Music seems to be present at every major moment in our lives. At weddings, funerals, birthdays, holidays and almost every other celebratory, sobering or landmark event…music is there. Most cultures have given song a key place in these events for thousands of years. I think this is because music gives us language for engaging and experiencing our worlds. Music can help us to better enjoy the things we enjoy and can help to make difficult issues slightly less difficult.
A songwriter is like a granter of permissions. Permission to remember, permission to forget, permission to love, permission to hate, permission to dance, permission to shop, permission to dream, permission to cry, permission to shout, permission to say what you’ve been waiting all week to say. You could have said it at work, but some how it seems more appropriate on a sweaty Friday night with 200 of your fellow corporate refugees.
This is why “song” is so important to me. I think people need permission to be honest with God and themselves. I think people need to be free to question things. God isn’t afraid of questions. Questions only offend the insecurities of people. When I was a teenager I told my dad, a charismatic pastor, that I wasn’t sure if I really believed in God. I thought he was going to be severely disappointed, but he said it was actually very healthy to be honest with God. Seriously, it’s not like God didn’t already know. In fact, it’s the ability for me to honestly question what I believe that gives me the ability to honestly believe. So many people don’t really know what to believe because they’ve been under such religious pressure that they’ve never have had an opportunity. Love is only love if you choose it. It can’t be handed down like homework.
What I want to accomplish as a songwriter is to give people permission to have conversations. I want to help people have conversations with themselves and conversations with God. After all, worship, prayer, praise, and all these religious words mean little more than to have conversations with God. I just don’t think God has some kind of complex where he needs us to sit around and tell him how good he is all day. I’m pretty sure God doesn’t have confidence issues.
Music isn’t holy. People are holy. So if “Brown Eyed Girl” helps a human being have a conversation with God, then “Brown Eyed Girl” is a worship song.