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Thursday, July 24th, 2008



for me, music is the most powerful medium for shaping me emotionally, intellectually and theologically. music has been powerful in shaping the way i see the world and how i form theologies. at various points in my life, music has caused me to radically rethink certain theologies and begin the process of completely ditching others.

i set forth to create a list of songs that have been particularly theologically significant for me over the years and i discovered something: i am obsessed with derek webb. i listed somewhere in the vicinity of 25 songs and i more than 10 were derek webb songs. the truth is that derek webb has truly been phenomenally significant in my emerging theologies over the last 5 or 6 years. so, i thought it was only appropriate to simply make a list of derek webb songs. at the end, i decided to make a quick list of other theologically significant songs. here goes…

10. i repent (i see things upside down)
most impacting lyrics: i repent judging by a law that even i can’t keep/of wearing righteousness like a disguise/to see through the planks in my own eyes

9. this world (the house show)
most impacting lyrics: And the least of these look like criminals to me/So I leave Christ on the street

8. i for an i ( the ringing bell)
most impacting lyrics: I’ve got a killer instinct bringing out all of my best/I’ve got a poison conscience telling me to go with that/this may not work and I don’t guarantee that it will/but I’ve got no choice unless you tell me who Jesus would kill

7. this too shall be made right (the ringing bell)
most impacting lyrics: I don’t know the suffering of people outside my front door/I join the oppressors of those who i choose to ignore/I’m trading comfort for human life/and that’s not just murder it’s suicide/this too shall be made right

6. name (the ringing bell)
most impacting lyrics: there’s no categories just long stories waiting to be heard/(if there’s love in your heart)/don’t be satisfied when someone sums you up with just one word/(if there’s love in your heart)

5. nobody loves me (she must and shall go free)
most impacting lyrics: Well I can always tell a liar and I always know a thief/Well I know I’m like my family because brother I’m the chief/Well I’m a dangerous crusader ‘cause I need to tell the truth/So I’m turnin’ over tables in my own living room

4. a king & a kingdom (mockingbird)
most impacting lyrics: there are two great lies that i’ve heard:/“the day you eat of the fruit of that tree, you will not surely die”/and that Jesus Christ was a white, middle-class republican/and if you wanna be saved you have to learn to be like Him

3. wedding dress (she must and shall go free)
most impacting lyrics: So could you love this bastard child/Though I don’t trust you to provide/With one hand in a pot of gold/and with the other in your side

2. my enemies are men like me (mockingbird)
most impacting lyrics: peace by way of war is like purity by way of fornication/it’s like telling someone murder is wrong/and then showing them by way of execution

1. faith my eyes (40 acres)
most impacting lyrics: But if I must go/Things I trust will be better off without me/But I don’t want to know/Life is better off a mystery


7. leave me alone by don chaffer (what you don’t know)
most impacting lyrics: Leave me alone/I just need a moment/To myself to quiet down to quiet down and grieve/And be alive/And miss her being so nearby she’s gone

6. doubting thomas by nickel creek (why should the fire die?)
most impacting lyrics: Sometimes I pray for a slap in the face/Then I beg to be spared ’cause I’m a coward/If there’s a master of death I’ll bet he’s holding his breath/As I show the blind and tell the deaf about his power

5. loving a person by sara groves (add to the beauty)
most impacting lyrics: There’s a lot of pain in reaching out and trying/It’s a vulnerable place to be/Love and pride can’t occupy the same spaces baby/Only one makes you free

4. why i don’t believe in god by everclear (so much for the afterglow)
most impacting lyrics: I know the truth about you/I know the truth/Mama they woke me up/I was just eight years old/Sometimes it gets so hard I feel like letting it go/Letting it all go

3. roll to the middle by sara groves (the other side of something)
most impacting lyrics: No matter how my pride resists/No matter how this wall feels true/No matter how I can’t be sure/That you’re gonna roll in too/No matter what, no matter what/I’m going to reach for you

2. fix you by coldplay (x&y)
most impacting lyrics: And the tears come streaming down your face/When you lose something you can’t replace/When you love someone, but it goes to waste

1. what if i stumble by dc talk (jesus freak)
most impacting lyrics: Father please forgive me for I can not compose/The fear that lives within me/Or the rate at which it grows/If struggle has a purpose/On the narrow road you’ve carved/Why do I dread my trespasses will leave a deadly scar


  1. rob says:

    i am not steeped in derek webb like you… most of my exposure to him has been solely through caedmon’s call, which also takes up a small, compartmentalized portion of my life timeline, before subjecting the band to be yet another personal chronological historic flag to use as a map for my memory, a.k.a., “what i was listening to when i was this, or that or here, or there”. that said, “standing up for nothing” left an indelible mark on me when i was around 19 i guess. regardless of how one would interpret this song, to me, as a person that spent his entire adolescent life in the same small town (not knocking smalltown life), having only been exposed to one particular “brand” of religion (not knocking the church of my upbringing here, merely painting a picture with a hammer), this was honestly the first “nonsecular” song (was not/am not a huge ccm listener) where i had ever heard the artist express a sense of introspection and responsibility for things that he was unhappy about. i know there is more to the song, but that is what i took from it the first time i heard it, and it was a huge relief for me to know that someone else claiming to believe in or adhere to a christian faith wasn’t just singing about being happy all the time and praising god throughout the entire day, which was something i was no longer in a place to relate to at that point in my life. again, this was my experience at the time, and i’d like to think i’ve grown a little in some way, shape or fashion since then, but anywhoo, good derek webb song to me.

  2. ryanByrd says:

    yeah, derek webb made a good move by parting ways with caedmons (although he did record with them on their latest album, overdressed). (that isn’t to say that i’m not a fan of caedmon’s call…it’s just to say that it was a good move for him.) theologically, he’s in a very different place, which is part of what makes him appealing. honestly, i think he would probably somewhat cringe at the thought of being seen as a part of the ccm machine. a lot of what his theology is about is stepping outside of that bubble.

    so, go catch up on your derek webb. go now. go swiftly. go boldly.

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