Music Discussions

Same Love

Dynamic ImageMain Point of Discussion: Christians do not have to compromise God’s truth to show the love of Christ to others. Christians must love homosexuals with the love of Christ.

The Song: Same Love by Macklemore and Ryan Lewis, ft. Mary Lambert
Even if you didn’t watch the 2013 VMA’s, you probably heard about them, anyway. The show drew in 10.1 million viewers and was the #1 cable entertainment telecast of the year among 12-34 year olds, which means that many of your students were watching.

Lost in all the commotion over Miley Cyrus’ bizarre “twerking” and the NSYNC reunion, was the live performance of the song Same Love by Macklemore and Ryan Lewis, and Mary Lambert. The group’s song, which supports gay marriage and has a number of unflattering things to say about the Church, took home the award for “Best Video with a Social Message.”

Most of you are probably familiar with Macklemore and Ryan Lewis by now, from their hit singles “Thrift Shop” and “Can’t Hold Us.” Surprisingly though, the most intriguing storyline might be the lesser-known Mary Lambert, a singer-songwriter who is also a self-confessed lesbian. Lambert’s story exemplifies the exact reason why this discussion is important for the Church and why it should also be handled with great care.

The chorus and the outro to Same Love were originally written for Mary Lambert’s song entitled, She Keeps Me Warm, which details her experiences as a lesbian growing up in an evangelical Christian church. Mary grew up Pentecostal, but when she was 6, her mother came out as a lesbian, and her family was ostracized by the church. Still, she says that she grew in her faith and remained in the evangelical church until she came out at the age of 17, at which point she gave up on her faith and The Church. The repeating line from both Same Love and She Keeps Me Warm, “not crying on Sundays,” refers to the way she used to feel after leaving church services on Sunday mornings.

Mary is an example for youth leaders of why it is sooooooo important to exercise great caution in how we address homosexuality. It is important to not compromise on biblical truth, of course, but it is also important to remember that there may be students in your midst who are struggling with this issue right now; those students need to hear about the transforming love and grace of Christ, rather than judgment and condemnation.

*NOTE FOR YOUTH LEADERS:
This is clearly a very high profile and sensitive subject in our society right now. It is extremely important to be careful with what you say during this discussion and to make sure that you conduct the discussion in a manner that communicates love and care for everyone involved.

Scripture is just as clear regarding same-gender sexual sin as it is regarding opposite-gender sexual sin; they’re both sinful; God isn’t cool with either action. Unfortunately The Church has justifiably gained a reputation as a gay-hating institution by, among other things, stigmatizing homosexual sin (and homosexuality in general) to a far greater extent. For more helpful info on dealing with homosexuality, check out this TRAINING TOOL.

Introducing the Song:
If you watched the 2013 VMAs, you undoubtedly saw Macklemore and Ryan Lewis’ performance of the song
Same Love. Even if you didn’t watch the live performance, you have probably heard the song, which rose as high as #15 on the Billboard charts and #12 on iTunes’ Top Downloads. The performance Macklemore gave was moving and emotional, but how does it compare with biblical truth? Let’s listen to the song and then see what you think.

The Music Video:
The official music video can be found here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hlVBg7_08n0.
(You may need to screen this video first. There are some scenes that church leaders may find offensive.)

The live performance of the same song is here: http://www.mtv.com/videos/misc/948771/same-love-live.jhtml#id=1712041

Song Lyrics:


When I was in the third grade I thought that I was gay,
‘Cause I could draw, my uncle was, and I kept my room straight.
I told my mom, tears rushing down my face
She’s like “Ben you’ve loved girls since before pre-k, trippin’ ”
Yeah, I guess she had a point, didn’t she?
Bunch of stereotypes all in my head.
I remember doing the math like, “Yeah, I’m good at little league”
A preconceived idea of what it all meant
For those that liked the same sex
Had the characteristics
The right wing conservatives think it’s a decision
And you can be cured with some treatment and religion
Man-made rewiring of a predisposition
Playing God, aw nah here we go
America the brave still fears what we don’t know
And God loves all his children, is somehow forgotten
But we paraphrase a book written thirty-five-hundred years ago
I don’t know
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
My love
My love
My love
She keeps me warm
She keeps me warm
She keeps me warm
She keeps me warm

If I was gay, I would think hip-hop hates me
Have you read the YouTube comments lately?
“Man, that’s gay” gets dropped on the daily
We become so numb to what we’re saying
A culture founded from oppression
Yet we don’t have acceptance for ’em
Call each other faggots behind the keys of a message board
A word rooted in hate, yet our genre still ignores it
Gay is synonymous with the lesser
It’s the same hate that’s caused wars from religion
Gender to skin color, the complexion of your pigment
The same fight that led people to walk outs and sit ins
It’s human rights for everybody, there is no difference!
Live on and be yourself
When I was at church they taught me something else
If you preach hate at the service those words aren’t anointed
That holy water that you soak in has been poisoned
When everyone else is more comfortable remaining voiceless
Rather than fighting for humans that have had their rights stolen
I might not be the same, but that’s not important
No freedom till we’re equal, damn right I support it

(I don’t know)

And I can’t change
Even if I tried
Even if I wanted to
My love
My love
My love
She keeps me warm
She keeps me warm
She keeps me warm
She keeps me warm

We press play, don’t press pause
Progress, march on
With the veil over our eyes
We turn our back on the cause
Till the day that my uncles can be united by law
When kids are walking ’round the hallway plagued by pain in their heart
A world so hateful some would rather die than be who they are
And a certificate on paper isn’t gonna solve it all
But it’s a damn good place to start
No law is gonna change us
We have to change us
Whatever God you believe in
We come from the same one
Strip away the fear
Underneath it’s all the same love
About time that we raised up… sex

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
My love
My love
My love
She keeps me warm
She keeps me warm
She keeps me warm
She keeps me warm

Love is patient
Love is kind
Love is patient
Love is kind
(not crying on Sundays)
Love is patient
(not crying on Sundays)
Love is kind
(I’m not crying on Sundays)
Love is patient
(not crying on Sundays)
Love is kind
(I’m not crying on Sundays)
Love is patient
(not crying on Sundays)
Love is kind
(I’m not crying on Sundays)
Love is patient
Love is kind
Transition Statement:
Macklemore’s song supports the (now) widespread notion that romantic love between homosexuals should be treated exactly the “same” as the love that heterosexual couples have for one another. But in his support of homosexuality, he also has some less-than-flattering things to say about the Church. In spite of his poor view of the Church or the Bible, Christians must love homosexuals with the love of Christ. Let’s discuss these ideas some more in our small groups.

    1. AROUND THE CIRCLE: Everybody take a second to share your name and whether or not you watched the 2013 VMA’s? Why did you choose to watch or not watch?

 

    1. ASK A FEW: I thought there were several positive messages in this music video we just watched. What were some of the good messages that you heard? (Leaders – He sang about the need to stand up for those who are oppressed, or those who “have their rights stolen”, defending the helpless and downtrodden, not stereotyping others, loving everyone, fighting against hate, etc.)

 

    1. ASK A FEW: Do you think God values these ideas, like sticking up for others, as well? (Leaders – Absolutely! It might be worth mentioning here that defending the poor, the weak, the oppressed, and the downtrodden is a theme that occurs repeatedly throughout the Bible. The Bible brings up this idea far more often than it does homosexuality. It isn’t optional for Christians!)

 

    1. ASK A FEW: From listening to this song though, how do you think Macklemore feels about The Church and how it has lived up to these ideals? What kind of things does he accuse The Church of?

 

    1. ASK A FEW: Do you think some churches deserve the criticism that Macklemore gives? Why or why not?

Transition Statement:
Some times in the past some Christians have earned this reputation by elevating the sin of homosexuality above all others. We’ve been so vocal and harsh when talking about it in the past, that to the outside world, we’ve come across as very judgmental and condemning. Some even label Christians as “anti-gay.” Does it have to be that way though? Is it possible to love the LGBT community without compromising God’s truth on the matter?

Read the following passage:

      • John 8:2-11

2 At dawn he appeared again in the temple courts, where all the people gathered around him, and he sat down to teach them. 3 The teachers of the law and the Pharisees brought in a woman caught in adultery. They made her stand before the group 4 and said to Jesus, “Teacher, this woman was caught in the act of adultery. 5 In the Law Moses commanded us to stone such women. Now what do you say?” 6 They were using this question as a trap, in order to have a basis for accusing him.

But Jesus bent down and started to write on the ground with his finger. 7 When they kept on questioning him, he straightened up and said to them, “Let any one of you who is without sin be the first to throw a stone at her.” 8 Again he stooped down and wrote on the ground.

9 At this, those who heard began to go away one at a time, the older ones first, until only Jesus was left, with the woman still standing there. 10 Jesus straightened up and asked her, “Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?”

11 “No one, sir,” she said.

“Then neither do I condemn you,” Jesus declared. “Go now and leave your life of sin.”

 

    1. ASK A FEW: There is no way of knowing for sure, but just for kicks, what do you think Jesus was writing on the ground in this story?

 

    1. ASK A FEW: What words would you use to describe the way the Pharisees and teachers of the law treated this woman?

 

    1. ASK A FEW: What words would you use to describe the way Jesus treated this woman?

 

    1. ASK A FEW: Would you in any way describe Jesus’ treatment of the women as “hateful” or “bigoted?” Give proof either way.

 

    1. ASK A FEW: At the same time, did Jesus try to justify her adultery or tell her that it wasn’t sin? (No. In verse 11, He specifically says she has been living in a life of sin.)

 

    1. ASK A FEW: Do you think some sins are worse than others? Why or why not?

 

    1. ASK A FEW: What do you think Jesus’ response in verse 7 says about this? (Leaders – The point you are trying to drive at here is that Jesus was essentially telling the religious folks that they were sinners too and their sin was no better or worse than this woman’s. “All sin is equal” in that it essentially gives everyone equal status. No matter how “bad” the sin, it leaves all of us deserving of death; yet none of us are beyond the grace and forgiveness of Christ.)

 

    1. ASK A FEW: Imagine that the word adultery was simply replaced in this passage by the word homosexuality. So, instead of an adulterous woman, the Pharisees brought a woman caught in homosexuality to Jesus. How do you think Jesus would have responded? Why?

 

  1. AROUND THE CIRCLE: How does Jesus’ response to this woman affect the way you view and respond to people you know who are gay or struggling with homosexual issues?

Wrap Up:
In the charged atmosphere that exists today, a false dichotomy has developed. In most of the discourse on this issue, the unnecessary choice that is presented is that you are either (a) fully supportive of homosexuality and recognize it as a morally acceptable lifestyle or (b) you are a homophobe and a bigot, who hates gays.

Let’s be honest for a moment here and admit that while it may not be completely our fault, Christians have done a lot to create this environment. Some Christians have helped contribute to this perception by being unnecessarily harsh, judgmental, or condemning in their words and actions towards the LGBT community. They’ve also created this atmosphere by treating homosexuality as if it is some unpardonable sin that is worse than any other sin, much like the Pharisees treated adultery in the story we just read.

Jesus doesn’t react that way though. He responds to the Pharisees by saying “let any of you who are without sin, cast the first stone.” In other words, He reminds us that all sin is equal and that all of us are sinners. The woman’s sin is no worse than their sins of pride, or lust, or greed, etc. The Bible does make it clear that homosexuality is a sexual sin, but it’s simply ONE kind of sin among many (1 Cor. 6:9-11). We should respond to the LGBT community with the same attitude of love and grace that Christ showed the woman in our story.

Despite what most people are telling us, I don’t think that we have to make a choice between rejecting God’s design for sex and being a homophobe (someone who hates or fears homosexuals).

As Christians, we should be the FIRST to be against homophobia. We should be the first to stand up against the gay jokes and slurs at school. We should be the first to reach out to those who may feel ostracized or who are being picked on because of their sexual choices. We never have the right to make fun of anybody, to be condemning, or hateful towards anyone, on account of their sexuality.

At the same time, this does not mean that we have to compromise on what we believe to be God’s truth. It doesn’t mean that we should rationalize people’s sins or that we should lie and tell people that something is okay, when the Bible clearly says that it isn’t. Jesus didn’t do this either.

Jesus had this magnificent way of letting people know that they were loved, accepted, and forgiven by Him, while still being real with them about their shortcomings.

I wonder what a difference it would make for the Kingdom of God if Christians learned to treat the LGBT community with this kind of love. What if gays and lesbians felt more love and acceptance from The Church than they did from Macklemore and LGBT groups? What if they knew that the one group who would treat them with dignity and respect, despite whether or not they agreed with their choices, was Christians? What if they knew that Christians would stand up for those among them who were picked on and bullied at school?

If we could learn to love the LGBT community in this way—in the way that Christ did—maybe instead of feeling hatred and condemnation in The Church, homosexuals would find and experience the transforming love and truth of Christ that this woman in John 8 did.

That is what Jesus wants!

Close in Prayer

Written by Brandon McCarroll

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Jonathan McKee

Jonathan McKee is the author of over twenty books including the brand new The Bullying Breakthrough; The Teen’s Guide to Social Media & Mobile Devices; If I Had a Parenting Do Over; and the Amazon Best Seller - The Guy's Guide to God, Girls and the Phone in Your Pocket. He speaks to parents and leaders worldwide, all while providing free resources for youth workers on TheSource4YM.com. Jonathan, his wife Lori, and their three kids live in California.

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