The Gospel Coalition & Sex as Conquest: it’s still misogyny, however unintended {2}

Yesterday, I talked about a recent brouhaha over some comments by Douglas Wilson and Jared Wilson (no relation) over at The Gospel Coalition about gender and marriage. Jared quoted a book by Douglas where he says, among other things, this:

…the sexual act cannot be made into an egalitarian pleasuring party. A man penetrates, conquers, colonizes, plants. A woman receives, surrenders, accepts.

His (and Jared’s) main point was that they believe there’s an inherent “loving” “authority” exercised by men in marriage, even in the sexual act. Further, this is God’s loving design that Christians are to embrace. They believe that some of our culture’s male addiction to porn and female addiction to S&M bondage fantasies stem from our culture’s rebellion from this “proper”  and “loving” exercise of male authority over women, causing them to turn to “improper” ways of exercising these God-given drives.

Needless to say, they got a lot of flack over this. They insisted time and time again that they are not advocating forcible marital sex or that women should just be treated as passive “receivers” of sex. They defended themselves, attacked their critics, and yet, (inexplicably, to them) critics kept saying these harsh things about them. Yesterday, I wrote about the background of this, the responses, and then wrote some words to Jared Wilson. Please go to that link for that relevant information. Today I want to give more of my specific perspective on this:
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Open Mic: John Yoo, Torture, & Christian Ethics

Yesterday I wrote about how Catholicism views the idea of torture and how a possible response to it and it’s socio-political effects can be found in the Eucharist.  That article was written because the idea of Torture has come front and center in the political discourse once more.  For those not keeping track of the current political climate concerning the previous administration, John Yoo is a law professor at the University of California, Berkeley that was given the charge by the Bush administration and the CIA to define the nature and limits of “enhanced interrogation techniques“. He along with Jay Bybee authored the famous “torture memos” which gave legal justification for the use of waterboarding, sleep deprivation, and other techniques in order to get information from suspected terrorists.

Last year, the Office of Professional Responsibility wrote a report finding the two men guilty of professional misconduct and recommended the Justice Department do a full investigation. Ealier this month, both Bybee and Yoo were officially cleared of all wrongdoing in the eyes of the Department of Justice. Further, the DOJ strongly suggested that no further investigation nor disciplinary action from the bar should be sought. Last week the Department officially closed its investigation. Yesterday, the top ethicist of the Department of Justice said that not only did Yoo and Bybee do nothing criminal, but neither did they even act unethically. (Full summary of the metanarrative of all of this can be found here.)

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FREE Derek Webb album download for 48 hours only!

UPDATE: The album is no longer up, but clicking the link below will take you to a page where you can download the super-controversial single “What Matters More”  off of the album.

Hey everyone, I just wanted to plug this.  This morning at 9am I got an email from the Derek Webb mailing list saying that on Noise Trade you can download Derek Webb’s newest album, Stockholm Syndrome for free for the next 48 hours.  Which means it should be up until about 9am Friday morning (02/26/2010).  You have nothing to lose, and an amazing album to gain.  Here’s the link:

Download “What Matters More” from Derek Webb’s album Stockholm Syndrome on for free


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My Favorite Song: “Wedding Dress” by Derek Webb

b00008ngas01_ss500_sclzzzzzzz_For those that have read this blog for a while, seeing the name “Derek Webb” AGAIN in the title of one of my posts probably caused you to at least roll your eyes, if not actually letting out a heavy sigh accompanied with an “oh Paul…”.  This is because in about a three month span, I wrote 8 posts all having to do with Derek Webb’s newest album Stockholm Syndrome (here they are: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8).  Admittedly, I kept writing all those mainly because I was boasting record visits to my site because of those articles and I wanted to maintain that.  But eventually it got old, and I went back to my smaller numbers, though those article still rank as my highest visited even still.

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i made it on Derek Webb’s homepage!

webb shot

Well, that was exciting.  I noticed a huge jump in visits to my site and saw that I was getting traffic from Derek’s main page.  So, I jumped over there and saw that he has a blog feed going.  It linked to the article I wrote last week on his thoughts on art in a recent interview.  No doubt the feed just crawls the web for keywords and puts up links to any ol’ page that finds his name in the title.  I doubt he has actually read any of my stuff.  So far I only know of one “celebrity” that’s commented here.

But still, I thought it was cool.  My little 15 minutes . . .

btw- “Beauty” part 9?  On the way in a few minutes.

Derek Webb, Pete Yorn, Scarlet Johanssen, Jesus, & Art

Break UpThe Mockingbird blog did a great interview with Derek Webb that was published today.  It seems like every interview he’s been doing has consisted of the same content, but this seems to have a few original questions in it.  It’s really enjoyable.

This was my favorite quote from the whole thing.  It’s a very biblical view of “Christian art” and it resonates well with my recent article on the Beauty of Art, so I thought I’d share it with all of you.

As an artist, my job is to look at the world and tell you what I see. Every artist, regardless of their beliefs, has some way that they look at the world that helps them make sense of what they see. A grid through which they look at the world which makes order out of it. For me that’s following Jesus, for other artists it’s other things. It could be anything, but every artist has that grid. Most Christian art unfortunately is more focused on making art/writing songs about the grid itself. As opposed to writing songs about what you see when you look through the grid. I’m more interested in looking through the grid and telling you what I see.

In other art news, I can stop listening to the new Pete Yorn/Scarlet Johanssen duet/compilation album Break Up.  It’s pretty phenomenal.  Expect a review here in the coming days. You can listen to the entire thing online here.  I know Scarlet’s received a lot of crap about her voice and singing ability, especially after her solo album of Tom Waits covers called Anywhere I Lay My Head.  Personally, I love her voice.  I think it’s amazing, refreshing, and seductive.  Here, try this random single she did called “Last goodbye” (I have no idea where it’s originally from.  Sorry.):

Enjoy the quote, links, and audio and let me know what you think.

Derek Webb Discusses “Stockholm Syndrome” in Patrol Magazine


Here you can read a really informative interview with Derek Webb concerning the Church, culture, his creative process, and of course, his new album “Stockholm Syndrome”.

Patrol Magazine is perhaps my favorite site I read, and this interview furthers secures its place in my affections. A favorite and very enlightening paragraph in the interview reads:

Stockholm Syndrome is the sound of me using the resources I have to create a barricade between my own community and the people I love more than anybody else in my life, who don’t understand (nor do I) the major disconnect between the way that Jesus loved people, and the way that Jesus’ followers love people. People have no problem with Jesus, this man who loved others so radically that he was killed for it. But many who now follow Jesus love others so poorly, and they seem more like those in the Biblical account who Jesus reserved the harshest language for. I’m as confused about that as my friends are. But it was time for me, personally, to draw a line and try to absorb for them, to join them on the line, absorbing this hatred that seems directed at them. I just couldn’t go another year in my personal life and not make some of these statements, simply because some of my best friends have been on the receiving end of that hatred.

A commenter on a previous post I wrote on this album let me know from a personal conversation he had with Webb that he does not in fact see himself as a prophet.  Just an artist making art about what the world looks like to him.  Derek says:

Ultimately, my job is to look at the world and tell people what I see—and I literally see it as part of my job, to agitate people. I’m good at it . . . Controversy—it’s not something that I’ve intentionally manufactured. I don’t look for opportunities to make it happen. As a communicator, though, I would be stupid to not take advantage of every opportunity.

I must say, after this interview, I really do have a much more understanding picture of Derek Webb in my head.  I see more of his heart, and as I’ve really worn out the album, I’m starting to “get it” more.

So, read the interview, buy the album, and begin to see the world through the eyes of Derek Webb.  Let me know what you think.

“For your life – Flee!” by Sean Brendan Stewart – Reform & Revive | a Plugfest

sorry, no y-axis this time

sorry, no y-axis this time

[Thank you to spectacular photographer and friend David Schrott for inspiring this post]

Okay, due to a few recent articles I’ve written, the number of people visiting my blog has increased by over 4000% in the past week.  It’s pretty nuts.  That’s why everything has seemed to be about Derek Webb and his new album, Stockholm Syndrome.  So, I just wanted to take this chance to put in a few plugs for some of my other projects.

I have web magazine called Reform & Revive.  It looks at the intersection between faith and culture, politics, art, the church, and just life in general.  These Derek Webb posts would perhaps have been more appropriate on that site, but the readership here jumped up so fast (I’m actually on the first page of most Google searches having to do with the album).

Anyway, friend, brother, and fellow impassioned writer, Sean Brendan Stewart, just put up a special article that seems to have a similar message as the new Webb album.  It’s some commentary from him, then a very brief manuscript of some audio from a Carter Conlon message.  After that, feel free to look at our more regular full articles from our Contributors.

Lastly, I have my own personal site, Prodigal Paul, that acts as a hub for organizing other blogs, Bible studies, sermons, and such that I have produced over the years.

That is all.

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?

It is done: Derek Webb’s “Stockholm Syndrome” album release + new free song


[WARNING: there’s a “bad” word mentioned a few times in this post]

[Also, for those reading this on Facebook, click here to read this on my actual blog, so you can watch the videos, stream the music, and download the audio more easily.]

Well, it’s done.  After all the drama, Derek Webb’s new album “Stockholm Syndrome” is set for release this Tuesday.  Apparently, if you pre-order the album off his website on Tuesday, you will be able to get a free download of the entire album immediately.

But –

this revelation did not come before another song – the song of the album perhaps – was released.  Anyone who has been following this situation knows that Derek has been releasing “stems” (or pieces of the song) for a while.  This is the song with the cursing that started this whole thing.  It is a song that has been titled “What Matters More” and it has to do with the Church’s treatment of homosexuals.  So without further ado, here are all the songs that have been released off of Derek Webb’s newest album “Stockholm Syndrome”.  Enjoy and be sure to download them all on Tuesday.

Thanks again to Shane for the update.  The name above each streaming song is a link to the actual file for you to download.  Right-click or whatever you do to download these things.

“What Matters More?”

“Freddie, Please”


“The Spirit vs. the Kick-Drum”

It sounds like the new song is what inspired (or vice versa) Webb’s recent purchase of the domain, which he plans on using as a fundraising site.  The site’s had no content on it for a while, but just now as I saw that it has a black screen on it, apparently holding the spot for new content coming soon (Tuesday, perhaps?).  We’ll see.

Lastly, I heard from musical artist and friend Joel Rakes (so if it’s not true, blame him – or the people he follows on Twitter) that there was also a documentary done about this whole thing, so keep an eye out for that.  And check out Joel’s stuff while you’re at it.

Here are other sites concerning Webb and the album. Please visit these as well to support the artist and his craft.

For those that don’t even know about Derek Webb and his music, here are a few of my favorite songs by him. Yeah, he’s pretty stinking good. [Once again, if you’re on facebook, these videos may not show up, so click here to watch them]

“Wedding Dress” off of “She Must and Shall Go Free”
Vodpod videos no longer available.

“Medication” off of “I See things Upside Down”
Vodpod videos no longer available.

“My Enemies Are Men Like Me” off of “Mockingbird”
Vodpod videos no longer available.

Derek Webb’s “Stockholm Syndrome” {“Freddie, Please” pt. II}


[TO ANYONE THAT COMES ACROSS THIS POST: there is updated information and another song on a later post.  All the songs found here are also there, in addition to the much anticipated song off the new record “What Matters More?”  Here’s the link for that post.]

It has been brought to my attention that yesterday’s post is already out of date. Apparently, there was a 12-hour window to download the song. I’ve received a couple of requests to make the music file available for download here. After much thought about the ethics of it all, I’m thinking that since Derek Webb did post it up for free, and he didn’t include any statement prohibiting this, I’ll go ahead and post a link to download it. If any representatives of Webb see this and want me to take this down, I’ll be glad to do so. I really want to support Derek in any way.

[UPDATE: Thanks to Shane Bertou for posting these other audio files up. In the article, he also has the so far assembled audio from the currently released “stems” that form Webb’s song that apparently is being referred to as “Stockholm Syndrome” for the time being.]

So on that note, here’s a link to download the new song “Freddie, Please” off of Derek Webb’s upcoming album “Stockholm Syndrome”, along with the other full songs that have been released so far:

“Freddie, Please” by Derek Webb

from Shane’s site:


“The Spirit vs. the Kick-Drum”

Thanks to Angina Pectoris for bringing these other recordings to my attention.

Here are other sites concerning Webb and the album. Please visit these as well to support the artist and his craft.

Grace and peace.

Derek Webb’s new free song about Fred Phelps

Untitled[EDITOR’S NOTE:  there was apparently a 12- hour window in which to download this song.  That window having passed, I have made the song available on another post on this site.  Continue reading if you want the story behind the song. Click here for the article.]

If you don’t care about background, story, or mystery, and just want free music and lyrics, you can skip down to the asterisks.

Okay, for everyone else, there are two things you should know about that would really help you enjoy this post.  The first thing is who Fred Phelps is.  He’s the “pastor” of Westboro Baptist Church. This is the church that protests dead soldiers’ funerals with the signs reading “God hates fags.” Most of us Christians don’t like Fred Phelps at all.

Including Derek Webb.

Which brings me to the second thing you might want to know about. It is Derek Webb‘s recent “Lost-style” mystery/game/scavenger hunt/fake-controversy thing.  Long story-short: email’s went out to fans from Webb saying “my new album’s controversial, my label doesn’t like it, I’ll figure something out.”  These emails had a code in them which led to the discovery of a website, twitter account, and other strange things (type “kickdrum”, then look right under his left eye, go to the site, type “youneverknow”. This is what use to pop up.). The unofficial hub of speculation has become the comments section of this article on Patrol Magazine.

Anyway, through his site and twitter account, Webb puts out “instructions” (i.e. “scavenger hunt clues”) for various cities in the the country.  People find the clue, email the code to him, and he releases a zip file of small 1 or 2 second sound clips.  No one has any clue what these sound clips are for.  Supposedly you’ll be able to put them together, but with how long they’ve been so far, there won’t be enough audio for even one full song, much less an entire album.  This has been going on for a couple of weeks with people finding these parts and no major updates happening.

***Until today.***

About 45 minutes prior to me writing this post, Derek Webb posted on the Twitter account a couple of messages that when decoded read “redownload stem 2”.  When you do that on this site, inside the zip file is the first song released off of Derek’s new album “Stockholm Syndrome”.  [NOTE: The song can now be found here] It’s called “Freddie, Please” and it is all about Fred Phelps.  It’s a really good song and it makes me really excited about the rest of the album.  It’s not the now-infamous “sh*t” song that will be on the album, but it’s one of the other anticipated songs.  Every one of Webb’s albums has been a completely different style and it looks like he’s taking a more ambient/drum machine/lounge-techno/postal service-style approach to this album.

Anyway, the song pretty much justifiably kicks Fred Phelps in the face.  Best I can tell, it’s from the perspective  of Jesus asking Phelps “How could you tell them you love me when you hate me?”  In the song, Jesus affirms his love for those despised in the world and says that when Phelp’s is picketing these funerals he is in essence “picketing my grave for loving the things you hate.”

Good for you, Derek.  So go download stem 2 at and listen to this great song.  [NOTE: the song is no longer there. Instead, go here to download the song] Here are the lyrics:

Freddie, Please

Freddie, please
how could you do this to me?
How could you tell them you love me
when you hate me,
Freddie, please?

You know I’ll love you honey,
and i’ll bleed you dry with money
I’ll talk where I know you can hear.
Cause Freddie can’t you see,
brother, you’re the one who’s queer?

And the stone’s been rolled away
but you’re picketing my grave
for loving the things you hate.

Then why do you seek the living among the dead?