My purpose for this is to give a different perspective on Macklemore's "Same Love" song. A typical Evangelical Christian, and I use that term loosely since it's so broad especially here in America, would probably just lay down the law on the LGBT (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender) community while failing to really understand their outlook. I don't want to communicate that sort of message at all. I want this response to be one not only of truth, but of grace and compassion. I want to talk "to" them and not "at" them.
Throughout much of my response, a conversation is taking place between a Christian and a homosexual, and unfortunately Macklemore didn't offer a two sided perspective in the original. He stereotyped Christianity according to his experience with it and deemed our 3,500 year old Book obsolete. And though I understand where he's coming from, I think that might be the general consensus of people who sympathize with the LGBT community but who don't truly understand biblical Christianity. We're not intolerant closed minded bigots at all, we just have a standard that we strive to live by. In our relativistic culture we want to be so free spirited and defy every authoritative principle that comes our way but I'm saying that authority isn't bad. It's actually put in place, by God Himself, for our good.
“SAME LOVE RESPONSE” LYRIC BREAKDOWN
And I can't change
Even if I tried
Even if I wanted to
And I can't change
Even if I tried
Even if I wanted to
She keeps me warm
She keeps me warm
She keeps me warm
She keeps me warm
"When I was in the first grade, I couldn't define gay//
Uncanny when my cousin climbed right on top of me and he lay//
'Let's play house,' seduce me with a smile//
Invisible facets stamped on my heart as a child (heh crazy)//"
The year was 1992 and the event is something that I will never forget. I tend to use a lot of creative portrayals in my lyrics (“Worth Beyond The Stars” for example), so it’s hard at times for the listener to tell if what is being said is actually true or not. I can attest that the first four bars in this song are trustworthy and actually did occur to me. I won’t go into full detail, but the fourth bar “Invisible facets stamped on my heart as a child” verifies what David was saying in Psalm 37:31 and Psalm 40:8. God’s law lies within the hearts of men, so as I was experiencing this unpleasant event and not fully knowing what was even going on, my six year old mind was somehow able to comprehend that “This isn’t right. Two boys don’t play house together, only a boy and a girl can do that.” No one had to teach me this.
"Hard to admit, consider//
Proximate brush in my school hall at Little River (uh)//
Favored a kid in class ‘cause he was cool//
Though he behaved different, acted more feminine than the dudes//
Came out later on, times like Jay new rules//
Anyone unwilling to consent labeled a buffoon//"
Fast forwarding two years later, there was a little boy in my third grade class at Little River Elementary that everybody constantly picked on because he carried himself in a feminine manner. I can’t even begin to count how many times he was made fun of or called gay by the other children. But I never had an issue with him because he was genuinely a nice kid. He lived momentarily in my apartment complex so I would often play outside at the playground with him and his younger brother. He moved back to New York shortly after, and since these were the days long before social media, we lost touch. Step into a time machine with me and arrive at my high school years. Who do I see walking into my TV Production 2 classroom? It was him! He wasn’t in my class but the period was ending and I was exiting the room as he was entering.
I never thought that I would see him again. He had hit a growth spurt (or two for that matter lol) but I recognized his face as soon as I saw him. I didn’t seize the opportunity to speak to him right then and there because I’m notorious for approaching people that I remember from way back when but they not have a single clue who I am. So to save myself any embarrassment, I didn’t say anything. A day or two later, he surprisingly asked me “Hey, didn’t you used to go to Little River?” and I said yes but that was all he asked. The next time I came into class, my TV Production teacher Mr. O asked me “Hey Terrell, do you remember so and so?” I said “Yeah,” and then he said something that still touches me to this day. He said “He told me how he remembered you from elementary school and he just wanted to say thank you for being so nice to him during that time in his life.” I have no idea why he never told me himself. I never saw him again after high school, but he appeared to be more open about his sexuality as he got older while the culture simultaneously became more tolerant of homosexuals and less tolerant of the ones that held a different position.
"Don't cast stones, no scales from Heaven//
Can disagree with a lifestyle, still exercise affection//
Truth and grace? Aw nah here we go//
Take your decrepit Book and your centuries of battle woes//
Born this way? We were all born inert//
Stereotype zeal in God's name, new Jim Crow//"
The “Don't cast stones, no scales from Heaven” bar is the first part of the Christian’s dialogue. A majority of the song is basically a conversation between a Christian and a homosexual with each of them trying to articulate their sentiments. The Christian is aiming to approach the homosexual in humility. But since the homosexual is so used to being approached by believers in a negative manner, he immediately fires back with “Truth and grace? Aw nah here we go,” and points out the archaic Book called The Bible and wars caused by religious agendas throughout the ages like Macklemore did in the original. The Christian goes on to express how we were all born dead in sin but the homosexual debunks this claim as stereotypical zeal that is common among avid church goers and says that the Christian’s view is subjecting him to a neo Jim Crow law. The name Jim Crow is often used to describe the segregation laws, rules, and customs which arose after Reconstruction ended in 1877 and continued until the mid-1960s .
'We can't begin at the issue; we must start with the needs//
And that is when true progress can proceed//"
The final bars in verse one were put into perspective for me by counselor Geremy Keeton, a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist, via his Q&A on www.boundless.org
(I endorse this website. It is remarkable and provides some awesome resources.). Mr. Keeton says that, “Jesus, in one of the best illustrations of grace and truth in John 4 with the woman at the well, started with what they had in common. Rather than starting with the issue itself, He talked about her needs. She was at the well in need of water and Jesus presented Himself to her as such because he was the living water. They want relationship, they want to be recognized for who they are, and they have common human needs that we can discuss. That woman left that interaction and had some things to say about Christ. She left more curious and impacted by Christ than she did talked down to.”
"If I was gay, would you hate me?//
Add compassion to your fundamental decrees//
Do you see a human being when you behold me?//
Instead you use your Christianese to judge and to scold me?//
You don't heed, I'm cut short//
See a sissy or what the Brits call a lit Newport//"
We as Christians have the tendency to sometimes veer too far to the side of truth or too far to the side of love and in doing so we lack balance. In our well meaning attempt to be Christlike, we fail to do what Christ actually did and that is to present truth and love without compromise. “You don’t heed, I’m cut short” is a reminder of how we can be quick to expound on our worldview and beliefs at the expense of failing to sympathize with others not like us. The Newport bar refers to the word “fag” or what the English would call a cigarette. The meaning of that word has evolved into something totally different over the years here in America.
"I don't knock desire for just treatment//
But calling us bigots while true love isn't blind agreement//
We follow the command of a loving Captain//
But hard when the helm's engrossed by the likes, Westboro Baptist//
War's not the answer, not theocracy//
Limiting precedents will not alter this philosophy//
Protests, piety, not impressed//
Gain ground on something that was long suppressed//
Being gay's the new black? I don't see the relation//
Same sex appeal, simply self identification//
Prejudice if you’re banned to marry your first cousin?//
Ad hominems and straw men, opposing discussion//
DOMA ruling was important, but defies created order//
‘Cause I worship One unparalleled, I can't support it//"
The last portion of the second verse is strictly from the Christian landscape. Though we might oppose same sex union, we do not condemn a person’s right to be treated impartially. The Declaration of Independence states, “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.” All men and women are created by God and whether or not you see eye to eye on every issue, we who are awakened to this precious reality should go out of our way to ensure that everybody is treated equally and with respect. But acknowledging someone for who they truly are and loving them regardless doesn’t mean that you blindly agree with their every deed. Do I care for the employees at an abortion clinic? Yes, but my love for these men and women will not transcend me searing my conscience and agreeing to the heinous acts that take the lives of millions of innocent babies each year.
I don’t know how familiar or unfamiliar you are with Westboro Baptist Church in Topeka, Kansas but if there were ever any lines that a church could cross; they’ve crossed every one of them and more. Christianity already has a stigma surrounding it, so whenever the media decides to cover this church out of the multitude of churches across the entire country, it doesn’t help. When people think of Christianity, they get a glimpse of a small notorious Baptist church located in the Midwest that constantly pickets with their infamous “God hates fags” signs. I can be the one to say that biblical Christianity does not look like this, but that’s hard to discern when this church is regularly on the forefront and seemingly doing the “will” of the Lord.
Theocracy, or implementing a government where God Himself is identified as the head of the state, or putting restraints on homosexuality and prohibiting same sex marriage isn’t the answer that we need. Protesting and pious exploits is not our hope either. These elements might bring forth satisfying behavior modification but they will not and cannot change the heart. “Being gay’s the new black? I don’t see the relation” is exemplified in Pastor Voddie Baucham’s article "Gay Is Not the New Black" (thegospelcoalition.org/blogs/tgc/2012/07/19/gay-is-not-the-new-black
). This article helped me a great deal when writing this song. Ad hominems and straw men are what as known as “fallacious arguments.”
An ad hominem is attacking the person instead of attacking his argument and a straw man is attacking an exaggerated or caricatured version of your opponent's position . Often Christians are personally attacked or made fun of for their beliefs and that is why this is a misconception. Is your issue with me or with The Bible? Let’s stick to the issue and discuss that without taking shots at one another. DOMA, or The Defense of Marriage Act, was a bill passed by Congress in 1996 and signed into law by President Bill Clinton that forbade the federal government from recognizing same-sex marriages . This past June the Supreme Court ruled that this law was unconstitutional and this was a landmark triumph for gay rights activists.
"We press play, don’t press pause//
Committed to the faith, we hold on//
Murder aspect over technicality//
One of few movements left pro sacred morality//"
Playing on Macklemore’s admonishment to his listeners, I encouraged believers to stand firm as the culture we reside in continues to move farther away from the truths of Scripture. “Murder aspect over technicality” highlights the realization that fellow peers can assassinate one’s character over disagreeing on homosexuality. My last verse was essentially reiterating the words of Dr. Albert Mohler, president of The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, Kentucky, in his "No Truth Without Love, No Love Without Truth" blog post (www.albertmohler.com/2013/05/30/no-truth-without-love-no-love-without-truth-the-churchs-great-challenge/
). Dr. Mohler revealed “The homosexual rights movement understands that the evangelical church is one of the last resistance movements committed to a biblical morality. Because of this, the movement has adopted a strategy of isolating Christian opposition, and forcing change by political action and cultural pressure. Can we count on evangelicals to remain steadfastly biblical on this issue?”
"Evangelicals should be more vivid//
Like expose the Imago Dei, we’re all made in God’s image//
Political rush speeds that march to the altar//
And cultural pressure could make that religious stance falter//"
We won’t be able to get anywhere unless we hone in on the fact that we were all made in the image of God Himself. “Imago Dei” is Latin for “Image of God,” and your value doesn’t come from who or what you externally find your identity in or even your sexuality, it comes from your Creator and it is our job to vocalize this. Dr. Mohler goes on to say “The times demand Christian courage. These days, courage means that preachers and Christian leaders must set an agenda for biblical confrontation, and not shrink from dealing with the full range of issues related to homosexuality. We must talk about what the Bible teaches about gender--what it means to be a man or a woman. We must talk about God's gift of sex and the covenant of marriage. And we must talk honestly about what homosexuality is, and why God has condemned this sin as an abomination in His sight.”
"No law’s gonna change us, He has to change us//
Whatever God you believe in//
Make sure it’s the right One//"
“No law's gonna change us, He has to change us. Whatever God you believe in, make sure it's the right One.” The book of Galatians talks about how we are justified by faith alone. No legislation, whether earthly or heavenly, has the power to change the heart of a man or woman. That ability is reserved for God and is one of His unshared attributes. Macklemore mentioned how we all come from the same God but this testimony is incorrect. 1 Timothy 2:5 explicitly states “For there is one God, and there is one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus.”
"Cause vocab to rise; it’s not the same love//
Present demands courage, ‘bout time that we raised up//"
In closing, Mike Ensley of Exodus International's Student Ministry put it best when he said “I also am confident that when God said, ‘Do not practice homosexuality,’ he wasn't switching gears from ‘Loving God’ to ‘Rule-Making, Fun-Hating God.’ His commands come from his loving heart, the same heart that sent his Son to save me.” I hope that this breakdown of my lyrics give you more insight into my intent behind doing all of this. I didn’t write this song to purposefully offend anyone but I know that some will be offended regardless. If you want to dialogue with me more about this topic, then feel free to contact me. All of my information is located at www.commissarymusic.com/contact.html
. Thank you and God bless you all.
"Now this song right here is not an us vs. them type of thing or me trying to demonize anybody. I just hope ya'll really understand where I'm trying to come from. God is not far, He's near. There is hope and you can change. By grace through faith in His one and only Son, Jesus Christ. I love all ya'll man for real."
Sources used in breakdown:
1. Ferris State University, www.ferris.edu/jimcrow/who.htm
2. A List of Fallacious Arguments, www.don-lindsay-archive.org/skeptic/arguments.html
3. PolicyMic, www.policymic.com/articles/31176/what-is-doma
released 26 September 2013
Produced by Ryan Lewis. Recorded at Real Feel Studios. Mixed and mastered by Corey Grady for Divine Arrangement Productions.