Derek Webb’s Failed Confession

Collin Garbarino posted a new video from Derek Webb, in which Derek “confesses”: “I was wrong, I’m sorry, and I love you.”

My problem with this song is that Derek doesn’t specify what it is he thinks he was wrong about. There are some things I think he has been wrong about, but those may or may not be the things he’s apologizing for. Does he think he was right where I thought he was wrong, and wrong where I thought he was right? He doesn’t clarify, so the song isn’t very satisfying. What tried to be sincere and authentic devolved into bland platitudes and cliches. I know that’s not what Derek wanted.

It does have a catchy tune, though. Like much of his stuff. Classic Derek–wailing voice that really communicates emotional depth, changes in tempo and volume, good stuff.

I wish Derek would recognize that he’s not an inspired prophet, that for every stupid thing some church or some Christian says or does there are a lot of examples of biblical ecclesiology and truly Christ-like Christians, and that he should give himself to writing God-honoring, Bible-saturated, thought-provoking songs.

And for my money he can leave the swear words out.

13 Responses to Derek Webb’s Failed Confession

  1. bobw July 31, 2013 at 9:41 am #

    art and artists are often intentionally vague, and for good reason, so it is rather quick to say he “failed.” he plies his trade in mystery, and is pretty good at getting under the skin those who don’t like mystery. so perhaps that’s why you dont like it?

    I really doubt the dude thinks he’s “inspired”. more like he’s pretty good asking tough questions with a catchy tune, which are certainly thought-provoking, usually God-honoring, and often Bible-saturated too.

    • JMH July 31, 2013 at 10:04 am #

      I really, really like mystery.

    • Jason August 1, 2013 at 10:20 am #

      Bob,

      There is a difference between “mystery” and being “intentionally vague”.

  2. Ryan Travis July 31, 2013 at 9:50 am #

    This is a completely bogus review. Of course he didn’t specify…the point of the song was to allow other people to apply it to their own mistakes, and encourage us to say what we should (I was wrong, I’m sorry, and – if appropriate – I love you).

    Nothing about this song implies that DW considers himself a prophet…he’s saying what Christian’s around the world (or at the very least, in America) need to consider starting most of their conversations with non-believers with: “I was wrong to act as a judge of your behavior in the past. It’s God’s place to judge and my only job is to share with you the wonder of His love and grace and His Son Jesus Christ, and to be a light to you in this dark world. I’m sorry I tried to do more than that. As a Christian who has been saved by grace, I want you to know I love you, and that I do not judge you and that I want to walk alongside you and encourage you.”

    Get off your righteous soapbox please, and listen to the music without per-conceived opinions. If you think you can write “better” lyrics that are somehow more clearly “God-honoring, Bible-saturated and thought-provoking”, then no one is stopping you. But until you do, you certainly don’t have the right to criticize the creative efforts of others who fail to reach your lofty, largely unrealistic perfectionist, ideals.

    Lastly, there are NO swear words in this song…Either get your hearing checked, look up the lyrics online, or stop slandering the creative output of others with inaccuracies and/or intentional lies.

    Thanks.

    • JMH July 31, 2013 at 10:03 am #

      At some point in the past he referred to himself as a kind of prophet who stands outside, saying that was what he thought the artist’s role was. And I’m not saying there were swear words in this song. There were swear words on Stockholm Syndrome.

  3. Scott July 31, 2013 at 9:51 am #

    Dr. Hamilton,

    I wanted to send a string of tweets but I figured that this would be the better option!

    Elaborating on my tweet earlier, I am part of a team that’s helping to launch this record through putting on concerts, sharing links, etc. Derek was gracious enough to share the new record with his team. My initial thoughts are thus…

    First, this record seems to be a record *for* the church. He’s not speaking as a prophet to the culture about all the church’s wrongs. Rather, from what I’m gathering, in a sense, he’s actually apologizing to many people in the church for *his* behavior.

    So, that means that after some experimenting with style, lyrical content, etc. it seems that he’s realized that what he truly is good at, like you indicated in your post, is writing rich, God-honoring, thought-provoking songs. There is an abundance of songs like that on this record. A few lyrical samplings…

    From “Lover Part 3″

    In the days before the night before the day
    In the songs before the words that you could say
    I have loved you

    In the depths below the oceans and the dark
    From the garden to the entropy of stars
    I have loved you
    Oh I loved you

    You measure the days
    You wrestle and wait
    But I have all the time
    I loved you then and oh I love you still
    I loved you then and oh I love you still

    The chorus from “Everything Will Change”

    Everything’s gonna change
    And nothing’s gonna stay the what it is
    One day you’ll wake and the curse will break
    And even you, won’t be the same
    Your hope is not wasted on the day
    When everything will change

    (You can actually watch him perform “Everything Will Change” on YouTube: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jnnHbwNK3BU )

    Again, I think you may be pleasantly surprised by this record. It’s not an exaggeration to say that he had people like yourself – those who love his previous work but have since walked away agitated with his agitating – in mind when he wrote it. He seems to be at a place where he’s realized that “agitating” has it’s limits. Sometime you have to resonate.

    I hope all is well! Blessings to you,
    Scott

    • JMH July 31, 2013 at 10:04 am #

      This is really helpful, Scott, I hope you’re right!

  4. JP August 1, 2013 at 2:12 pm #

    I’d be careful with him in general. I’ve contacted him about his acceptance and support of Jennifer Knapp’s homosexual lifestyle and homosexual ‘ministries’ and he gave a very postmodern emergent style response and refused to dialogue.

    He is in public compromise, in that area.

    I have researched this, his wife is not publically associated with him in supporting homosexual ‘ministries’. Makes me wonder how they’ve come to terms with this?

Leave a Reply