What are we singing? (Part One):Like falling in love??

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Seeing as how Valentine’s Day was yesterday and love is possibly still in the air, it seemed timely to post an edited older blog entry. This will be a part of several posts including my thoughts on words people in Christian communities sing.

So I am listening to Christian radio (which I almost never do-that is another post-worthy subject) and a song came on that said one’s faith needs to be more like falling in love. Now, as a disclaimer, I think the overall message of the song is a good one. It is comparing a faith that is merely a list of rules to one that moves, breathes, and “sweeps you off your feet”. I recommend at least listening to it (Jason Gray, “More Like Falling in Love”). Here are some of the lyrics:

Give me rules I will break them
Give me lines I will cross them
I need more than a truth to believe
I need a truth that lives, moves, and breathes
To sweep me off my feet It ought to be
More like falling in love
Than something to believe in
More like losing my heart
Than giving my allegiance
Caught up, called out
Come take a look at me now
It’s like I’m falling, oh
It’s like I’m falling in love

It’s like I’m falling in love, love, love
Deeper and deeper It was love that made me a believer
In more than a name, a faith, a creed
Falling in love with Jesus brought the change in me

So, again I think there is much that is good in the song. But I feel weird saying that following Jesus is like falling in love. I’m not saying that this is a bad thing to say for everyone. But I feel odd saying this. And here’s 2 reasons why:

I feel weird singing “Jesusy” love songs. Perhaps it’s the “bro-mantic” in me that wants to say “man” after ‘I love you” and give hard, back-slapping hugs to Jesus. Right or wrong, this is where I am coming from.

The second is that I feel like this song presents a sort of false dichotomy. Is “falling in love” (not a favorite phrase, by the way) really that different from pledging your allegiance? For example, if you fall in love with someone, eventually, you end up marrying them (usually). In a wedding, one officially pledges their love to the other person. Then the honeymoon phase is over and there are some days where you don’t always feel “lovey”. Does that mean you are less committed? Is your pledge somehow void because of feelings, or lack thereof? Other days, you feel more “romantic”. Does this mean you love more or less? Is that love any more real in these moments than it is others?

Or what happens when you don’t feel the same way about Jesus today as you did yesterday? Is your faith somehow less? Or what if you never really have that “a-ha” moment when you decide to start following Jesus? You just think, Hmmm..this is for me. And you start to follow. And your love for him grows because you committed to follow. Perhaps, for Mr. Gray, he needed to have the romance-side of his faith. But what about those days when he doesn’t feel it?

Anyway, these are just some random thoughts. I would love other people’s feedback. What do you think? Is following Jesus like falling in love? Or is it something bigger than that?

5 thoughts on “What are we singing? (Part One):Like falling in love??

  1. Well…I’ll start this discussion (start because you ask so many questions I don’t even know where to begin (they are good questions) (what? parentheses within parentheses..it’s like Inception))) with the idea of there being much Biblical imagery used to support the idea of a “falling in love” type of relationship.

    I’ll turn this back on you. You start by saying how you feel odd saying that following Jesus is like falling in love. Is this because there is something flawed in the imagery and the words we use to describe it, or something else entirely?

    • I suppose the discomfort is found in the connotations of our modern understanding of “falling in love”. There does seem to be a lot of imagery of living in the joy of loving, covenant relationship with God. Some have even stated that the Song of Solomon is an allegorical work that depicts the intense, loving relationship between God and his people (though there are some things that the man does to his lover that I don’t think God should ever do to his church!). My fear with the concept of falling in love is that we also fall out of love just as quickly, which somehow seems to remove our personal control in the matter. Love (a limited version of it that is restricted to romance-CS Lewis would call it “Eros” I think) becomes an external force that is somehow not linked to our volition. And it is not enhanced by or connected to our commitment, unless perhaps merely a precondition for a commitment.
      I don’t mean to be cold. I am “in love” with my girlfriend. I am also committed to her. But there is a certain way in which creeds and beliefs are vital to this love. Being in love also means respecting the rules (i.e. I am faithful to only her and don’t date around, I honor her with my time, etc.) But I also come to love her more, the more I fulfill my word to her.

      Those are my first thoughts.

  2. Great response! So maybe a take away here (at least one for me) is that I need to let Biblical Imagery define what love looks like here vs letting this common falling in and out of love define true Biblical love.

  3. Hey, “John the Baptist”! (Clearly your head isn’t up in the clouds, though…)

    If I may say this, I feel as if you’re reading too into the song. Sure, we could pick apart every song lyrically, and it will break down just like the analogies and similes that fill the lines. But, as you were saying in the end, perhaps “falling in love” is indeed how Mister Gray views Jesus because he is a romantic. Some people are more romantic than others. Everyone has a different definition of “falling in love,” what it means to love others, and what a love relationship with Jesus looks like because He installed different perspectives and personalities within each of us. Sure the foundations of each should be the same, but the manifestations are different.

    I understand your concern with the connotations that come with “falling in love” such as feelings and emotions, and I agree that there should be concerns about flighty, transient feelings. (I am also not expressing that I have “fallen in love” with his lyrics because I find deeper, more creative lyrics attractive.) But is he really saying that in this song? When Jason (yes, we are apparently on a first-name basis) fell in love with Jesus, it seems he let down his walls and let Him in, without blindly adhering to traditions and rules that might have been imposed upon him by past religious organizations. And I think that is his message. I only see the portion of lyrics you posted up there, but I don’t see anything that blatantly says “FEEL like I’m falling in love.” I believe he’s just speaking to the vulnerability that is necessary for true relationship with Jesus (and with others). The permanency and commitment of that relationship is up to Jason, and perhaps we’ll get a taste of that in the next song he releases. Perhaps “More Like Falling in Love” has a sequel that is also profoundly named, “More Like Falling in Love…FOREVER.”

    • Thanks for the post, Lauren!
      I agree that I may have the tendency here to be splitting hairs, as I am often overly-analytical! 🙂 My fear is that we can just as blindly adhere to traditions as we do to feelings, and we can seek after them both. Perhaps this was just what it looked like for Jason to enter into true faith. It just seemed that, by use of his comparisons that he values feelings over truth, ethereal things like “falling deeper” in love (what does that mean?) vs. beliefs/creeds/truth (which do all point to God).

      So, the point for me is this: it causes me to rethink how I relate to God. Many days I don’t feel like I am falling deeper in love with God. But I still pray. I still depend on him. And I believe that this brings change in me, perhaps even more than “falling deeper in love”. I am fully aware that this could be my personality!

      PS. I agree about the lyrics, too! Perhaps we could write a sequel for him!

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