Derek Webb Interview
Back in February, Derek Webb played in Lynchburg (okay, actually Forest, but whatever), and I had a chance to sit down and talk with him. This was going to be printed in our church newsletter, but it’s too long. That’s why I didn’t post it here earlier. But, here it is…
Derek Webb interview transcript
me: Weâ€™ll start with song order. I know when you put a record together you put a lot of time into thinking which song goes where. I was wondering if you could talk about that, and especially the first two songs on Mockingbird.
dw: For me, typically, when you get done recording songs, there’s just an order that makes sense. We’ll sequence it a few different ways typically. We’ll sit down and say, “what is the obvious? What just makes sense about the order of these songs?” What do we want to say first, and then how do we want to pace it out. You don’t want to put too much heavy stuff, and you want songs that are similar spread out on the record. It’s like a jigsaw puzzle. And, typically, after you work on it for a couple weeks, and you really think about it, there’s just a sequenceâ€¦ there’s typically just a magical sequence that just happens. And once you get that, then you say, okay, I wrote that down, we’ve got that. Now we start over. And you blow that all apart, and try it totally some other way, and see if there’s maybe a cooler approach. But on Mockingbird, there was just a sequence that made sense. It just paced out a certain way, to where I thought people could deal with it little by little.
me: it seems to me, the first two tracks especially, Mockingbird you’ve got the one line that says you need to hear it just as much, or more than who you’re singing to. It seems like that’s setting up, saying, “I’m not above this. I’m not differentâ€¦”
dw: right. If anything, I’m just communicating the best of what I’m trying to sort out of people who are much smarter than me talking about these issues.
me: and then, following that with A New Law, where you’re saying “I don’t even have it all figured out, exactly” “I’m not saying you have to do it just like this and exactlyâ€¦”
dw: that’s an interesting thing, when certain people would completely misunderstand a song like Rich Young Ruler, and say, “yeah, he’s just advocating that there’s just this one way that everyone has to do it” and I’m like, I put a whole song on the record called A New Law about the fact that what we need is the Spirit. I’m not advocating that all Christians have to do a certain thing. I mean, that song’s not even about wealth. The story of the rich young ruler in the bible isn’t about wealth. It’s about idolatry, and that’s what the song is about. And so it surprised me that people wouldn’t get the context of it. All I can do is write a whole song called A New Law sarcastically saying what we don’t need is more detailed instructions on how to behave. What we need is the Spirit. Because our stories might be really different. If all God’s people obeyed one cultural law, we all did one thing, then we’d all be on one side of town, and we’d all be doing one thing. We’re diverse members of one body. And we really need some people who are called to go, and some people who stay. I mean, we really need that. and I was hoping that A New Law was going to communicate that, and say, anything I’m advocating on this record, what I’m not saying is ‘this is the right way to do it’. Because that’s all we want to do. It’s like Don Miller always says-
And I refer to Don Miller simple because he’s a friend. Not because I’ve been tremendously influenced by his writing. In fact, I’m not at all influenced by don miller’s writing. He’s just a friend of mine. It’s so funny how people think I started reading Don Miller, and then got liberal. I don’t think I’ve ever really read any â€“ I’ve read bits of a few of his books, butâ€¦ Don’s just a friend of mine. We’ve never talked about stuff like that. We’ve never talked about anything heavy. He’s been no influence on me other than he’s a really cool guy and he’s a good friend of mine.
But, Don has said, which I think is really interesting, he said that people come to the Bible asking ‘how’ questions, and it’s a ‘why’ book. And I think that’s really helpful. It’s not about, “here’s a way for us to live, and here’s everything you should doâ€¦”. It’s not about that. And that’s not what this record is about.
me: Yeah, that’s what I got out of it. And it seems like its intentional, putting that song right up front, to set up how to listen to the rest of the record.
dw: Yeah, I wanted A New Law to go right up to the top. The tools are there, if people look real closely at it. But some peopleâ€¦ I don’t know, maybe they’re just not looking hard enough.
me: there are some criticisms of the record, saying that you’re pushing an agenda. I’ve heard some people say that you had some point you wanted to make, some ideaâ€¦ and you crammed that into a song. And, the people say, when they’re listening to it, they’re being bashed over the head with your convictions. What would you say to those people?
dw: I think to some extent, everybody editorializes. When anybody tells you a story, they’re choosing details they include, and they’re choosing the details that they don’t include. So everybody’s editorializing all the time. There’s no way around that. And I think for me, I don’t know why certain things get laid on me that I feel are important to communicate. I don’t know why that is. But it is. So I’m not self-conscious about writing songs that communicate my thoughts on any particular issue. Really, without answering that question directly, I would say, what would they rather me do? Would they rather me somehow try to claim that I’m giving no opinion? The issues need dealing with, so how do they suggest I deal with them? Either way I’m editorializing. And I do have thoughts.
And that’s the point of the record. And what I’ve tried to say, and maybe the record doesn’t say clear enough, I’m not trying to win people to my way of thinking. I’m ready to concede that good Christian people can come with a completely Christian framework and Christian worldview to issues like poverty and the poor, and reach completely different conclusions than me. And that’s okay. We don’t have to agree. I don’t think it’s clear enough â€“ and I also think that that is evidence of the fact that we are diverse members of one body. And we need to take every opportunity and go every avenue to try to love those people. And I’m going to try my way, and you try your way, and let’s see if we can manage to love some people. But I don’t think we all have to agree on that stuff. And I’m not trying to get people to agree with me on the record. I’m just trying to say, here’s a discussion, here’s what I think, what do you think? If you don’t agree, tell me why. Tell me what you do believe, and I’d love to hear it. I think that’s the point; let’s have a discussion.
me: let me read this quote by GK Chesterton, and you tell me if you think it has anything to do with that. “We do not really want a religion that is right where we are right, we want a religion that is right where we are wrong”.
dw: Hm. That’s a really good quote.
me: It seems like people feel conviction, and they don’t like it, and want to find some fault in it. Do you think there’s some of that involved in your record?
dw: Maybe. Here’s part of what I think is fascinating, that maybe speaks to that. That when most of the misunderstanding that I have picked up on in regards to a song like Rich Young Ruler has been over the line about selling your SUV. Here’s what’s fascinatingâ€¦ does no one take offense at the fact that I also told them to sell their house? Do people really think I’m advocating doing that?
me: right. Matthew 19 and Mark 10 is the story of the rich young ruler in the bible. And Jesus tells the rich young ruler to sell *everything* he has, and give it to the poor.
dw: and the reason I specifically drew out things like houses and cars and security and stocks, is because those are the things that give us identity, that we put our faith in rather than Jesus. And for that man, it was his wealth. And when Jesus asks to give up everything that gives you your identity other than me, and then come follow me. We put our identity in the kind of car we drive. We put our identity or our security in the fact that we have a pension, or we have a thing, or we have a safety net financially. We have this house that keeps us safe, we have an alarm that we turn on and it retrains evil, or something. And all that stuff’s a fiction. So that’s why I thought it was relevant to the content of the record. But, no more than that story is about wealth than my song is about wealth. It’s about whatever it is, whatever those idols are for you.
But I also think there is an analogy to be drawn to the west in general. I kind of saw the west, or the western church, as that rich young man – unwilling to part with our wealth in order to follow Jesus. In one instance is how slowly we’ve moved toward the emergency in Africa as a church. It’s taken an Irish rock star to really get us involved. We should have been in the front of that line to go in and do that. Because that’s the greatest concentration of the world’s poorest people. And that’s taking seriously the second greatest commandment, in my opinion. And, if nothing else, it’s an opportunity for us to think creatively and to think progressively about peace. And say, here’s a situation where we don’t have to war with these people. We can go give them reason not to hate us; we can care for them now rather than spend twice the money to go to war with the orphans of their families that we didn’t come to the aid of. That’s an opportunity, a tremendous opportunity for the church. That’s why I think Africa is so important. And I think that’s a symptom of the church not willing, the west not willing to part with our wealth in order to follow Jesus. If it means following him to Africa, are we willing to part with our wealth? And I don’t think we are. And that’s why I think there *is* an analogy to be drawn between the western church and the rich young ruler in the story, and wealth is significant. But then there’s another level where wealth is not significant. Where it’s just purely about idolatry. and I think there’s something significant about the fact that the only line that people are drawing out of that whole song is give up your SUV. Why? Because maybe people really do put their identity into the type of car they drive. Maybe that offends them, because maybe that’s an area of conviction for them. I don’t know. I’m not the Holy Spirit. But I think it’s interesting. It’s curious to me that people would get bent out of shape about that one line. *Maybe* it’s because that really is a super important thing, and they feel defensive about it. Why do they feel defensive about it? Maybe because they’re putting too much of their identity into it. It makes them who they are. So I think that’s interesting.
me: That is interesting. That kind of touches on a question I was going to ask you, if you feel like a lot of the issues you were just talking about are failures in the church, and if you’re writing the songs to call the church to action. The church has a high calling in the world to meet a lot of these social needs that you’re talking aboutâ€¦
dw: yeah. As evidence of faith, not as a means to please the Lord.
me: right. Well, it does please the Lord, but, I know what you mean.
dw: No, it does. But we don’t do it to earn the favor with the Lord apart from the law. We aren’t keeping the law to make Him love us. In my opinion the record isn’t about politics, it’s about people. The record is about the fruits of the Spirit.
me: yeah, I was also going to ask you to what degree are the topics political.
dw: In my opinion, political language is the only language I have that I can use in order to address issues of a social nature. That’s how we engage in those issues in our culture, here. Is political. In other cultures, maybe talking about social issues wouldn’t look so political.
me: That’s something in discussions I’ve had with people, and they’re saying it’s all these liberal social views, and I think – well, there’s one that’s next on my list to talk about, maybe this one, maybe, but other than that I don’t think any of the things you’re saying on the record are political. Left or right political. They’re all solidly biblical ideas that we need to put into practice. Or at least think about, and, like you were saying, not doing it the way you say, but think about it. Maybe we don’t move to the poor part of town, but to have the issue in mind, and not ignore the problem.
dw: either way, though, for me for you and for all of us, we need to embrace and be okay and be comfortable with the fact that we are all diverse members of one body. We are all building the kingdom, and we are diverse. We’re dealing with symptoms of being diverse members of one body, but we’re forgetting that that is part of our story. And so we’re reacting to that to say,’ this isn’t right. You don’t think like me, and so we can’t have that.’ Well, yeah, sure we can have that. We’re told that we’re diverse members of one body. We’re not all an eye, we’re not all a finger, we’re not all a foot. If we were all just like all the rest of us, then the body just couldn’t function. So it’s okay that my friend, some of my friends don’t agree with me on these issues. Because they’re going to pursue it their way, and I’m going to pursue it my way. One of us goes in the front door; one of us goes in the back. Either way, we’re building the kingdom. And I believe that’s what they’re doing, and it’s okay that we don’t agree on some of these issues. We break bread over that stuff. And I think it’s okay that I think the way I do. We should sharpen each other. As long as it’s the kingdom that we’re concerned with, it’s okay that we reach different conclusions. It really is. But we’re feeling symptoms of that because we’re getting frustrated with each other because we don’t agree and you need to think like me, or I need to think like you. Everybody feels like they have to all homogenize if we’re going to be the body. But we’re told the total opposite. We’re told that we’re *diverse* members of one body. Not similar members, we’re diverse members. It’s going to take all of us doing all different kind of crazy ways, everybody’s got their own set of gifts and life experiences and perspective in the way they look and come and bring to issues. And all of that is going to inform the way that they build the kingdom. And we need them building that particular part of the kingdom. Don’t do it like me. I’m going to build it over here, and you build it over there, and we’re going to build the whole thing. So we can unify, is what I mean. Disagree and unify.
me: Our unity isn’t built on agreement every single point. It’s the Spirit, it’sâ€¦
dw: It’s a conceptual unity. We unify over the fact that there is one kingdom we are building under one God. And I’m going to build the living room and you build the bathroom. It takes totally different gifts and totally different perspective to build those two places.
me: okay, now to the one issue that I had question about. In My Enemies Are Men Like Me, not even the whole point of the song, but you’ve got one line,
peace by way of war
is like purity by way of fornication
it’s like telling someone murder is wrong
and showing them by way of execution
Is that an anti-capital punishment line?
dw: I’m so enjoying the fact that people aren’t sure, that I’m not going to come right out and answer it. But what I can tell you is that, for one thing, the first half of that ‘peace by way of war’â€¦ I was quoting an anonymous first century theologian. That’s not my quote. That’s quoted in the beginning of a Wendell Berry book, not exactly said like that, but it’s almost just like that. And I don’t believe that peace comes by way of war, and I think history has proven that. So the first half I don’t think is that controversial, really. The second half is a little more mysterious.
But I can tell you that when I wrote that line… Let me see how I can say thisâ€¦ I wasn’t thinking about one idea when I wrote that line. And I like the fact that people have figured out a variety of different things that they can apply those words to, that all have to do with the dignity of life, but it can mean this or it can mean that, and we’re not really sure. I like the ambiguity. I really do, because it has done exactly what I intended it to do. It has completely stirred the discussion.
There’s obviously the implication of how that could sound like a statement about capital punishment. But let me tell you one way that I look at that line. This is a radical example, but this is all what went intoâ€¦ because I really put a lot into choosing those words.
The idea of people who are against abortion would go and show that by killing abortion doctors. It’s like telling someone that murder is wrong, and showing them by way of execution. That is one of a variety of different things that I packed into those two lines. It can mean a lot of things and at different points has meant different things to me. But it is intentionally ambiguous. It doesnâ€™t have to mean anything that is unbiblical, and I didn’t intend it to mean anything unbiblical.
me: If it’s talking about capital punishment, which is the first thing that came to my mindâ€¦ some of the language is language that is used by anti-capital punishment people.
dw: Is it? Because I’ve not studied any of that.
me: Yeah, and also the line ‘where justice is bought and sold’ later in that song. That isn’t in direct context of this line, but is in the song. And that’s language that they use too.
me: Yeah, so that might lead to that view
dw: Well, that’s called divine providence. I’m not familiar with any of the rhetoric of anti-capital punishment folks.
me: Just to be clear, Christians, good Christian people can believe that today, we should not enforce the death penalty. That we shouldn’t be doing it. And I can go with that. It’s a reasonable debate. But if this line is applied to that, then it calls into question inherently the death penalty. Which in times past God has clearly endorsed. That’s why I would see trouble with it.
dw: I totally follow you on that. And maybe this is a rabbit trail, but there are a lot of things that God says he ordains or orders and in those ways clearly endorses, that are not permissible for us. A lot of things. God very much uses violence or murder, even. He’s a law unto Himself. So His prerogative to do with His creation whatever He desires to do. And I cannot go to Him and say, ‘why have you done this?’ It was His prerogative to
[Geneva: I have to go potty] [laughs]
For instance, in the time of Noah, to completely wipe out the human race, other than one family. And He completely destroyed people, animals, whatever He wanted. Why? Because He shows mercy to whoever He wants, and He withholds it from whoever He wants. And that is His prerogative and there is nothing I can do about it. So you could say that God murdered a bunch of people. Did He sin? No. Why? Because He is a law unto Himself. You could say that God endorses murder in that situation, but clearly we are told, we’re commanded not to murder. That logic doesn’t all the way follow.
My main problem with something like the death penalty is most certainly more to do with our judicial system. It’s not to do with whether or not the state has the right; it’s how they use that right. And is that righteous? If we know there are people on death row that are innocent, if we know that capital punishment typically preys on the poor because they cannot afford legal counsel. We know all these statistics, and like you said there’s an argument there whether we agree on it or not. That’s my main problem with the death penalty.
What I’ll tell you is, what went into those lines were many thoughts about many things about how it’s inconsistent to say this is right and I’m going to do that to you to prove it. And it does touch on issues that have to do with the dignity of human life. But I was thinking just as much about people who murder abortion doctors. Because that is very literally saying, ‘murder is wrong and I’m going to murder you to stop you from doing it’. That’s totally inconsistent.
As far as any other of the lyrics being part of the anti-capital punishment rhetoric, I could not have even known it. Because I’ve never studied it. I had no idea something about justiceâ€¦
me: Justice is bought and sold
dw: I thought I came up with that. I really did. I was like, ‘justice is bought and sold’ wow.
I was thinking more about war. And, though, that song is so ambiguous and so much of it wrote that way. Because I do think what we do know, and what we may even be able to agree on, about wealthier people statistically don’t get the death penalty as often, when convicted for crimes where they could get it, and poor people do. Statistically. I mean, the statistics are out the roof about some of those things. Like you said, it makes a discussion worthy of having. So I do think justice is for sale. In our world, in a broken governmental system, it is for sale. In a broken judicial system it is for sale. But, again, I couldn’t have intended that to be about the death penalty. But I still like the fact that some people â€“ don’t hear me wrong on this â€“ but I’m okay with the fact that some people misunderstand that. Because I do think it’s been very good for the discussion for people to say ‘I think this is what he’s saying, if it is, here’s why I don’t agree with it’. And they get to sort out all their thoughts on those issues. And those are all issues that we’re talking about. So it hasn’t bothered me that some of those lines have been misunderstood, because I feel like it’s been good for discussion, and the discussion is the point of the record. I’m willing to be misunderstood for discussion to happen.
me: do the basic realities of the Trinity and the Incarnation have any affect on Christian culture and the arts.
dw: [laughing] what kind of question is that?! Was that yours?
me: No. It was not. I thought it was a good question, though.
dw: I mean. Wow. Probably? Can I just answer that way? I don’t have any idea. That’s a reallyâ€¦ I’d have to think for a week about what you just said!
[to Geneva] Did you understand that? That was a bunch of big wordsâ€¦ I don’t think I understood it. Makes me want to grab some crayons and start coloring.
me: When you’re writing songs is the idea of the Trinity consciously involved in that at all?
dw: I think I could probably say no. There’s not a lot for me that’s very conscious. Almost all of it is subconscious for me. I don’t know where this stuff comes from. I really don’t. I really don’t. I said this earlier but, my kind of songwriting to me, it’s like they just fall on me like a piano. They just drop on my head. I don’t plan for it, I don’t see them coming, and they show up out of nowhere. And when I’m not writing, I can’t do it. Like right now, I feel like I might never write another song. Ever, for the rest of my life. And I always feel like this after I’m done writing a record. And not til I write more, mysteriously, will I get over the fear. For all I know I’m done. I don’t know where they come from.
me: What is your vision for the future of Christian arts?
dw: Gosh. I can tell you what my prediction is. Sadly to say, for some people anyway, I think we’re running the risk over the next five or ten years of not having a Christian music industry anymore. I think that really might go away. And the reason is because it’s a totally unique- we’ve never been at this particular place before. Where all of the labels, all those companies, are at this point all owned by these huge multinational corporations. It’s not really ever been like that before. That, in conjunction with the fact that Christian music is doing really poorly. From a business standpoint, it’s really, really, really doing poorly. We’re at like an all time, all time low. And there aren’t a lot of signs of it righting itself. So my concern is that what’s going to happen is, as Christian music sells less and less and less, as our whole industry does worse and worse and worse, and the Christian as a microcosm of that, just worse and worse and worse, these little plastic discs, be them Christian or not – what do these big corporations care? They’re just selling little plastic discs. That’s all it is to them â€“ they’re going to take their money out of that, and they’re going to put it into beer, or other little things they sell that are selling better. Christian industry has never been at a point where their fate is in the hands of others in this way. So there’s a real possibility that CCM could kind of go away. And we’d be right back in the 70s again. We’d be at a point where it’d all be people wanting to sing songs about Jesus and have to go find a place to sing them. I don’t think that would be the worse thing in the world. Because you look at Acts 17, where Paul is talking to the stoics and the philosophers, and he’s at Athens, he’s in the market places having these discussions about philosophy and worldview and he’s talking about God, and he’s got the language prepared to do it. Incredible discourse. That market place today is the Billboard top 200. For the musicians. That is the equivalent of the market place today, where those discussions are happening, where those philosophy and worldview discussions are happening, places like that. But instead of making really good art that gets us into those conversations, that gives us the right to be in those conversations, we’re over in our ghetto across town, kind of hurling our comments over the fence. So I don’t think it’d be the worse thing in the world for Christian artists to have to get real jobs and really have to make great art that keeps us in the conversation. Because right now, you can get away with making bad art. And even just because you have a really good heart for the Lord, it gives you an excuse to make bad art. A lot of bad art is made in the name of ministry. And I think that is shortsightedness on behalf of artists in the church. We’re not taking seriously our role in kingdom building. Totally misrepresenting the character of our God by making really cheesy art in the image of a really great Creator. We are all little creators made in His image, and we’re making really bad art. It doesn’t say a lot about the God in whose image we’re made. I don’t think it represents Him very well. And people who do just that wouldnâ€™t be able to keep their job if Christian music went away. So I don’t think it’d be the worse thing in the world to start from scratch again. To blow the whole thing up and start from scratch. And we might be on the brink of it. That’s a scary thought. But it’s also kind ofâ€¦ I don’t know. It’s exciting. There might be a real resurgence in real Christian art. Christians making really, really great art. There are a few people who do it. I’m not saying all the art that comes out of the church is bad. Switchfoot, Jars [of Clay], Sixpence [None the Richer]. P.O.D. Bands like this. This is just in pop music. There are probably many, many others in a lot of other genres. That are people who are believers making great art, there’s a ton of them. And not all of them are even categorized like that. I think U2 is one. There are some who do break out and are able to get in on those discussions, but it would be amazing if the only ones we had were in it. And the only ones we had were good enough to stay in. It’d be amazing. I don’t know if that’s a vision, it might be more of a prediction. I could be wrong.
me: where do you see Christian culture in 500 years?
dw: [laugh] I hope in glory. 500 years, man? At the rate it’s going now? I hope it’s all been made right by then. I don’t know, gosh, that’s a good question. And I could think for a month about it. There’s no way to predict it. Because I never would have figured it would be where it is now. How in the world could I assume to know where it would go in the future? My best answer to that question is in glory. I really hope that’s where it is. I hope that the only Christian culture is a redeemed Christian culture under the government of King Jesus on his throne and His kingdom come and all things made right. Tears being wiped away, hungry people being fed, every knee bowed and every tongue confessing. That’s where I hope it is in 500 years. I hope it’s that way in five years.
me: have you heard of the federal vision controversy?
me: no idea?
dw: no. [laugh]
me: that’s all I want to ask you. Or, auburn avenue theology?
dw: [shaking head no] I’m not sure.
me: It’s kind of in PCA thought. I mean, it’s kind of a controversy in the PCA and the Presbyterian world.
dw: I should probably know then. I bet I could ask my friend Kevin Twit and he would be able to tell me all about it. Because he just knows all about everything. But I don’t know.
It’s interestingâ€¦ it’s not that I’m not as into theology as I used to be, but I spent some years trying to sort out real basically some of that. I felt like I never had those infant years of really sorting out my theology. When I came to it, I sorted some of it out, and I feel like nowadays, it’s not that that’s not important to me. It is important to me. But now in addition to that it’s also important to me to see theology becoming ethics. And where I don’t see theology becoming ethics, I’m not really interested in talking about theology. I could care less about a guy’s theology if I don’t see him loving people. If I don’t see the fruits of the spirit, if I don’t literally see that theology becoming ethics, then what difference does it make? That guys a ringing cymbal or a clanging gong. That’s what scripture says. But if there is theology that we can talk about that informs the way we love people, I want to talk about it. I do think that talking about the finer points of doctrine can really trickle down into informing the way we love people. I do. And so I think it’s important. I’m not saying I’m not concerned about it. I’m not even not as concerned as I used to be. But I’m not equally concerned with the rubber hitting the road. So… some of that, I’ve only got so much time.
me: I’m not going to say anything more on it.
me: it’s funny, though, that you’re talking about our theology needs to â€“ well, one thing my pastor says is that our theology needs to come out of our fingertips.
dw: Right, it needs to come out of heads, down into our hands.
me: â€¦and come out in our lives. It’s funny because, I was sort of working through those sort of things, not really the socially justice issues, but just more generally, about when She Must And Shall Go Free came out. And so I was like, ‘yeah it’s good. But come on!’ [laughing]
dw: [clapping and laughing] and now we totally, likeâ€¦ we’re just like ships passing in the night, me and you.
me: so I was negative towards that album. Perhaps I owe you an apology for that.
dw: oh, noâ€¦ you don’t owe me an apology.
me: and on The House Show, you were saying all this stuff, which is really good stuffâ€¦
dw: it just wasn’t where you were at the time
me: yeah. And I was like, “yeah, it’s good. But he should’ve said this and this and this, and done this”.
dw: yeah. yeah. I get it. I totally do.
me: that’s how it goes
dw: I understand what you’re saying. that’s good. I really appreciate what you’re saying
me: well, thanks for talking with me.
dw: and I cannot emphasize enough, especially for you, who I know have spent some time in the online community, I cannot emphasize enough, man, that we are diverse members of one body. That Christian people operating from the same framework, wanting to really love and take care of people, and operating of the same framework of really wanting to build that kingdom, can reach completely different conclusions on a lot of these issues. And that’s okay. There’s no reason we can’t all be friends about that. There’s no reason why, just like in the arts, we don’t have to homogenize over the way we love people. I think we really should approach it from every angle, and it’s going to take our butting heads and wanting to do it different ways to come at it different ways and maybe accomplish it. I am in every way looking how I can unify with my brothers and sisters to build the kingdom. It’s like the other day with Falwell, people were saying “do you wish you had some time with him, because I know you guys wouldn’t agree about the war, and you guys wouldn’t agree about this”. And, you know, that’s so easy. That’s so obvious to say here are the things we don’t agree on, so let’s talk about that. So let’s have a fight. I’m just not even interested in that stuff. I know all this stuff, and Jerry knows all this stuff, whatever that we wouldn’t agree on. But what I’m more interested in? What are some of the things that we do agree on? What are some ways we can work together? He’s got his particular gifts, and his particular position in kingdom building, and I’ve got mine. So how can we unify, and let’s help to build the kingdom.
me: living here in Lynchburg, his influence in this city is significant. It’s quite different than a lot of other places in the country. And, while in my church, and in our circles, we disagree on a whole lot of stuff, and often laugh a bit at Jerry and Liberty, but at the bottom, we are thankful for them, and appreciate what Jerry has done hereâ€¦
dw: and we have to say at the end of the day that we are diverse members of one body. We unify over the fact that we’re all building the kingdom.
me: like with this left behind stuffâ€¦
dw: you should have heard the sermon that guy preached. Whacky eschatology, man. [laugh]
me: I heard about that. But this stuff, and we scoff at it, andâ€¦ well, you probably think my eschatology is whacky, but…
dw: you want me to tell you the truth? I’ll overstate the point to make it. I don’t care about eschatology. I really don’t. I’m overstating the point to make it. Of course I care about the end times, of course that informs the way I do other things. But it’s mysterious, it’s not going to happen to you the way you’ve figured out its going to happen, and meâ€¦ it’s going to happen the way it’s supposed to happen. Regardless of how we believe on it. We should study it, and it is mysterious. But, man, we can unify over that stuff. And if it causes discord to the point where we’re not loving each other, then we drop it. In my opinion, we just drop it. In the context of how I care about you, I don’t care about eschatology. And I think that’s a biblical theology right there.
me: definitely. I agree.
dw: and I feel the same way with a lot of my friends who I don’t agree with. And I don’t know if all of them feel the same way about me, but that’s okay.
me: like, one thing in our newsletter, we have at the end, in the small print stuff we have, ‘not everyone in this agrees with each other on every point, and we like it that way’. That’s what we’re about.
dw: we sharpen each other. And the point of it isn’t even that we would eventually agree. It’s that eventually every knee will bow and every tongue confess. That’s the bottom line. We’ll all be proven wrong, that all of us were grasping in the dark at it. That Jesus is going to prove all of us wrong. And that will be a glorious day. My point is not ever that we would just homogenize. It’s good that I don’t agree, and that you don’t agree with me on certain things. Because it gives you a totally different and unique perspective, and it stirs you to do different things than I’m going to do because I think a different way about some of that. But we’re still brothers and we can still break bread over that stuff. We’ve got to have an eye for that. We’ve got to fight for that.