The Unintentional Idolatry of “10,000 Reasons (Bless the Lord)”


flickr-sculpture-worship-kiss

I like to think I listen to really good music–and I do. My most recent listens have been Sufjan’s Carrie & Lowell, Mozart’s Requiem, Miles Davis’ A Kind of Blue, Fugees’ The Score, and Taylor Swift’s 1989. But I also have a secret, closeted (until now) habit of listening to Christian Praise music on my own.

One of my favorite more recent songs is called “10,000 Reasons (Bless the Lord)” by the Australian artist Matt Redman (video below). We sing it at my church, and I listen to it on my own. It’s one of the better contemporary worship songs out there, but there is a grave grammatical error in the song that, for at least me, colors my experience of this song in a distracting way. Here’s the chorus of the song:

Bless the Lord oh my soul, Oh my soul
Worship his holy name
Sing like never before, Oh my soul
I’ll worship your holy name

Do you see it? Yes, there is an odd tense change from present imperative verbs to a future verb in the last line, but that’s not what I’m talking about.

Rather, it’s that the first three lines are speaking to one’s soul about God, and then it says “I’ll worship your holy name”. Who is being spoken to? Throughout the chorus, the singer is speaking to their own soul, telling their soul to worship God, and then it jumps to second person.

I know, I know, the song’s intention is to turn to worshipping God, but grammatically, it is offering this worship to one’s own soul. And I think this matters for several reasons.
Continue reading

Weekly Must-Reads {05.17.11} | politics & writing edition


This week’s weekly must-reads are focused on the pressing political matters of the day: Obama, Osama, the budget “crisis”, etc. I’ve thrown in some fun articles on writing at the end. And for my more “theologically-inclined” friends: don’t worry, I’ll throw you some stuff next week. But in the meantime, check these things out and let me know your thoughts in the comment box below.

Running in the red: How the U.S., on the road to surplus, detoured to massive debt | The Washington Post

As we hit the federal debt-ceiling this week, I wanted to send this article everyone’s way. It is such an enlightening read on how our economic surplus became our deficit–and it’s a reasoned, insightful, factual, calm, and immensely helpful article. (SPOILER ALERT: it was BOTH Bush and Obama’s faults, but mostly Bush’s).

News Desk: Don’t Release the Photos | The New Yorker

This article convinced me that Obama’s decision to not release the photos of dead bin Laden was the right call.

Jon Stewart wants release of bin Laden photos | Salon.com

This video changed my mind back to its opinion that Obama should release the photos of dead bin Laden.

Continue reading