derek webb’s stockholm syndrome: cobra con

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Sunday, July 26th, 2009

derek webb’s stockholm syndrome: cobra con

this is the second post in an ongoing blog series in which i go, track-by-track, through derek webb’s new album, stockholm syndrome. here’s a list of past posts:

1. black eye

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after positing his theological presupposition for the entire album (that the church has become a willing and endeared participant in its captivity), webb begins to lay out a defense of his claim. on cobra con, webb sings,

You wanna rock with the cops on the front line
You wanna kick it with the people in the back
You strike a match and you throw back a cocktail
There’s got to be a better way

cause it is harder to stay
it is harder to wait
to outlove, to outsuffer them

it is harder to stay
it is harder to wait
to outlove, to outsuffer them

i wanna dream up a world I wanna live in
i wanna spray it on a building downtown
i wanna protest for patients and a paycheck
cause there’s got to be a better way

cause it is harder to stay
it is harder to wait
to outlove, to outsuffer them

it is harder to stay
it is harder to wait
to outlove, to outsuffer them

don’t wanna wait
no drugs nor sleep
i wanna hold your hand grenade

god bless these bombs
baptize this rope
lie with us in the bed we’ve made

cause it is harder to stay
it is harder to wait
to outlove, to outsuffer them

it is harder to stay
it is harder to wait
to outlove, to outsuffer them

you can listen here: cobra con

on cobra con, webb picks up on the theme of nationalism. as i’ve blogged about before, when the bible gets wrapped in the american flag, very dangerous theologies arise.

webb is no stranger to vocal pronouncements concerning the marriage of faith and politics. in the week prior to the 2008 presidential, he wrote a piece for patrol magazine that set off quite a debate. the piece was titled how then shall we vote? and it asserted that if your conscience is conflicted over your vote, then you certainly have the liberty to not vote. whereas i would argue that christians should engage in the voting process in order to represent particular worldviews, i definitely agree with the fundamental assertion that we shouldn’t feel compelled to let nationalism override our conflicted conscience (if we happen to have that).

so, in cobra con, webb challenges—among other things—the concept, in essence, of “god and country.” because the church has become a willing participant with the captor of christian nationalism, we’ve asked god to “bless these bombs / baptize this rope.” ultimately, what we’ve done is created a mess that we now ask god to “lie with us in the bed we’ve made.”
what many american christians forget is that one of the primary thrusts of jesus’ life was subversion of the roman empire. it wasn’t faithful nationalism, but creating a world that lived in but not of the systems that were oppressive and unjust. don’t get me wrong, i’m not saying that the united states isn’t a great country who does some great things, but i am asserting that we’ve done some atrocious and shameful things that don’t align with jesus. you can look no further than our military and economic systems to see those very things.
so, i think webb, with cobra con, has conveyed the essential that life with jesus isn’t one that’s married to blind nationalism. certainly, this is a timely and needed message.

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next on the docket: the spirit vs. the kickdrum.

3 Comments

  1. Tad says:

    That line: "I wanna hold your hand… Granada" – the lyrics and melody sounds like a beatles spinoff. Which would be genious. You agree?

  2. Tad says:

    *grenade*. Ah again the autotype correction strikes me

  3. Morgon77 says:

    Retreading the ground of Boyd's "The Myth of a Christian Nation" as well as PtL's wonderful "Redneck nation".

    As well that the US Church would think of itself as representational of, or central to, Christianity in the world.

    Jesus For President asks this well, in ways which has both offended and challenged people around me…who is Jesus, if you will not separate yourself from the parts of the surrounding culture that you identify with, but which actually let you live at odds with Christ's message of another Kingdom?

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