Summary: Uses the Black Eyed Peas’ song Where’s the Love as an outline for looking at the Christian concept of love (points out a few errors in the Black Eyed Peas thinking from a Christian perspective).
There’s a song currently towards the top end of the music chart which I have listened to over the past month or so, on the radio as I drive back and forwards to Manchester each week and it causes me to think. You see initially the song appears to be quite Christian in its outlook and message if not in all the details. Indeed when I suggested using the song as a basis for a sermon with some of my Christian friends, they immediately picked up on the idea that it was quite a Christian song. To save my self having to keep repeating “the song” in this way I’ll tell you what it is. The Song is “Where is the Love?” by the Black Eyed Peas. However, I don’t actually think that it is a Christian song. And this has nothing to do with my dislike of rap music actually the tune is quite catchy. But anyway back to the lyrics. When you get down to it the ideas in the song are not really Christian, oh they quote some Scripture and even refer to God a few times, but they quote out of context and presuppose their own answers. However, if we ignore what the Black Eyed Peas want the song to mean and replace their rhetorical questions with real questions then we can actually learn something. But enough talking in generalities. I’m guessing most of you will have heard the song at least once, but for those of you that haven’t and for those of you that haven’t really thought about it much, I’m going to play it for you. Listen out for the intended message of the song and see if you can find the Christian questions hiding behind the unchristian assumptions. If you listened to the Bible readings they might give you a clue what your looking for.
The Negative – against pacifism
First the negative. The song seems to be putting forward the idea that pacifism is the correct way to act. It certainly seems to be anti-war, both in general and specifically against the 2nd Gulf War. It also portrays an attitude that sees the USA as no better than the terrorists who planned and carried out the September the 11th attacks. If you want to find out why I think pacifism is not Biblical, is hopelessly naive and what I think the Bible says about war, then come to the Bible Study on Wednesday.
The Positive – the problem
The song starts with the line “what’s wrong with the world, mama?” It begins where we all begin, there is something wrong with the world. The song suggests various ways that the world is not the way it is supposed to be, terrorism, racial discrimination, hate, war. In many ways this section is perhaps unnecessary, the fact that there is something wrong the world should not come as a great revelation to anyone. All those things the song listed are true and are things wrong with the world. But we already knew that. We look at the way our government is run and we say this shouldn’t be the way things are. We look at the way international relations work, we look at the way some other countries work and they’re even worse than ours, at least we get a vote and if we don’t like the government we can get rid of it.
And yet it doesn’t stop there with the big things. If we forget all about the big picture and just concentrate on our experiences day by day. We look about the town we are in and what do we see, we see the big problems with drugs. Where in whole communities it is normal for kids to use drugs and abnormal not to. We see vandalised property. When I first had my my little Panda (the car not the animal) and I moved to Pen-y-cae, some people tried to break into it and smashed up some stuff when they couldn’t, it was really rather pathetic when you think about it that they couldn’t even break into a Panda, my ex-youth club from Longsight would have been most ashamed of them, firstly for going after a Panda and then for not succeeding. They just taken out one of the bus routes through Pen-y-cae because the buses were being attacked too much. We don’t need to go to far to see there is something wrong.
But we can go even further than that. You see that streak of selfishness, of self gratification that runs through governments, countries, leaders, through youths that cause them to use drugs and steal to feed their habit, to destroy other’s property, is not restricted to others, to those who cause all the problems. That same selfish streak runs deep within us as well. You might never have done any of the “really bad” things, but the same root cause is right there, selfishness and it finds many outs in our day to day life.