I heard a song today. It gave me hope — Which is something that seems to be increasingly rare these days… ESPECIALLY songs that have anything to do with Jesus or the Church or Christianity. But it happened, and I’m happy to share that with the misfits who, for whatever reason, read this the stuff I write.
This post is about that song. It was written by a dude named Daniel Deitrich, and it is called “Hymn For The 81%.” There are two things I’d like to happen with this post… The first is I really want you to listen to the song. Please — PLEASE spend five minutes of your day listening to it. Here it is:
Here are the lyrics.
I grew up in your churches
Sunday morning, evening service
Knelt in tears at the foot of the rugged cross
You taught me every life is sacred
feed the hungry, clothe the naked
I learned from you the highest law is Love
I believed you when you said
that I should trust the words in red
To guide my steps through a wicked world
I assumed you’d do the same
so imagine my dismay
When I watched you lead the sheep to the wolves
You said to love the lost
So I’m loving you now
You said to speak the truth
So I’m calling you out
Why don’t you live the words
That you put in my mouth
May love overcome and justice roll down
They started putting kids in cages
Ripping mothers from their babies
And I looked to you to speak on their behalf
But all I heard was silence
Or worse you justify it
Singing glory hallelujah raise the flag
Your fear had turned to hatred
But you baptized it with language
torn from the pages of the good book
You weaponized religion
And you wonder why I’m leaving
To find Jesus on the wrong side of your walls
And then near the end, he sings, “Come home. Come home. You’re better than this. You taught me better than this.” He PLEADS with the 81%, “COME HOME.”
I have written many times before (HERE, HERE, and HERE to name a few) about watching white evangelicals abandon Jesus in the pursuit of political power, and about the dismay of seeing so many who would call themselves “christians” support a man who is easily and objectively as polar opposite to the Spirit of Christ as anyone on the planet. I’m convinced that the church’s support of and silence on the immorality and abject evil that Donald Trump champions has done more to injure the reputation of Christianity than anything in my lifetime.
So I titled this post “How To Tell If Your Church Is Trash.” And even though there is obviously more than one way to figure out that your church is trash, but here’s the litmus test I am providing you today: If you attend a church that would not play this song during the service, your church is trash. That’s one sure way to know you are attending the wrong church. And on the off chance you are one of my readers who still attends church on a somewhat regular basis, this is good information to have. But even if you are one of my many readers who doesn’t go to church or even count yourself as particularly spiritual, I’m betting you still appreciate this song. Or if you are one of the many people who grew up in the Church, but who have transitioned into a time of your life where going to church feels like something that does a better job at distancing you from the divine than drawing you near, chances are you will enjoy that song as well.
I am one of the ones who left. There are many reasons why people leave. Many of us didn’t leave the churches of our youth because we don’t believe in Jesus anymore… We left because we took the words we said and the promises we made SERIOUSLY. We cared too much about Jesus to stay in a Church that worships white nationalism, political power, and a narcissistic charlatan rather than following the one who commanded us take care of the immigrant & stranger, feed the hungry, and take care of the sick. Many of us still love the one who told his followers to love our enemies, rather than taking guns to a worship service, ready to kill them. A lot of people have figured out that the American church is way more about white supremacy and patriarchy than it is about following Jesus… And so we left.
Which brings us to the second thing I’d love to see happen: I’d love to see worship leaders all over this fractured country take a principled stand against the alignment of the church with this country’s immoral, lying president, and I’d like them to play this song during the offering on a Sunday Service. I’d love to see musicians all over America symbolically overturn the tables of their temples with this song. I’d love to see men and women sing this song in front of congregations who have lost their way, and who need a prophetic voice asking them to COME HOME. I’d love to see people risk losing their jobs to “love the lost” and “speak the truth” to churches who desperately need to be called out.
There is power in music. There is a strength in Truth being SUNG that sometimes doesn’t come through as clearly as when the Truth is simply spoken. So if you know someone who leads worship in a church that has lost its way… A church that regularly confuses the cross with the flag… A church that has forgotten whether they are following Jesus, or the guy who bragged about “grabbing them by the pussy,” SEND THEM THIS POST. Have them listen to this song. Ask them to consider singing it for the congregations they serve.
And if you are one of the millions of people who attend one of these churches that actively support the corrupt, immoral man sitting in the White House… Or if you are part of a congregation who stays silent when the leadership in our country aligns themselves with white nationalists, separates kids from their parents when families flee to our country, and locks kids in cages while fighting against needing to provide them with toothpaste… If you are part of a congregation who would never even consider playing the amazing song Daniel Deitrich has created… I’ve got some difficult news for you, but you’ve probably already been suspecting it: Your church is trash. It’s time to find Jesus on the other side of those walls…
Thank you so much for reading. Also thank you for the amazing support I received after the last post I wrote. It really means a lot to me. Thank you to my new Patrons, Kirk and Kim! If you value this blog, and you’d like to become a Patron, you can DO THAT HERE. If you appreciate this post, you’re feeling generous, and you’d like to leave a tip of PayPal, you can DO THAT RIGHT HERE. Otherwise, you can keep up with me on FACEBOOK as well as on TWITTER. There’s some fun stuff there… Anyway, keep working, stay hopeful, and thank you again for the support!
I hear you! I have not given up on church because I believe the church is Jesus’ plan. I agree that the evangelical church has sold their soul for political power and we need to speak out more against the hypocrisy of calling Trump a Christian and embracing him. I have chosen to stay and speak out within the church rather than leave it. But I understand why many have left.
I’m so sad. And so angry. I fear the North American Church has not been synonymous with the Body Of Christ for a long time now.
I go to a church on a regular basis. It is full of both enlightened and misguided people. Most of us are a mix but there is a real problem with how so many people are so afraid (of what?!?!?) and doing/saying things that are seemingly not in their character, and definitely not in Jesus’ character.
Idk what to do but talk to each other. Sing to each other. Keep it up.
I also see churches filled with people who don’t worry about politics as much and are actively doing a ton of amazing things to help individuals in need.
So generalizations and what we read is not the only reality.
For sure… There are definitely churches that are “not political” that are doing good things in the community. But sometimes those “not political” churches are afraid to take a stand against clear immorality, corruption, and abject evil, all because it might come across as being “political.“ That is really messed up in my opinion.
Following Jesus is necessarily political.
You are so right. I have been arguing for years about churches who seem to love the CROSS and JESUS’ DEATH more than the teachings of the Teacher. I left and returned,, not the hypocrites!! Many of Jesus’ followers are trying to live the Teachings of Jesus and live by God’s principles. Many do “go political” in local events. I do not understand hypocrites who worship Donald Trump. He is so the opposite of Jesus, that it is bewildering. I am going to take the song to my church choir director.
Amen. I’m quoting the song in my sermon tomorrow.
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