A Romantic Affair? Jesus and His Disciples
One of the blights upon the hymnological landscape today is the
continued presence of what we can fairly call the “love song to Jesus”
genre. It’s been around as long as there has been Christian pop
music–and even earlier, depending on what you make of sentimental
gospel songs in the nineteenth century, eighteenth-century revivalist
hymns, and especially a lot of the mystical poetry-cum-lyrics of
certain medieval saints.
Today our congregation was asked to sing, “Jesus, I’m in love with
you”–a line that shows up, in one permutation or another, in several
songs that occur frequently in our worship leaders’ rotation.
Well, I didn’t sing it. It’s wrong, and I try not to sing wrong lyrics.
First, I’m not in love with
Jesus. The locution “in love with” is one I reserve for one person
only: my wife. I love my sons, I love my siblings and parents, I love
my friends, I love my country, I love my brothers and sisters in
Christ, and I love God. But I’m not “in love” with any of them. And I
daresay most of the rest of us use this phrase in exactly the same,
Second, it gives me the homoerotic creeps to declare that I am “in
love with” another man. And I don’t apologize for saying so. A gender
lens is interesting here, for a lot of men feel as I do (many have told
me so), while many (not all) women seem to love telling Jesus
that they are in love with him. I saw them, swaying with closed eyes
and waving hands in the air this morning, singing exactly that. Maybe,
indeed, they are in love with Jesus. But they shouldn’t be.