelicalism and have found it lacking. They have called out for a prophet to say the words and use the language that will draw the line in the sand and separate the “Biblical” sheep from the “fundamentalist” goats. A man to come out in sackcloth and ashes and save real grace-driven Christianity from the clutches of the legalistic drones that would rob us of our freedom in Christ.

So, the question I have struggled with ever since the first songs on this album came out is: is this the right message spoken in the right way to the right people at the right time?

I hate saying it, but (from what we’ve seen so far) I don’t think so. There is a time and a place for the message this album seems to carry, don’t get me wrong. I don’t write off a song done by a Christian just because it has a curse word or says things sharply. The Old Testament prophets spoke just as harshly (if not more so) to the “church” at that time. They would call women cows (Amos 4:1), say that the people “lusted” after other gods like some dream of fornicating with others with penises the size of donkeys and ejaculations like that of horses (Ezekiel 23:20), and declare that the best things we ever did were nothing more than rags dipped in a woman’s menstruation tossed before the face of God (Isaiah 64:6).

I fancy Derek Webb sees himself as such a prophet, just as I know many of his fans do. Now, I think this harsh tone is absolutely appropriate and the balance is struck with all of Webb’s previous albums. But the vehemence of the songs released so far from Stockholm is off-putting and seems a bit out of place. It’s not just a declaration that the church is off on a few points and how they’ve gone about some things – all the songs are a mockery and sarcastic rant against her. As a friend well put it: this album probably will not accomplish the goal for which Derek set off writing this record. Rather than shock the church into reform, this album is far more likely to galvanize the opposition force against the church and those that think the Church has become so out of touch and impotent it has become unimportant all together.

I know that’s not Webb’s heart. Anyone that’s heard the album 2003’s She Must and Shall Go Free knows this. The songs from Stockholm Syndrome seem to form an epistle from a wounded lover. A man who loves the Bride of Christ so much he hates how she has gone a stray and has been personally affected and hurt by it. But I wish he would take a page out of Hosea and try to play a part in wooing the church back rather than trying to beat her back.

I just want to say it again: this criticism is not about language or tone. I am really not bothered by the “bad words” used or the forceful tone. Perhaps my favorite song ever recorded by any artist, “Wedding Dress“, has both of these elements, and yet it is geared more towards Webb’s own depravity rather than the Church’s flaws. Look, I have the same criticisms as him. Raised as a Dallas, Texas Southern Baptist, my family has been destroyed by the effects of fundamentalism and “easy believism”. But Jesus said He is building His church, so we must try and find the balance between working with Christ in building it or mocking what He’s done so far, and thereby working against the work Christ would have us do. I fear this album is the latter.

Much has changed on the landscape of American Christianity since Webb’s 2007 album The Ringing Bell. The Church has effectively lost its grip on pop culture, politics, and the prevailing worldview of the nation. This being the case, these songs from Stockholm Syndrome come on the scene too late and kick the church while she’s down, as it were.

But, at some point today, Derek is supposed to begin pre-orders for the album accompanied by immediate digital downloads. So when that happens, I’ll be sure to put up a more comprehensive review as soon as possible.

I pray he surprises us.  Thoughts, anyone?

26 thoughts on “Derek Webb’s “Stockholm Syndrome”| a preliminary album review

  1. Listening to the same songs, I’m reserving judgment. 4 out of 10 or more songs doesn’t give us the whole album’s tenor.

    Derek is addressing a hard topic in two of those songs: homosexuality. I don’t know what the right tone for that is. As a Dallasite myself, I was horrified when 1st Baptist had a sermon titled “Gay is not OK,” with the requisite protestors. Ok, yeah its a sin, but why are you picking it out? Because you can hammer on something you are not guilty of? Now how about a sermon on sins that the congregation or even the pastor is openly committing?

    I don’t know how one is supposed to address those topics, but when I see the church doing it, I want to kick the church in the mouth too…and perhaps that’s the wrong approach…


  2. “I fancy Derek Webb sees himself as such a prophet, just as I know many of his fans do. ”

    Where in the world are you getting this idea from? That is absurd and far fetched.

    Also, keep in mind God used Isaiah even though he was “a man of unclean lips”.


  3. Perhaps I’m missing the point, but I don’t think many of the O.T. prophets after which you fancy Webb styling himself were well-received either.

    I have the album now, though, so I’ll listen to it a few times and see what I think.


  4. Jared: i absolutely agree with you. it’s tough, but there’s a necessary balance we have to strike between “yes it’s a sin” and “no, it’s not the sin of all sins so top treating it like it is.” i’m just wondering if he’s found that balance. maybe he has, we’ll see. i think he has it in him.

    Caleb: forgive me if that sounded like an insult. i just mean he’s the voice for larger group than himself. that’s all i mean by “prophet”. he is voicing many of the opinions of a growing number of disgruntled Christians. he knows it. they know it. that’s all i was saying.

    Phillip: that’s one of the paradoxes of the Christian life- doing the right thing doesn’t necessarily mean that you’re received well (just look at Jesus). BUT, being received poorly doesn’t necessarily mean that you’re doing it rightly either. just how someone’s received does not prove whether or not they’re right. so just because someone else is received like the prophets doesn’t make them right.

    BUT, Derek could be doing this right. we’ll see. i just think he picked some poor sample songs for us to hear apart form the context of the whole album.


  5. “Much has changed on the landscape of American Christianity since Webb’s 2007 album The Ringing Bell. The Church has effectively lost its grip on pop culture, politics, and the prevailing worldview of the nation.”

    Could you elaborate on this a little bit? I’m trying to think of what has changed in the last two years and I can’t think of very much. America has a new President, is this what you’re referring to? I just don’t remember the Church having much of a “grip on pop culture, politics, and the prevailing worldview of the nation” then either.

    Is that the role of the Church in the first place?


  6. The album is great. Especially compared to his last few which have been great, but far too brief. I love the music on ‘mocking bird’ and ‘ringing bell’ but I felt gipped when the albums ended so soon. some tracks less than two minutes, gee whiz! Derek’s gone toward a more political message ever since ‘mockingbird’, so he’s dealing with larger issues than ‘shall go free’. He’s exploring what the gospel mandates us to do with issues such as equality, (in race and sexuality) along with justice and poverty. There’s a great song called ‘The State’ which deals with conscience that goes right into the next song, ‘The Proverbial Gun’ which talks about how our brothers and sisters in Christ woo us into things that should bother our conscience but don’t, (atleast that’s how I read it). There are so many good things to say about this new album, longer, better musically, innovative, artistic growth, thought provoking lyrics, upbeat. There are certain moments in Derek’s music that remind me why I’m a fan. I think back to his caedmon’s song “Standing up for Nothing”, “Lack of interest leads to, lack of concern leads to…” Moments like that in his music. That’s how I felt when I was listening to this album, like there were many of those moments that just take a hold of you.

    So, I don’t know your name, but for the person who wrote the above. This album isn’t for the church, I think it’s for all of God’s children.


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  8. “save real grace-driven Christianity from the clutches of the legalistic drones that would rob us of our freedom in Christ.”

    I think you’re missing the point Mr. Burkhart.

    We’ve got a false argument set up between two groups, cheap grace folks and moralist fundamentalists (you can’t put everyone in those two boxes. Some in fact are both)

    The point of Derek’s music is that Christianity isn’t about what you understand, but its about who you are. You may say all the right words, sing the right songs, have all the right “moral” positions or the right understanding of atonement (dear calvinists, this is for you) but if you have not love, then it means nothing. And if you do have love, it manifests itself in how you treat other people, not just the people that look like you, and smell like you, and behave like you (and are rich like you?) but ALL other people. That includes homosexuals, black people, brown people, poor people, muslims, etc.

    Speaking the truth in love is often times hard to hear. I’ve got the album (found it under the bar at the Rutledge Saturday) and maybe its sarcastic on occasion, and its definitely pointed, but its appropriate. Its far past time to sit in the pew and allow injustice to go unchallenged. If Christians are content to sit and play church on Sunday morning, arguing over the specific nature of atonement, or what kinda music to use, or whether or not we need to build another gym, then fine. But that is not what following Christ is about. Its uncomfortable. Its dirty. Its leaving the security blanket of wealth. Its resisting violence with love, even in the face of death. And its loving the unlovable. The church is far too comfortable with its American culture, held in slavery by the promise of freedom of religion, and freedom from “bad” people coming in their neighborhoods, the fallacy of free markets which lead us to be controlled by our wants and desires rather than being truly free in Christ, which is to submit yourself to His rule… and live the way He did, the way we can be most truly human and most truly free.

    And that means we have to love those who continue to wear the name of Christ but look nothing like them. That does not mean, however, that we don’t speak the truth because it might hurt their feelings, or it might be offensive.

    Its time for the church to be the church, and Derek’s album is the most concise, creative medium to call the church to faithfulness. Most probably won’t come along. But the guilty don’t know they are unless they are told. We are all guilty, and its time to repent, to change our worldview to incorporate the reality of the Kingdom of God breaking in HERE and NOW and that salvation is not merited by following Jesus. Salvation (from the oppression of our sinful nature, from the systems that bring about injustice, from our wealth, from thinking that we exist as stand alone entities, not as creatures with a purpose) is here and now. And I hope Derek continues to make music to call the errant people of God to their true calling, so they can experience the abundant, eternal life that comes from suffering servanthood.


  9. okay everyone, i’ve resisted commenting because i have no idea who will read my reply, nor who will actually take it to heart, but here are a few of my reactions to some comments.

    I should have mentioned in this post that Derek Webb is my second favorite musical artist of all time. everything he touches is wonderful. even the new album. i got it on release day and haven’t been able to stop listening to it. i am right on board with Derek politically, theologically (by the way, he is a Calvinist), and in his critiques of the church. he has the right message. i agree wholeheartedly. (have i made this point clear?)

    but my struggle is in HOW he is communicating these ideas i agree with. correction should be done (whether harshly or gently) for the purpose of restoration, not injury. i find that some (not as many as i was expecting. he really surprised me) of the tracks on the album are just trying to injure the church. but even this has its place. i repeat: even this has its place at times.

    but, ultimately, my biggest problem with this album is the proposed solution. yes, Derek brings up many problems where the church is lacking, but what is his call to the church in order to fix these things? i was shocked to realize that the Gospel itself never really makes an appearance on the album. the cross is never mentioned, i think Jesus’ name appears once, and it’s in “Heaven” where he’s saying people that think heaven is about the “stuff” that will be there are missing the point that Jesus will be there.

    other than that, that’s it. in his attempts at fighting legalism and backbiting, he has seemed to advocate a new legalism built around backbiting the rest of the church. i fear he’s becoming what he hates. and what breaks my heart is the fact that i KNOW this is not his heart. i KNOW he holds the Gospel central in his life. i KNOW he thinks the Gospel, and Jesus, and the cross are the answers to the Church’s (and the world’s issues). i KNOW he loves the Church and just wants to see her restored and functioning properly.

    but, to the person that doesn’t read interviews with him, who hasn’t listened to his previous albums, who just knows about him because of the controversy surrounding the album, and all they have is THIS album with THESE lyrics, i fear they will not walk away changed in the way Derek would have hoped. for those of us that know him and his music, i know this isn’t what we’re getting from the album. it’s not what i’m getting. but my concern are the others that would have needed to hear this message tied to the Gospel and will not find that on this record.


  10. Paul,

    That last comment is EXACTLY how I have been feeling about this latest album. Accurately articulating the problems and not providing the answer, or at the least, any encouragement that there is in fact a solution, is not as helpful as helpful could be. And maybe the gospel (the solution) is just supposed to be assumed… but isn’t the the whole problem with what is being condemned? That we as the Christian church have so much of a tendency to assume we know the solution and to not practically apply it into our minds, our hearts, our actions?

    I highly, highly respect Derek. Because, like you said Paul, I have heard the past albums and have heard numerous interviews where the gospel is so obviously his heart, his engine, AND his idea of the solution. He has said things that really, really, really need to be said. But unfortunately, he has left one thing (I fear, the most important thing, the thing that never needs to be left out) unsaid on this latest album. Granted, I know that Derek probably doesn’t intend this one album to be the exclusive representation of his message on a whole, but, knowing that this will inevitably happen, it kind of makes me a little dissapointed.


  11. this could sound a little harsh – without a tone of voice to give more context. please assume i am not a bitter person trying to beat anybody down.
    read with a positive inflection.

    “Granted, I know that Derek probably doesn’t intend this one album to be the exclusive representation of his message on a whole, but, knowing that this will inevitably happen, it kind of makes me a little dissapointed.”

    i appreciate the sincerity of those here and the thoughtfulness of the posts but C’MON guys – read this quote back . this is a RIDICULOUS statement.

    “i was shocked to realize that the Gospel itself never really makes an appearance on the album. the cross is never mentioned, i think Jesus’ name appears once,”

    since when is it the responsibility of the artist to explain and lay out all the answers to societies’ ills in every piece of art they create? does every painting by a Christian require a small paragraph on the bottom corner explaining salvation? every movie a disclaimer? every story an explanation?

    there is room for lament, frustration and questioning – there is space for unrest. this isn’t a sitcom that has to wrap up with a neat bow tie smile ending in 30 minutes. God is in control. the story is not yet over. He does not require that we end every cd or song with a 4 point presentation of the gospel.

    this is a messy messy world we live in – twisted and broken – and the Kingdom is a mystery unfolding in ways often beyond our perceptions or understanding. sometimes these things cannot/should not or are less effective when tackled head on. they need to be looked at on their side – from different points of view. maybe some times you need to come to your own conclusions rather than have it all spelled out for you. maybe good art requires you to do some of the work sometime.

    i am in no way saying mr webb is perfect. not at all. just that i don’t think it is wrong or sinful to ask questions without always presenting the answer in a clever line in the last verse before the double chorus. your expectations of an artist are not reasonable.

    he may function best as one who provokes conversation/discussion and a second look at things taken for granted. maybe he is a prophet – maybe not. but certainly he is an artist and not a sunday school teacher. he can talk about/grapple with something without having to unravel, dissect and explain it all. he can be descriptive without being clear – he can be abstract.

    what i am sensing here – underneath the surface – is a sadness at his move away from the directness of his earlier work where it was a more straightforward gospel message – often calling the wayward church back to Christ. i get that.

    but don’t feel like you or I have the right to dictate the type of work he “ought” to be doing or what “The point of Derek’s music is”. Or how he is supposed to present the Gospel or use Jesus’ name a certain number of times on each album!


  12. Jonathan,

    You know what’s kind of funny? I agree with everything you just said. But yet I also still agree with everything I tried to articulate before. I think these paradoxical feelings come from when we look at something called “Christian art” (not to belabor the point, but the combination of something being “art”, yet also being “Christian”)

    We have a biblical call to constantly preach the gospel, and to preach it to everyone, including ourselves. Yet saying the same thing over and over, even if presented in clever/different ways, can be construed as “inartistic”, at least from a strictly artistic point of view.

    Yet, when push comes to shove, I feel like we are called to sacrifice our “artistry” before we sacrifice our obligation/privilege to proclaim Christ, no matter how cliched it may come across. But, at the exact same time, I feel that if we are not “artistic” enough in our presentation of the gospel, we ruin our opportunity to share it with people (even Christians, and ourselves), because we have caused them (and ourselves) to reduce “the gospel” to simple phrases heard on Christian radio, like “Jesus saves”, “God is awesome”, etc; cliches are not created by ears, they are created by tongues. And then we are only serving ourselves as “Christian” “artists”.

    So I acknowledge the tension. It is tough. Being a songwriter myself, I struggle with this. I do not know where I land on this issue, and in fact, I personally feel that “not landing” is best.

    And I wish I would’ve made it clearer before that I neither think this album’s approach is “wrong” or “sinful”. It just doesn’t give me any hope when I listen to it. Granted, my supply of hope does not and is never supposed to come only from art, rather it comes from the beautiful, mysterious God that we all have. However, a reflection in the album of that hope that I already know would have been… err, more inclusive I guess.

    Thanks for all the really great points though. All of that was very insightful and true!


  13. “Rather than shock the church into reform, this album is far more likely to galvanize the opposition force against the church and those that think the Church has become so out of touch and impotent it has become unimportant all together.”

    It’s a little too late for that… the Church has become out of touch and impotent and has made itself unimportant all together. The sooner we realize it was OUR fault for making the Gospel irrelevant, the sooner we can start repairing.

    And there’s not much more people can to do galvanize opposition in America as it is save throwing people in jail and/or murdering them.

    The album will probably just tick off the big wigs and politicians of mainstream Christianity and all the mindless drones that hang on their words. In fact, I hope it does.


  14. After listening to the album many, many times, I really love it. But I understand the tension everyone is discussing here.

    In a way, he’s “preaching to the choir.” I get what he’s saying and have been saying much the same thing about those with a religious spirit giving a “black eye” to followers of Christ.

    Knowing the Bible, I see tendrils of it throughout, from Derek’s suggestion that we “out-love” and “out-suffer” our oppressors to his admonition in “What Matters More” that in our silence we are “denying all the dying of the remedy” of Christ.

    In the final song, “American Flag Umbrella,” maybe we get a glimpse of where Derek sees himself right now.

    “I’m building a house on the limb
    “I need something that could stop a war
    “I’m assailed on all sides by extremists with eyes on my heart
    “So I lie to everyone.”

    And I take that last line with a grain of salt. I don’t think he is lying as much as he is telling people what they want to/are ready to hear.

    To reprise from “Becoming a Slave:”

    “Everyone’s telling the truth
    “In languages that nobody speaks
    “You listen close, you hear what you believe.”

    We love Derek’s vision. We love his call to action. But in the end, our downfall is our desire “To be what you want” instead of dying to ourselves and being a vessel for Christ.


  15. I recently had the awesome privilege of driving Derek Webb to the airport after one of his shows. I don’t think he wants to be a prophet. He was saying that he is just saying things that are on his heart and enjoying making art. He does not want to lead a movement or start a revolution. He is just an artist.


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  17. My initial reaction to the song “What Matters More” was not one of great love, mostly due to the presentation of the song/ the way it sounds, but after getting over the initial prejudice I see it’s value. It, like the entire album should be taken in tandem with his other work. Everything on this CD is a progression. His song “Jena and Jimmy” is a powerfully indicting metaphor, and his song “I love/hate you” is one, if not his most truely artistic and poetic songs. I had the pleasure of seeing him last fall at Gordon College on an Art/Music/Justice tour, and was impressed with the info he gave about his music website and eagerness to embrace postmodernism (incorporating it with his worldview) and to see a relationship form between many art forms and to make art active (He did a q and a between performances, and I was able to speak briefly with him after that). Also, I think Derek has written music on this cd that might be taken seriously and enjoyed by someone other than a christian. All in all I think that this cd says politically/socially things that have been said, but need to continue being said by christians who take their faith seriously. Can we really sit down and watch people who share our name and love abuse the people who want us and need us? Can we sit back while brothers and sisters suffer? If we really took any of this twice as seriously as we say or half of much as we should, the world and church would be so different. I think that Derek is not looking to be a prophet, or to put on a show; I don’t think he has all the answers. I do think he sees what he sees, and knows what he knows, and writes about and tells about it. I don’t think he wants to entirely destroy the church with its good/bad, and I don’t think he does. He has other cd’s that portray her beauty and that tell of the forgiveness she will recieve. The thing is that, as christians, we need to take ourselves,and our identity in Christ so much more seriously. I mean, I don’t know what else to say except that Israel failed and so Christ took up her mantle, (as we took up Christ’s) so what we now need to ask ourselves is if we could/will end up failing … I mean it’s a provocative question that I find I can never avoid, but honestly I don’t imply God is out of control, I just think that we are given a responsibility that we can handle only if we act well beyond ourselves, and I don’t think that many churches are really aware of this. I mean, we have a free will, and just as with Adam we are capable of falling, so with Christ we are capable of rising. So I think that especially in this cd Derek expresses more than anything the necessity to take things way more seriously especially at an individual level, as that will be the begining of any real widespread change. I would suggest reading NT Wright, though I don’t know if Webb does.
    I think Webb’s biggest concern is making good art, and I think he does that, while telling the truth- remember Jesus Christ rides in a “car that’s bullet proof/ that way everyone is safe/ from the man who tells the truth”, so the fact that few people really appreciate Webb is hardly an indictement of his veracity, but rather indicative of it. I also think Webb wants to express the struggle of a christian, and unfortunately in his experience I don’t think it has been easy, and I think for most people of my generation it’s the same… I mean it’s like working against everything that we should be working with, and I personally know that I don’t want people to be the same way as me, I just want them to understand and accept the way I am. I mean I honestly got told I was reading “crap” by a pastor, as I read Brian Mclaren and Virginia Woolf, and I still respect the man, but I think it was a really ignorant thing to say, considering I seriously doubt whether he had ever bothered to read either author; this is a minor example of the way a pastor behaves towards a christian he has known for her entire life (me), and over something that truely is a none issue anyway, so to me it’s not suprising that christians behave so abusivly towards somebody who doesn’t believe as they do or who is a “heathen” by whatever law/standard they have and in my opinion with such strong sentiments flying about from one group, something needs to be said to the whole- because don’t think Derek is on one side.


  18. I also really want to address something that was being discussed earlier… the issue of “solution”. I think that it would be silly to say anything besides this: yes there are no solutions given on this cd- because this is not a math equation. I honestly don’t think there are great answers. I think you have to know Christ to have answers. I also think the point is that the answer is most Christians are wrong, that in some way we all fail, but failure really isn’t an option, because if we fail as christians, how much more will someone who isn’t fail? That is what Derek means. He wants everyone, whether fundamental or emerging to realize that there is no room for us to sit around, or to discriminate, or to be “human”. We NEED to be as Christ was or in effect Christ is dead- because it is through the church that he lives. (Obviously we are human, but we need to be more human than human as Christ was). I think Derek is working to present a tension as in the song “I love/hate you”: here he presents beautiful images relative to ideas in antiquity that related to sex/ marriage “Baby when I put my hands on you/ I feel like I’m touching the earth/ I’m breaking ground/ the soils wet/ slipping through my hands” which conveys the primitive desire and love between Christ and the church, then couples that with the outcry that “Your love/ is a noose around my neck/ I give up/ and know I will regret it” which conveys the fustrations of that relationship on both ends, and I think this aptly captures the message of so much in the cd. It is a love/hate relationship that is primitive and childish. I don’t know if Derek means this should change; I tend to think he does, and in this case I would agree. I also think this, as most of the other songs, carries a polyvalence; you can apply the truth to many circumstances, which is clearly evident as being an element of good art- there is a definate truth that has many facets, sort of like scripture, huh? Also I think it’s so silly anyone would mention that there is a problem with the lack of scripture in this cd… it doesn’t need to have scripture or Christ’s name in it to be Christian. I personally believe that the end of God’s word is not the Bible, and I do believe the Bible is authoratative, which is sort of why I think the end of God’s word is not the Bible- just as the end of Christ was not the tomb. I think that what Derek may be doing with this cd is relative to what we should as believers- exiting the common “church” sub-culture and moving our language and art away from all convention, whether church related or secular, taking the best of both, and making art living. Obviously Christ is the center of the message, but Christ does not reside in his name or in his book, but in us- this is the point of Derek is saying, or not saying! I mean our art should express something true eloquently. How can we put that in any sort of box? We live in a culture so absolutely different from Christ’s, I don’t think most christians would recognize if he was among, simply because they go by the exact words of the bible without understanding an ounce of the meaning. And the problem is that no one notices, and when someone does they forget to say Christ’s name enough… I mean can you not see how silly that is? Can you see why Derek would do this? Please I beg you be offended by it, think about why it would offend you… and then realize what matters more. Christ as a person or Christ as an idea. Is it more important to provide a formula and answers, or to tell the truth? The reason why the church came about was because of too many formula’s and answers… because everything was easy, and the point is take up a cross, which is not a formula, but a bloody reality. I mean, come on people, this cd is great and exciting and it relates to more than just christians, and more than just a certain christian because it speaks to everyone. Please hear Derek’s message, please get over it and live.


  19. Adam,

    I think that the poverbial gun is definately about our brother’s and sisters wooing as away, but I also think that as you take it with the state it goes beyond that into not just an indictment, but also into something more. He repeats “free” after the song, and I think that he is juxtaposing the monstrosity of the mock court in his mind with that- the mock court pronounces him free, but at the cost of his freedom as he picks “[Christ’s] body from my [his] teeth”, so as with the state he shatters everyone’s notion of freedom. It is not just doing whatever you want, but it is having no guilt. And as you said I believe especially “the proverbial gun” “the state” and “i love/hate you” all relate to non-christian audiences. Thank for talking about something other than controversy!


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