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In Defense of a “Sloppy Wet Kiss”

March 29, 2011 107 Comments by Kevin Simmons

First and foremost this is a small fracture in a greater conversation that has been emerging for years concerning worship styles. I’m looking forward to the day that the “how” of worship is talked about a lot less than the “Who” of worship. The object of worship is Jesus. I believe God is freeing us from the absurd, fast-food-type obsession with getting Jesus, our way, when & how we want Him. Thats what you’re radio and your iPod are there for.

If you’re spending a lot of time talking about worship styles: the kinds of music played, the way the music is play, and maybe even how loud the music is … you’ve inevitably missed the point. The point to worship is Jesus. It’s pretty much that simple.

John Mark McMillan hasn’t missed the point. In fact, he’s probably hitting closer to the center than a lot of song writers have in a long time. He writes songs. Most of his songs have application in the arena worship because they are vertical. He’s not writing songs for me, or you for that matter. He’s writing songs that make sense of where he is, what he’s going through, and express the tensions that surround all of those places.

The brutality of being an artist is that when you produce something (a song, a painting, or even a blog) it enters the public arena  where uninformed people suddenly have the ability to interpret your work. If you give a crap about what you’re saying … this conversation can be painful & the criticism can be cutting. However, if you believe in what you’re doing, the tension will leave you more resolved and focused towards the direction to which you’ve been called.

John Mark doesn’t write cheap songs. They’re not cotton candy melodies washed down with sweet, Jones Soda guitar riffs. First of all, the majority of his songs are structurally difficult to reproduce for the average worship band. They’re not A/C B/C D C structured songs. John Mark’s songs aren’t for your average worship leader in your average church.

Five years ago when I stepped into my primary role at our current church to lead worship I made one bold move (on my part): I wanted to do a John Mark song our first Sunday. It was my way of saying, i don’t know what you’re used to singing … but we’re going somewhere new, challenging, and different and here’s a glimpse.

That song was “How He Loves”.

If you haven’t noticed, HHL is now in the top 100 CCLI songs and has been covered by so many people it’s futile to list them here. When I sang the song five years ago, nobody in our church had ever heard it. I thought it went over well. Our people engaged the song, somewhat. The song works in corporate worship because it’s chorus is so easy to sing and easily learned because of how repetitive it is. Unlike a lot of other songs, though, the verses are full of imagery, and depth. These words carry weight. Even if our folks just listened to the verses and sang the choruses, I was happy, because the verses communicated so well.

I had a meeting with some core musicians on our team two weeks later, and one genuinely humble, Jesus-loving guy reported this concern: “I loved that song, but I have a problem that the only line the people in my small group remembered was “sloppy wet kiss”.

That’s a problem?

I understand what he was saying. He was saying … listen … we’re supposed to be singing about Jesus, Grace, Love, or Mercy … where’s this line coming from? And why do people remember THAT LINE? Shouldn’t they be remembering something like “Jesus loves me”?

That one line, “sloppy wet kiss”, has brought a sort of tension in the world of worship music. Every worship leader has that song in their pocket, and every church has made some sort of decision on how to handle the lyrics.  Recently a pretty significant worship artist covered the song and replaced those few words with the phrase “unforeseen kiss”. From what I understand, churches have made up all kinds of words to replace the word and resolve this perceived tension. Bryan Allain (via Jon Acuff’s Blog – “Stuff Christians Like”) wrote a pretty awesome blog about some other suggestions for replacing the lyric: [CLICK HERE TO VIEW BRYANS BLOG]

I know that John Mark has received countless critical and slanderous emails, comments, and tweets concerning the line. Some people have criticized him for propagating the idea that God would never do anything sloppy. Some people are furious that such sensual imagery is used in worship. Some people are just idiots and want to be mean.

I thought I’d take a few moments and offer a defense for the phrase.

WHATS THE BIG DEAL ABOUT A SLOPPY WET KISS?

I think it’s important to examine how some people from certain perspectives would end up getting upset / offended / panties-in-a-wad over this particular lyric.

1. Sloppy. The use of the word “sloppy”, when examined out of context, leads to a false implication that God is a haphazard Father, that His affection and attention have little provocation or cause, and perhaps if you’re just bitter or some hyper-spiritual Christian in a theological peeing contest, you might ascribe an implication that God makes mistakes to the word. Again, all of that happens when the word is examined out of context. As with all textual study: read before, read after, and endeavor to understand the way the language is being used.

2. Affection Makes People Uncomfortable. The imagery of an embrace and kiss with Jesus, especially a sloppy one (on the mouth), is a bit uncomfortable for those whose experience with Jesus has refined itself to a mental / right-belief-sort of pursuit. There is a large contingent within the church that has a purely congative pursuit of Jesus. The thought of anything other than sitting down, having some sparkling water, and discussing the deep truths of the scriptures when the first meet Jesus is slightly appalling. Embracing and kissing might be a tad uncomfortable, but apparently they were quite common in the culture of the early church (reference: Romans 16:16, 1 Cor. 16:20, 1 Peter 5:14).

3. It Matters Who Jesus Is To You. One of the greatest abuses of the Gospel is that we often wrap the message of Jesus around us, our will, and our message. There are a lot of different Jesus’ out there, especially in our Western, Americanized version of Christianity. Maybe you serve drill-sargent Jesus, who kicks your butt when you make mistakes. Maybe you are following mommy Jesus, who holds your hands, cries with you when your feelings get hurt, and tells you that its going to get better. Maybe your trying to follow professor Jesus, who gives you a lot of books to read and is constantly inviting you into debates where you can prove your new, superior knowledge. You might even be following popular, cool Jesus, that tries to fit in and be as non-offensive and loving to folks as possible. If you’re not comfortable with an affectionate Jesus, a sloppy wet kiss is definitely going to make you a little uncomfortable.

WHATS THE REAL DEAL WITH A SLOPPY WET KISS?

1. Colloquialism. Understand that John Mark is distinctively southern. If you’re not from the south, you won’t get this. Southern language is filled, not only with a beautiful twang, but a brilliant selection of colloquialism. These phrases mean something locally they don’t mean everywhere else. You might ask: “Why does John Mark use this type of confusing language? Wouldn’t it just be easier to use more direct wording, communicate in way that clearly expresses what the author is saying?” Well … that makes sense to me, but apparently it didn’t make sense to Jesus. Jesus used loaded language all through the Gospels that had rich, hidden meanings.  I think “Jesus did it” is about as good a reason to do something as you could come up with.

2. The Moment / The Message. Context is everything when understanding what is written. Read before. Read after. Gain perspective. The moment this line drops is when John Mark’s friend, Stephen, who the narrative of the song is about, meets Jesus: “Heaven (Jesus) meets earth (Stephen) like a sloppy wet kiss.” If you don’t understand the moment & the message, it’s impossible to understand the few words you’ve zeroed in on. This is a song about the abundant love that God has for us, in redemption and in tragedy. I love Jesus. When I think of the moment that I finally meet him face-to-face, I’m more willing to tell you that there will be tears, affection, and joy. Affectionate is an understatement for what I expect in that moment.

3. “A Sloppy Wet Kiss”. In the South, this term is used to describe an overly affectionate kiss. It’s not necessarily even used to describe a passionate kiss, like kisses shared between wives and husbands. I remember as a child my grandmother threatening to give me a “sloppy wet kiss”. It was the threat of more affection than I could handle. It was a bit uncomfortable. I’m very content knowing that Jesus is overly affectionate. The most content and loved I’ve ever felt has been in His tangible presence. If you’re uncomfortable with an affectionate Jesus, you might need to revisit some scriptures to gain a greater perspective and put some childish perspectives aside of who Jesus is.

JESUS, AFFECTION, & AN OBSERVATION

In the scriptures there’s a moment of scandalous affection between Jesus and a “sinful” woman. In Luke 7, a woman simply described as a “sinner” fell to the feet of Jesus weeping. Her tears fell upon Jesus’ bare feet. She kissed his feet. Then she broke open a flask of perfume and poured it over his feet. With her hair down, she began to wipe up his feet … cleansing the feet of Jesus.

This might seem a bit risque today; it was down-right scandalous in Jesus’ day.

Contextualized, it’s the equivalent of a woman entering a church staff meeting and performing some sort of lap-dance while offering tears of repentance to the pastor.

If Jesus was on staff at most churches today and this went down, He would have been fired after the show.

It’s gets better …

Jesus responds to the criticism (which we all would be thinking if we were in the room) with a small parable.

He starts by talking about money and debt: One man owes a lot of money. One a small sum. Both debts are forgiven … who would love more?

“The one, I suppose, for whom the larger debt was canceled” replied Simon.

“You have judged rightly.”

Right there, Jesus opens the door to overly-affectionate responses to His great love for us.

If you’re uncomfortable with a sloppy wet kiss, then you’re probably the guy in the back of the room muttering under his breath “If this man were a prophet, he would have known who and what sort of woman this is who is touching him, for she is a sinner.” (Luke 7:39)

If you’re uncomfortable with a sloppy wet kiss manifesting into your relationship with Jesus you might just be missing one of the most significant components of a healthy relationship with our Lord: adoration & affection towards Jesus in response to His great love for us.

Ultimately, if you’re uncomfortable with a sloppy wet kiss, you’re probably uncomfortable with the real Jesus.

Maybe you need to get to a quiet place, put on some Boys II Men, and remember what it was like in middle-school, where holding a hand and getting note between classes made your heart race.

Maybe you need to get ready to have your first sloppy wet kiss with the only one who will ever love you completely.

Perhaps it’s time to take some moments to understand what you’re hearing, to be willing to be uncomfortable, and find the beauty in the tension.

Lay aside the regrets and experience His extravagant love:

From “How He Loves”

We are His portion and He is our prize.
Drawn to redemption by the Grace in His eyes.
If Grace is an ocean, we’re all sinking.
So, heaven meets earth like a sloppy wet kiss
And my heart stirs violently inside of my chest
I don’t have to time to maintain these regrets
When I think about the way …
He loves us. Oh, How He loves us …

105 Comments

  1. Stuart
    6 years ago

    Good blog bro!

    Reply

    • Larry
      6 years ago

      I know plenty of people who love the song, love Jesus passionately, and are yet less than enthusiastic about that particular line. Mark writes incredible vertical songs to Jesus,. Be careful in your defense that you do not resort to the judgmental condescension you are accusing others of, (John Mark’s songs aren’t for your average worship leader in your average church. & Ultimately, if you’re uncomfortable with a sloppy wet kiss, you’re probably uncomfortable with the real Jesus.) . Much of what you say is excellent, but an air of spiritual superiority seems to be bleeding through in places, (Ultimately, if you’re uncomfortable with a sloppy wet kiss, you’re probably uncomfortable with the real Jesus.). What may be beautiful imagery to one, may something less that beautiful to others. Sure, some people are petty and mean, others just happen to have other tastes. That doesn’t necessarily make the spiritual low-brows. Grace needs to be extended both ways. Worship leaders need to have enough humility that they do not feel compelled to shove something down the throats of a captive congregation.

      Reply

      • Kevin Simmons
        6 years ago

        Larry … thanks for the thoughts, brother.

        Of coarse there’s air of “superiority”, you can’t defend something you’re not confident in and this was written as a “defense” of the lyrics, not simply to address preference in worship styles.

        And for the next time you share publicly & tell someone “there’s an air of spiritual superiority (that) seems to be bleeding through in places” – that statement immediately makes the same implication in reverse.

        Grace and peace, brother.

        Reply

      • David Drozdowski
        3 years ago

        Just stumbled across this. Of course it’s not that anything God does is sloppy, but if one is offended by one lyric instead of considering that it doesn’t mean careless or romantic, if one gets hung up on the passionate and undeserved nature of Heaven meeting Earth and has to reduce it to simply the idea that we didn’t see it coming (the Kingdom of Heaven is a little bit better and more dramatic than unforeseen), there is a problem… If one can’t take the sloppy part as our part colabouring with Him, there is a problem. The problem isn’t even not liking a lyric or even the whole song, but slamming JMM and others who sing it as though it were some cooky theological statement, as some do? That’s immature religion, and I’m going with “Ultimately, if you’re uncomfortable with a sloppy wet kiss, you’re probably uncomfortable with the real Jesus.”

        Reply

    • Kevin Simmons
      6 years ago

      I LOVE STUART CLARK. like a brother or a good friend … nothing overly affectionate like that. gross.

      Just saying.

      Reply

    • odie bg
      6 years ago

      I am not ashamed of the gospel.

      Reply

    • Rhonda
      6 years ago

      I just want to let everyone know how I feel about the “sloppy wet kiss”…..I see it like my son, when he was 2 or 3, his mouth was sticky with “sucker” sloppy liquid…to more honest, slobber….like a child, a wonderful, loving child, loving you with all that they are….messy, yucky, but with a heart full of LOVE!!! Just like Jesus said, you must be like a child to enter the kingdom….

      Reply

      • brooke
        6 years ago

        I love this post. I wondered why the words were changed and I could never understand what he was saying in the edited version. I love the song the way it was written. I am with Rhonda. When I think of a sloppy wet kiss, I think about my little boy-not hormonal teenagers. What matters is where the writer’s heart was when he wrote this song. Do those who criticize it stop to think that he was writing the words that God gave him and the result was a POWERFUL worship song?
        Thank you for sharing your thoughts about this.

        Reply

  2. Alise
    6 years ago

    Fantastic blog. Really gets to the heart of it.

    If I may, can you please edit to make sure that Bryan Allain gets credit for writing the blog about the potential other lyrics? He was guesting for Acuff that day. It’s a phenomenal post and I hate to see the author not get his due.

    Again, awesome post. I love it!

    Reply

    • Kevin Simmons
      6 years ago

      I got the correction! Thanks for letting me know. And thanks for stopping by to read and share.

      Reply

  3. Russ Hutto
    6 years ago

    Kevin, great article! I’m gonna tweet it out to our account! Thanks for writing a well-thought and common sense post about this controversial song. Being from the south, I’ve never had a problem with the line sloppy wet kiss and I think it’s something about JMM that a lot of people aren’t aware of. Southerners use A LOT of very descriptive colloquialisms ALL THE TIME! How could we expect him not to as he writes from who and where he is!

    Blessings!

    Reply

    • Russ Hutto
      6 years ago

      P.S. I’d love to set up a review for you album over on theworshipcommunity.com if you’re interested! Thanks!

      Reply

    • Kevin Simmons
      6 years ago

      Thanks, Russ. It’s humbling to get to share my perspective and see that it is actually resonating with people.

      Reply

  4. eloranicole
    6 years ago

    this is spectacular.

    Reply

    • Kevin Simmons
      6 years ago

      Thanks for the encouragement! Stick around and let me know what you think of what I’m writing in the future.

      Reply

  5. clintm
    6 years ago

    In defense of Bryan Allain: Jon Acuff did not write the funny blog about the sloppy wet kiss, it was a guest post from Bryan Allain.

    http://bryanallain.com/archives/2011/03/25/me-in-3-minutes/

    Reply

  6. Chad
    6 years ago

    Good stuff dude. I wouldn’t think the comparison between a lap dance and the woman kissing His feet is the same (and it was Simon the Pharisee; not Simon Peter that responded to Jesus), but overall you nailed it.

    Reply

    • Kevin Simmons
      6 years ago

      Thanks for the correction on the Simon confusion! Got it!

      As far as the lap dance statement: I think we’re a little desensitized to how scandalous this display of affection between a man and a woman was in that historical & cultural context. There’s a lot of loaded imagery in there. Obviously, it’s my statement is a bit of an overstatement, but I rather enjoy hyperbole. Sometimes that’s what takes the make the point when we’ve lost a little perspective.

      Mostly, I think that in this moment Jesus demonstrates how comfortable God is with having an overly-affectionate relationship with us.

      From my simple perspective, there is much love because much has been forgiven. It’s pretty difficult for me to hold it back. I’m down with a sloppy wet kiss.

      Reply

      • Chad
        6 years ago

        I agree brother. I knew what you were getting at, but I think the difference would be the sexualized nature of the lap dance can’t really be sanctified… unless we’re talking about husband and wife stuff. ;-)

        Reply

        • Chad
          6 years ago

          To clarify, I just don’t believe those can be “equated”. Worshiping Jesus by weeping tears of repentance on His feet and kissing them isn’t the same as a lap dance, in respect to the actual heart and act of worship itself. Know what I mean? I just think there’s gotta be another analogy you can use to make the point of the scandalous nature (which it definitely was).

          I think it’d be much more the equivalent of a porn star or stripper walking in and bowing before Him dressed in her pre-Jesus clothes, kissing His feet and weeping tears of repentance. I just can’t bring a lap dance into the equation as there’s no way to make a lap dance a form of worship (except for the clause I mentioned previously). ;-)

          Anyway, just wanted to throw that out there. God bless brother!

          Reply

          • Kevin Simmons
            6 years ago

            We’ll have to disagree to disagree.

  7. Megan at SortaCrunchy
    6 years ago

    That song . . . it’s too much to say here. It means a LOT to me.

    Thank you for this thoughtful look at and defense of it.

    “The one, I suppose, for whom the larger debt was canceled”

    Pierces me all over again.

    Reply

  8. Jenn
    6 years ago

    Thank you… I have struggled since this song hit the main stream radio, that the lyrics were changed. It made me sad to think that people were missing the point behind that line.

    Reply

  9. Aaron
    6 years ago

    “Contextualized, it’s the equivalent of a woman entering a church staff meeting and performing some sort of lap-dance while offering tears of repentance to the pastor.”

    Wrong. Contextualized to 2011, it would be more like a stripper or prostitute coming into a church staff meeting offering to wash the pastor’s BMW with her lingirie as an act of repentace. The woman didn’t offer her services to Jesus; rather, the only thing she had of earthly value as an offering outside of her sinful behavior.

    “Ultimately, if you’re uncomfortable with a sloppy wet kiss, you’re probably uncomfortable with the real Jesus.”

    I’m tired of the notion that if one is uncomfortable with this lyric that they just don’t get it. Or, more broadly, that if one doesn’t appreciate the obtuseness of the art that one doesn’t “get it.” I totally understand JMM’s lyric and I think it is beautiful in it’s imagery; however, I wouldn’t expect my congregation to embrace it. Why? Becuase it’s going to be distracting to most people. That doesn’t mean most people are stupid, have low intellect, or are otherwise uncapable of understanding art. I just means the lyric may produce an image that is more distracting to some than it is helpful in more fully connecting with God in worship. I like the lyric, but I will not judge someone’s understanding of the “real Jesus” if they have an issue with it.

    Reply

    • Kevin Simmons
      6 years ago

      Thanks for your thoughts Aaron!

      To respond:

      The point being made with stripper / lap dance comment was that scandalous affection was being leveraged ON Jesus (physically) not just TOWARD Him. The intention of discussing all of this was to simply expose Jesus as affectionate. Given the spectrum of American Christianity, there are those on that are purely affectionate (experiential) in their approach to knowing and following Jesus. This point was more or less directed at those on the other extreme – those who are more cerebral in their approach to knowing and following Jesus. Affection and adoration are central to worship. For a lot of us, affection makes us a little uncomfortable. I examined that as one reasons that the lyric might be difficult for some to process.

      And … I completely respect your thoughts on the line “Ultimately, if you’re uncomfortable with a sloppy wet kiss, you’re probably uncomfortable with the real Jesus.” Being uncomfortable is a part of being transformed. There are things about Jesus that make me significantly uncomfortable right now. I’m not running from the tension, though. Hopefully, I’m letting the tension shape me. That’s more or less what I was driving at with that statement.

      Also, just a thought on using the lyric in corporate worship: I personally think it’s healthy to sing songs that have lines and lyrics that make people think and even make people a little uncomfortable.

      Love ya, bro.

      Reply

      • Aaron
        6 years ago

        Kevin, you do well with criticism! I’m sure that at times you want to reach through your screen and smack folks up beside the head.

        The idea of tension is something I’ve been noodling on a lot lately. Tension (read conflict) among ideas is crucial. If we all just adopt a uniform stance on a subject then we will certainly and collectively reject opposing ideas. However, if we consciously place ourselves squarely within the space of conflicting ideas, we can only be bettered by the experience. Ever heard of a Halocline? It’s the meeting of fresh water and salt water, for lack of a better definition. It’s a very conflicting and harsh environment. However, scientists have found some of the most resiliant little organisms that live there. Those micro-buggers are like our ideas. They toughen up under tension and conflict and ultimately can survive.

        Maybe that’s not what you meant by tension but thought it was worth sharing.

        Good on ya.

        Reply

        • Kevin Simmons
          6 years ago

          Tension erodes our preferences and reveals our convictions. I love that God, through His mercy, handed us some non-negotables (example: the Who of worship) and allowed us to resolve to convictions that altogether have legitimacy (example: the how of worship). Tension simply gets us to our convictions faster, doesn’t it?

          Reply

          • Aaron
            6 years ago

            Indeed!

  10. Aaron
    6 years ago

    To be fair, this is the greatest line of your post:

    “Perhaps it time to take some moments to understand what you’re hearing, to be willing to be uncomfortable, and find the beauty in the tension.”

    That was very well said.

    Reply

  11. Melanie
    6 years ago

    Great review, Kevin! In all honesty, I have yet to hear the song. No one has covered it in our worship services, so I’m really behind. :-) I’ve read many discussions over this song, and I can’t really think of a good reason to be against the way the song is written (btw, great job explaining the southern colloquialism). From my understanding, the church is Christ’s bride. When Christ comes for his bride, there is going to be a “wedding feast.” What happens after the “reception”? Do not the husband and wive consummate their marriage? I wonder how a song would go over in the church if someone wrote, “Jesus will one day consummate his marriage to his bride.” Oh boy, more fireworks. If people get offended at the words “sloppy wet kiss” they will likely get even more upset with a song that takes the Song of Solomon approach to the love between Christ and his bride. Just my thought, even though I haven’t heard the song. Thanks for the insightful words. Blessings!

    Reply

    • Kevin Simmons
      6 years ago

      If you've never heard the song, here's a great video introduction to it:

      How He Loves - John Mark McMillan Vimeo.

      Reply

      • Deborah Cressman
        6 years ago

        I didn’t realize there was such an issue over those words but that explains why I’ve sung different words at different places. God has given me songs (I agree on what you said about a writer) and I was a worship leader with my husband and we were led to step down for awhile. We so love the intimate songs with Jesus, but many can’t relate. I love these words. I can see where some get offended. But I always pictured the words…HIS Grace like an OCEAN. Then that ocean smashing into the hard earth with it’s land and oceans (and hardened hearts)and I’m in the middle of it! That IS a sloppy,wet kiss! And THAT’s the love and grace He has for me! I’m so glad He loves me that much! What is sensual or sexual about that? I think we need to examine our hearts and ask why we are offended and start cleaning up our thoughts if we are going to help a lost generation that is very sexual oriented and desperately needs to know the pure,vast, powerful,and unconditional love of God. He is coming back for His bride and He is our Bridegroom and I believe He is going to release even more love songs! These are my thoughts. Thanks for sharing yours!

        Reply

  12. Catherine
    6 years ago

    i just followed this over from jmm’s tweet about it. we’re attendees of a southern church that sings a lot of jmm songs – it is true that this song HAS to be looked at in context – both within and outside of the text. thank you for making this very valid point. you summed up my feeling on the matter quite well in your opening statements: the point to worship is Jesus. right on.

    Reply

  13. Michael Barry
    6 years ago

    Yeah this was certainly a good post not only in defense of “sloppy wet kiss”, but worship as well. When I’ve tried to defend this to even pastors and priests, I compared it to the way Jesus died for us. He didn’t die in his sleep or have his angels save him, he took the most brutal sloppiest way out. Because he yearns for us in such a way and all he wants is to be loved back. The problem is in many ways we put God in a box because we think we know him, what he thinks, and what he’s going to do. When really there’s only one thing I’m completely sure of; he loves us so much and he’ll do whatever it takes, (even die on a cross), to let us know it. To me that’s a sloppy wet kiss.

    Reply

  14. Adam
    6 years ago

    We talk about the ‘who’ and ‘how’ of worship. The ‘how’ because we care about serving the ‘who.’ I view our mission as a praise team as being the lead vehicle in the procession of engaging, so it does matter that we stay on the road. I personally become concerned when we start becoming more focused on the production rather than spending that time in actual worship.

    Last week I went to watch a friend serve as a guest speaker in a local church. Somehow I knew as soon as they started playing ‘How He Loves’ that I was going to hear ‘unforeseen kiss.’ This church has been compared to my church as its conservative brother. I could go into other thing that I personally didn’t care for; things I find to have common character with a ‘unforeseen kiss’ community, but at the end of the service I had to conclude that it spiritual, and that I felt God was present in their worship… if it is my place to make those assertions.

    I see where you are coming from in terms of affection and/or embracing love as something that makes people uncomfortable. I would have to say that it is probably more so on the side of male interactions with spirituality. I often look out into worship and see men with their arms crossed, standing next to a woman with her hands raised during a song like How He Loves. Talking to men, I find they’d rather talk about theological concepts than spiritual reality. I often wonder if there is disconnect when talking about affection from a ‘gendered’ deity.

    Reply

    • Kevin Simmons
      6 years ago

      Adam … I agree that we need to care about the “how” of worship. The “how” affects our capacity to communicate & share the “who” in a way that people will actually understand and receive.

      Just to clarify “HOW” refers to methodology. You can worship Jesus in a LOT of different ways. More or less, this blog was addressing the “HOW” question as it pertains to the lyrics we use.

      Really, my heart is that we (the church) focus on the “WHO” more passionately than we do the “HOW” of worship.

      It’s time we zero-in on Jesus when we talk about worship.

      Reply

  15. Michael
    6 years ago

    No matter what anybody says…I love that line. Even without the true context and understanding of the south, that line wrecked me ;). If there’s anyone I want a sloppy wet kiss from, it would be Jesus! These people obviously have problems with other songs like, Jesus Lover of My Soul…or the chorus and Psalm the says, As the deer panteth for the waters, so my soul longs after you.
    I think peoe should stop being so religious and just fall head over heals for Jesus ;)

    Reply

  16. Lali
    6 years ago

    I really liked this and I want to say something about my point of view.
    I can relate this to the daily life of the human being. First, we are always trying to get God down here, we compare Him with us, and we don’t realize that He is not human so it’s not the same receiving a kiss from your grandma than from Him, it’s metaphorical. Then, I think the concept of a kiss is more related to the kind of feelings we get in the moment and the reasons of why we do it, it’s a way of showing feelings, affection, love.
    There must be a reason why God created kisses, so we can not only feel the love but live it. Maybe we can not only feel God, but be with Him face to face, isn’t it the point?
    I love controversial; it makes you trust even more in God. You can see that when evil tries to throw you down it’s because God has something even bigger behind the courtains… This happens here. God OBVIOSLY has something too big with this song and Mark, and has proved it. So we don’t need to prove anything to people because God has it in His hands :)
    I don’t know how to express some things here, English is not my language… but I think I could say kind of what I wanted.
    :)

    Reply

    • Kevin Simmons
      6 years ago

      Thanks for stopping by, Lali, and contributing to the conversation! Stay up with what I’m writing and let me know what you think.

      Reply

  17. Robin Warden
    6 years ago

    Great blog posting!
    Great song with a great line!
    You hit the nail on the head, brotha.
    Blessings to you.

    Reply

    • Kevin Simmons
      6 years ago

      Glad I can be a brotha! Come back and check out the blog out regularly.

      Reply

  18. Rebecca
    6 years ago

    bold. beautiful. thanks!

    Reply

    • Kevin Simmons
      6 years ago

      Thanks, Rebecca! Stay up with the blog and let me know what you think!

      Reply

  19. Cat
    6 years ago

    Very well, said. When I first heard that song years and years ago, I loved it because the lyrics are so raw and honest. Most Christian music seems to avoid any sort of imagery, so I was absolutely thrilled to hear an artist using such poetic lyrics to talk about real issues. Then, a few years later, I met some really awesome Christian friends who also like really awesome music and I was shocked to hear that they hated that lyric. It doesn’t make sense to me–it’s not an emotion-based-Gospel, or an attempt to “feminize” or emasculate God or whatever else people want to say it is. It’s a good, descriptive lyric. Maybe it’s hard for Christians to process something like that because we hear so very little truly good lyrics in contemporary Christian music. Who knows? At any rate, John Mark is one of my favorite artist/song-writers (of any genre), because he is honest and he tries new things, and because of the way he handled the “controversy’ associated with this one little lyric.

    Reply

    • Kevin Simmons
      6 years ago

      Thanks, Cat. John Mark is one of my favorite artists too (of all genres). It’s just nice to hear creative, honest music that has substance to it. That’s really why I took the time to defend the lyric.

      Reply

  20. Sara Beth
    6 years ago

    LOVE this. I have to admit, when I heard this song on the radio by the David Crowder band, I didn’t really care for it. Then I saw John Mark McMillan in concert with Jeremy Camp and a few others, heard him sing the song and it blew me away. He sang it with such passion. I noticed the lyric change and researched it, found out HE wrote it, and was so disappointed that the lyrics were changed. I couldn’t agree more. We as Christians need to stop focusing on WHO not how we worship. This also brings to mind a Tobymac song, Lose my Soul. Great song, love it. Heard it on the radio, however, and they changed the lyrics once again regarding the “pimp” line. I could bring up a few more examples, but won’t. Just love your blog, very refreshing. =) And I for one, when I hear “sloppy wet kiss” the LAST thing I think about is a stripper and a lap dance. I think of throwing my arms around my husband when he gets home from work and planting one on him. This isn’t sexual, so much as an I love you, I miss you, I’m glad you’re here. I see it as more affectionate, caught up in the joy of it… if that makes sense.

    Reply

    • Kevin Simmons
      6 years ago

      I don’t want to get in an argument and start comparing versions / covers. My only point was to spend a few moments stepping up and defending the lyric.

      Thanks for commenting Sara Beth!

      Reply

      • Brendan Madden
        5 years ago

        I totally agree. But it’s hard to point out why the original is so important and moving without in any way saying that the cover is inferior. I guess you need to leave the cover out of the conversation completely. When I stumbled across this song, the original, it was actually after finding a cover of it by a girl called Ashley Hames on Youtube, and I’d only found that because I was looking for a Lisa Hannigan song and it came up. I saw John Mark credited and looked him up… I read his blog and saw the video about the meaning behind the song… It gave me a totally fresh facet of visibility of who God is, and what his love is like, and it introduced me to a new understanding of the God of the Old Testament (I mean, God, as revealed in the Old Testament, God being unchanging).

        I think that this song gives us a glimpse of one particular aspect of God’s undefinable love, and I think that it’s a mistake to try to say that anything can conclusively define not only God’s love, but love in general. I love that John Mark never does that, but he does use his songs to communicate particular expressions of love.

        Have you ever seen the film “About a Boy?” That sloppy wet kiss line is just almost exactly like a scene where the boy in the film is being walked to school by his mum,

        “You don’t have to walk me to school any more you know, I know the way”

        “What if I like walking you to school?”

        Boy smiles. They walk off. Pep talk just before the school gates, and then as boy crosses the playground, his mum blurts out, “I love you Marcus,” everyone in the yard starts shouting at him jeering, “I love you Marcus, I love you…”, and like, for me, I remember when I was a kid and I’d be like to my mum, don’t even meet me at the school gate, I know how much you love me and it’s embarrassing, you can’t hide it, and that’s the particular aspect of the fatherly love of God, that that particular line conveys.

        I’ve just written about the song on my own blog, if you want to see what I have to say. :-)

        http://blog.brendanjoseph.com/#1920001/How-He-Loves-by-John-Mark-McMillan

        Reply

  21. Amanda
    6 years ago

    I love worshiping. I love thinking about the intensity of Jesus’ affections for us. I read Song of Solomon as being ultimately about the love between Christ and His church. I totally understand the imagery JMM intended with “sloppy wet kiss.” I still immensely dislike the line.

    For me, it’s the slobber factor. When my brother was little, he gave sloppy wet kisses. I liked that he loved me but I always grimaced a little and waited until he wasn’t looking to wipe my face. Wet kisses have always grossed me out. I understand that’s just my opinion, but that also means I don’t sing that line.

    I absolutely agree that it is not right to slander JMM over the lyrics, but I also think it’s perfectly fine if people don’t care for that line and would prefer not to sing it. Since it’s not the Bible, it’s just one person’s poetic opinion versus another’s. Seems to me people are pretty free to take it or leave it as they want without it reflecting on their willingness to receive affection from Jesus.

    Reply

    • Kevin Simmons
      6 years ago

      I’m pretty sure there’s nothing about a sloppy wet kiss that’s comfortable.

      I’m also pretty sure that discomfort has been the most significant catalyst for change in my life (and it’s something Jesus endured and promised would be a part of our lives as well).

      We’re expecting our first child in a few months. I’m totally excited about her slobber. If I could get a sloppy wet kiss from her today … it would be nothing short of amazing.

      Slobbers not for everyone! Thanks for sharing your perspective, Amanda.

      Reply

      • Amanda
        6 years ago

        I’d add to your comment that the discomfort of a sloppy wet kiss is markedly different from the discomfort faced by Jesus on the cross, or by me in trials in my life (even ones divinely orchestrated to show me God’s love), or when Jesus calls me to do things out of my comfort zone, or even by Him insisting on loving me out of my own brokenness and woundedness, and the “messy” process that involves. Not that JMM’s lyric *can’t* do those things for *somebody*, but it in no way makes me think of that kind of Spirit-initiated discomfort. :) Which is why I opt not to sing it.

        I don’t think a subjective song lyric is something I particularly need to wrestle through when I’m trying to worship Jesus. Raw truth, I’m willing to engage with–i.e. “Jesus extravagantly loves me beyond what I could ever imagine, in spite of my insecurity, weakness, and fear”–which I think is JMM’s point–involves plenty of tension, and I definitely DO need to grapple with that before the Lord. But, “try not to think of the drool. Try not to think of the drool” doesn’t work for me in that way.

        Again, I’m not saying the lyric is bad/wrong/unbiblical; I don’t think it is at all. I think the meaning behind it is great, and I think if the language works for people, that’s awesome. But I also don’t think that that specific language is helpful for *everyone* who hears it, and I also think that’s actually OK.

        Reply

        • Kevin Simmons
          6 years ago

          The subtle point I was trying to make is that discomfort comes in the form of pain & some times in more subtle ways such as joy, appreciation, and affection.

          The title of this blog pretty much explains how I’ve approached it: it’s a defense. I’m not trying to argue the other side (or even concede to it).

          But … I understand. ;)

          Reply

  22. Albert
    6 years ago

    Simply, this is the only post I would put next to JMM’s own post about this song. Thanks for your defense and presenting a bigger picture of where the song takes us to Jesus.

    Reply

    • Kevin Simmons
      6 years ago

      Wow, Albert! That’s humbling. Thank you for your kind words.

      Reply

  23. Holly
    6 years ago

    I couldn’t agree more with what you have said. I love the idea that when we are the most uncomfortable, the most change happens.

    This line from your post, for me, have created some of the most life giving worship moments.
    “Perhaps it’s time to take some moments to understand what you’re hearing, to be willing to be uncomfortable, and find the beauty in the tension.”

    Reply

    • Kevin Simmons
      6 years ago

      To steal the theme from Catalyst’s 2010 East Coast Conference … The Tension Is Good!

      Thanks for your thoughts.

      Reply

  24. Andrew
    6 years ago

    If the lyrics of a Christian music song don’t offend you somewhat, then the songs aren’t fulfilling their purpose. John mark wanted us to understand in full how crazy gods love for us is. God is an extremely affectionate god who loves us through every aspect of our lives. And if this concept offends you, I think that you should really think about who Jesus is and what role he plays on your life. Many songs on the radio are described as “positive” and “encouraging”. But these are just synonyms for “no content”. John mark wanted to celebrate that gods love for us is not the “positive” or “encouraging” cliche love that we hear on the radio. It is a passionate and intense live that we can’t even begin to fathom. We should not be offended by this line. We should celebrate it.

    Reply

    • Kevin Simmons
      6 years ago

      In general, truth should provide a bit of “tension” and make you feel “uncomfortable”. It’s good to be encouraged & we all sinking in the ocean of God’s grace. Since Jesus was full of “grace and truth” (John 1:14), the expressions of our worship should be as well.

      Reply

  25. anita
    6 years ago

    great post… got to say if you left out the contextualized lap dance bit it would be an excellent post.

    couple of reasons why- it distracts from the overall post and its points and what Mary did was not a sexual act, it was a scandalous act. A lap dance isn’t necessarily scandalous in this day and age (even in church but don’t get me started) but it is sexual….and therefore NOT contextual.

    Reply

    • Kevin Simmons
      6 years ago

      Thanks for your thoughts!

      In that passage (Luke 7) there is quite a bit of loaded language concerning the way in which the “sinful” woman interacts with Jesus.

      The actions taken by the woman most certainly could have been perceived as not just overly affectionate, but sexual in that historical, cultural context.

      I’m pretty sure there’s a better analogy to interject there, though, because the one I used doesn’t satisfy all the dynamics I was trying to convey.

      Thanks again!

      Reply

  26. Paul Jenkins
    6 years ago

    Great job, Kevin. It’s always a bit unnerving to throw out where we stand on issues that have become as touchy as this, but you did a fantastic piece of writing here about a song I absolutely love.

    Reply

    • Kevin Simmons
      6 years ago

      Thanks for the encouragement, Paul, and thanks for reading it. :)

      Reply

  27. Michele Breen
    6 years ago

    I don’t like a sloppy wet kiss from my man. I don’t want to think of one from my grandmother or Jesus.
    Love the song but I change the words in my head when I sing it. We are not talking the written Word here. I have changed words to songs before. They are not gospel.
    I think this article started of well but ended very harsh.
    Love the guy just the same.

    Reply

    • Kevin Simmons
      6 years ago

      Thanks for your thoughts Michelle.

      You’re right: worship songs are NOT the written Word and they are not the Gospel. They are, however, expressions of the Scriptures, and, therefore, the Gospel. As with anything that expresses such sacred truth (the WHO of worship), we should take them seriously.

      I’m also kinda glad that you found portions comfortable and portions uncomfortable. John 1:14 tells us Jesus came in grace and truth. Jesus seems to have a way of making us comfortably uncomfortable.

      Reply

  28. Paul Hedges
    6 years ago

    Thank you for this forum to seek “a more excellent way”. This is my 1st visit here and it seems that the audience is a mature and secure group. I am interested in the “mind of Christ” on a topic. For ten years I traveled extensively and visited dozens of amazing conferences in the US. I bought recordings of almost every meeting and hold an extensive library. The greatest highlights to me were/have been the corporate worship experiences. I have replayed many, many of the tapes/VHS and found myself lost in intimate worship afresh. Recently there has been a shift in that the conference recordings do not include the “worship” time. This is a great loss to me, and I understand it is based on copyright issues or contracts with labels. I am a lawyer with a thorough understanding of copyright laws and principles. I sincerely wonder: Who can claim ownership of a worship session? The hungry attendees who come yearning for Him, the Host’s intercessors who prepare the way for a visitation, the speakers who bring fresh bread that inspires many hearts that open fully to Jesus in anticipation, the church/org staff who have laid down their lives to Host the Presence, the Warriors in the church of that city who have contended for their land, the Fathers and Mothers who have raised worshipping Sons and Daughters who make hundred mile journeys to give birth to new corporate expressions? The sanctified musicians play a key role, as do all those who intercede for them. Who owns what fills the earth, the heavens and that room such that it becomes their property to hold to the exclusion of the mighty army whose visible and invisible worship becomes fire and incense that fills eternity? I do not criticize and do not know the answer. Does Holy Spirit “own” the worship, or….did we really g-i-v-e it all to Jesus? His Will be DONE!

    Reply

  29. Aaron
    6 years ago

    I remember printing out the chord sheet for “How He Loves” to sing at men’s bible study a few months ago, and replacing the “sloppy wet kiss” lyric with the cleaner, more acceptable, “unforeseen kiss” lyric. I loved the “sloppy” lyric myself, but didn’t know how the men would react to it because of the imagery it may bring up. I was so happy to read your take on the same issue. Thanks Kevin!

    Reply

    • Kevin Simmons
      6 years ago

      Thanks for the comments and sharing the blog Aaron. Keep going for it, brother!

      Reply

  30. Elizabeth
    6 years ago

    Overall, a great post…thanks.

    However, I have to say I felt a bit the same way as Larry (2nd comment). Do you not see how you might come across as a bit condescending and proud by saying these songs are “not for your average worship leader, not for your average church”? The implied meaning is that you have to be above average as an artist, musician, and Christian to really ‘get’ it.

    It’s almost gnosticism.

    I happen to agree with pretty much everything you wrote. I just think the tone is a little arrogant.

    Reply

    • Kevin Simmons
      6 years ago

      Elizabeth, this was written as a defense for the validity of the lyrics John Mark used originally in the presence of some pretty significant criticism, not preference. So, yes, there was a pretty staunch, firm stance taken as I wrote this.

      The statement about average worship leader / average church had to do with the structure of the songs John Mark writes (which I clarified). John Mark doesn’t particularly write songs that are designed to be reproduced. Most worship music has a pretty simple structure, even though the orchestration on top of it can be complex. John Mark’s songs just aren’t easily reproduced. That’s the beauty of HHL … it is simple – four chords – with a simple chorus. It is a song that you can easily reproduce. Which is why it is the only John Mark song that we do during our corporate worship sets in our church.

      And as far as Gnosticism, that’s a pretty heavy indictment. I began by saying that I look forward to the day when the “how” of worship (our way of ministering) is not talked about as much as the “Who” of worship. Jesus is the “Who” of worship. It’s really that simple. The rest of conversation most often centers on style and preference.

      Thanks, again … Grace & Peace.

      Reply

  31. outpourworship
    6 years ago

    You might consider it somewhat flattery that your post, like the song, has provoked such focus on our affectionate loving God, yet one phrase stands to cause some who do not see the depth of its point to question the validity of imagery in order to stir our thinking. Wow, the correlation of a sloppy wet kiss and a lap dance! Sure, you might have chosen a different way to relate the scandalous affection, but overall, I totally follow your perspective. I actually like the [unmentioned artist] and found it great that they moved this song into a realm where more people could share in its message. I honestly couldn’t tell what they changed the lyrics to, but knew that I was always pierced by that sloppy wet kiss version! Thank you for a great post, and thank you, John Mark, for such a beautiful song. I hope my songs will affect even a small number of people in the intense way yours have!

    Reply

    • Kevin Simmons
      6 years ago

      I think humbling is the first word that comes to mind. I love John Mark and have a great deal of respect for what he’s doing. It’s difficult to blaze a path. You need the people who are “with” you to stand “with” you when you’re out front like that.

      Reply

  32. Sarah Swartz
    6 years ago

    Beautifully written. I would so much rather get an uncomfortable amount of Jesus love than anything else in the world. I think once we really grasp how the Father loves us, then we are freed to truly live by the spirit and to love others. If we haven’t experainced the Father’s love then we have nothing but selfish human love to pour out to people. Selfish “love” never ends well or last long.

    Reply

    • Kevin Simmons
      6 years ago

      We love because He first loved us, right? (1 John 4:19)

      To quote my good friend Nikita Koloff (the former Pro Wrestler known as “the Russian Nightmare”), the only way we can truly love someone is with the love of Jesus.

      Reply

  33. Elizabeth
    6 years ago

    Thanks, Kevin.

    As I said, I happen to agree with your viewpoint. It just seemed like you were a bit dismissive of anyone who, for any reason, might think differently about the lyric. I think there are people out there who love Jesus passionately who might dislike the lyric for any number of legitimate reasons. Doesn’t mean it’s a bad lyric. Doesn’t mean they are inferior Christians for not liking it.

    It’s very sad that Christians get all bent out of shape over this type of thing.

    Peace.

    Reply

    • Kevin Simmons
      6 years ago

      Thanks for following up!

      I’m pretty sure there’s no such thing as an “inferior Christian”: we’re all being saved through Jesus, our only righteous is in Him, and we’re only justified by HIS work. We’re all in the same boat, and it’s pretty sad when we can’t act like it.

      Grace & Peace.

      Reply

  34. Eric
    6 years ago

    Amazing blog on this subject. I’m so bummed that church goer’s get so bent out of shape over this lyric. Shame on them.

    How He Loves…

    Reply

    • Kevin Simmons
      6 years ago

      More or less I was just trying to defend the lyrics, not draw a light to the people who don’t like them. Obviously, you must address them if you’re going to defend the lyrics, though.

      Thanks for stopping by, reading, and sharing.

      Reply

  35. Cathryn Thomas
    6 years ago

    Brilliant. Have loved that song from the first time i heard it at Morning Star…. (and that was some time ago). That was also my fav. line in the song. But i love John Mark’s stuff…….. as well as that whole crew of NC worship ragamuffins. Keep it real.
    Blessings,
    Cathryn

    Reply

    • Kevin Simmons
      6 years ago

      Thanks, Cathryn … and I love John Mark too. In a brotherly way. Of coarse.

      Reply

  36. Tyler
    6 years ago

    I’ve loved this line of the song since I heard it the first time, and when I lead it for corporate worship, I sing it.

    But I have to agree with Larry and Elizabeth on this one – some of this article just seems to have a subtly arrogant tone. I agree that we should be talking more about who we’re worshiping than how we’re worshiping (though there are clearly Scriptural principles that should inform our corporate worship practices and it’s certainly not wrong to take the “how” seriously, as well), but when you say that and carry on with the type of tone that is prevalent through certain parts of the blog, it seems to undermine your point. It seems to suggest that those who are uncomfortable with the lyric are getting the “how” of worship wrong by disagreeing with you on the use of language.

    Just my thoughts after a quick read. Thanks for defending one of my favorite musicians.

    Reply

    • Kevin Simmons
      6 years ago

      Like I said in reply to both of them: this is not a perspective piece; it’s a defense. It was particularly a defense against those who have criticized his songwriting as unbiblical (or some other sort of attack). That was the entire purpose in writing it. It’s pretty difficult to defend something you don’t believe in.

      However, thanks for you perspective. Grace & Peace brother!

      Reply

  37. bryan a
    6 years ago

    good thoughts, Kevin.

    The funny thing about the post I wrote for Jon is that I have no problem with the line at all. I’m a little sick of the song because it’s getting overplayed here in the my corner of the world, but it is a great song with a great backstory. And I love that JMM doesn’t use traditional verbiage when writing…good for him.

    What triggered the S.C.L. post was the convo i overheard between a worship leader and a youth leader about which version to use. As soon as I heard it I knew that the same convo had probably happened a thousand times already in different churches across America, and I wanted to poke fun at it.

    I hope JMM wasn’t offended by my post. Like he mentioned on Twitter, it wasn’t anything he hasn’t already heard. And yeah, it’s part of being an artist. You put your heart on the line with your art and you put it out there, not knowing what will happen to it once you set it free. Hopefully JMM keeps putting his heart out there for us, because we need him to.

    Reply

    • Kevin Simmons
      6 years ago

      dude. i love you. it’s just that simple.

      and … i liked your post on S.C.L. … soooooo funny!

      -kev

      Reply

  38. Jeremy
    6 years ago

    Thank you. Done.

    Reply

  39. J.Deat
    6 years ago

    Here is John Mark’s reasoning for “sloppy wet kiss.” He wrote: The idea behind the lyric is that the kingdom of heaven and the kingdom of earth converge in a way that is both beautiful and awkwardly messy. Think about the birth of a child, or even the death of Jesus himself. These miracles are both incredibly beautiful and incredibly sloppy (“gory” may be more realistic, but “Heaven meets earth like a gory mess” didn’t seem to have the same ring.” While unforseen kiss sounds more poetic, I have grown not to like this. This is because when I look around I can see God’s “kiss” or love everywhere, it is not unseen. Maybe its a personal thing but I believe that you should go with the original.

    Reply

    • Kevin Simmons
      6 years ago

      Thanks for adding to the conversation, J. If you know John Mark, then you probably understand exactly how intentional he is when he employs certain devises in language. Keep adding to it, brother!

      Reply

  40. Nick Byrd
    6 years ago

    Very well written article, Kevin. I found the link on Twitter through JM, actually..and I’m now reading this for the second time, and a little more in depth. I am a worship musician from Charlotte, NC and I have played at and been to churches that have the sort of viewpoint that ‘sloppy wet kiss’ dosen’t belong in a worship song, and that kind of bothers me. You hit the nail right on the head. When taken out of context, of course the line sounds like it dosent belong, and that’s what a lot of christians who are against it dont realize. JM is a brilliant songwriter as well as musician, and his writing reflects what he believes: Jesus. It honestly changes the tone of the song when the line is removed, for me personally. It bothers me that the lyric has been changed countless times just because it dosent fit into ‘traditional worship’. You’re right, if you dont leave church feeling uncomfortable, then something is wrong. When we get to comfortable in our faith, that means that something needs to shake us. Something needs to be said to make us dive deeper into God. Many leaders will change the lyric or even the song in the set without even a second thought. The truth is that worship, like the church, has evolved over time, and in the end, as long as He is glorified, I dont see a problem. I enjoyed reading your article and I will be passing this along to my fellow musicians and churchgoers. Thanks.

    Reply

    • Kevin Simmons
      6 years ago

      Thanks for your thoughts, Nick. I’m glad it resonated with you.

      Reply

  41. Jon Shows
    6 years ago

    Yes! I just shared the article with a my radio audience on 887fm in monroe, la. I really appreciate your passion and the truth you shared.

    Jon

    Reply

    • Kevin Simmons
      6 years ago

      That is simply humbling. Thank you so much for sharing that with me, Jon!

      Reply

  42. Carol
    6 years ago

    Here is my initial thoughts.
    Haven’t finished reading the article. Too many distractions.(busy time of day here and nearly time for church.) But while our worship team uses the ‘passionate kiss” term, (our worship director didn’t like ‘sloppy wet’) When it comes to a passionate kiss from your BELOVED. Sometimes in that… passion/affection well…you know…it isn’t neat and tidy. Our love for Jesus and HIS love for us should be so on fire that sometimes that affection/ vertical worship isn’t neat and tidy. In order of course, but not necessarily neat and tidy.
    I love leading this song. There are only a couple other worship leaders in our church who choose this song. We had heard it first from another worship team, I was blessed when I suggested that we learn it, that our team pulled it together in one weekend. And God just blessed it from the beginning.

    Reply

    • Kevin Simmons
      6 years ago

      I rather enjoy the moments when it gets untidy, to be honest. Those are beautiful. Thanks for sharing, brother.

      Reply

  43. Violet Black
    6 years ago

    Ow, I don’t like being convicted by other humans. So very uncomfortable!

    >>
    If you’re uncomfortable with a sloppy wet kiss, then you’re probably the guy in the back of the room muttering under his breath “If this man were a prophet, he would have known who and what sort of woman this is who is touching him, for she is a sinner.” (Luke 7:39)

    If you’re uncomfortable with a sloppy wet kiss manifesting into your relationship with Jesus you might just be missing one of the most significant components of a healthy relationship with our Lord: adoration & affection towards Jesus in response to His great love for us.

    Ultimately, if you’re uncomfortable with a sloppy wet kiss, you’re probably uncomfortable with the real Jesus.
    <<

    After some highly uncomfortable soul-searching…you may be pretty accurate in describing me. If I knew for sure that the God I've been clinging to was going to give me the same invasive kind of affection as various acquaintances, relatives, and Job 4:13-16-type spirits I've encountered, there is a very real risk that I would treat Him the same way and distance myself as quickly and thoroughly as possible. It's not a very pleasant realization to come to…

    Now that I have gotten a chance to read about the songwriter's intent, I can understand his mentality a little better, but I rather wish I hadn't come to understand my own.

    Reply

  44. believer
    5 years ago

    I am uncomfortable with ‘a sloppy wet kiss’ becuase I am a pathetic 35 year old virgin man who has wanted very much to have such a kiss with a woman but lacks the social skills to do so and it makes me very very ANGRY whenever I hear those lyrics at church. It’s a sign of sickness. It makes me want to march right out of the church and give up on religion if it assumes everyone knows what a kiss like that feels like.

    Reply

  45. Jezwinda
    5 years ago

    “Be careful, however, that the exercise of your freedom does not become a stumbling block to the weak.” – 1 Cor 8:9

    Reply

  46. Jon
    5 years ago

    I wish the conversation was more generous on both sides, but I’m not seeing much of it. This blog post, while well written and filled with so much to say Yes and Amen too, had much in it that had no grace.

    “And for the next time you share publicly & tell someone “there’s an air of spiritual superiority (that) seems to be bleeding through in places” – that statement immediately makes the same implication in reverse.”
    This quote is from a response you wrote to one of the first comments made to this post, and at first, I laughed at how you corrected him, and then I found it to be side-stepping what you truly did. I don’t follow the worship music scene too closely, because there is so much garbage said by those who criticize it, as well as those who defend it, and the spirit of it all has everything but grace. Your blog post, while filled with so much I agree with, ultimately was a turn off, and it saddens me that the attitude of the blog post is willfully held, and encouraged. Saying that the one who says you are being uncharitable, may very well be uncharitable also, is simply not an acceptable way to answer for the mistake in being uncharitable. At the end of the day, if it is truly truly okay to make fun of those in the body of Christ through words that barely veil contempt, then I want no part of the body of Christ. I’m out. That’s it. If all that is true is just the fighting between its members, screw the church and screw the gospel, because I have better things to do. All of it is a disgusting sham.

    Thank God it isn’t.

    I know this is more than a year late, but I recently heard this song being played at a retreat that my youth group students attended. It was my first time hearing it, and needless to say, I was taken by surprise. I’ve thought about it for a while, and I can say that I honestly cannot allow this song to be played in my church. On one hand, we are in desparate need of bold and daring songs that are to be used in corporate worship. On the other, songs that lend to a lopsided view of God can be damning. At the retreat, the speaker mentioned sin and repentance only a few times. The rest of the time, he talked about God’s love. The worship music was no better, speaking only of how much God loves, and how much we will love Him back. This song in particular was played repeatedly. In the end, it wasn’t discomfort I was feeling when I was listening to this song, it was sadness and uncertainty. There was no way the students attending the retreat understood truly what made this grace they could experience so amazing, so divine. One of my middle school students stated it best, “Isn’t there scary stuff as well as happy stuff in the Bible?” I replied, “Yup, there is both.” What he said next summed up what I was feeling.

    “Why is there only happy stuff being talked about? They’ve only talked about the happy stuff in the retreat”

    There was no way these students could understand the unbelievable, unblushing, sloppy wet kiss of the love of God, without understanding first the depth of how much they don’t deserve such unreserved affection. And not only that, unless they understand how God’s love is only understood in light of things like the cost of such love, they will have a very small view of God, who is all about meeting their want for affection without price.

    Since the retreat, I have explained the song to my students, because there were utterly confused by it. Most of them don’t like it, and the rest are okay with it.

    Reply

    • Kevin Simmons
      5 years ago

      @Jon…

      I would agree, this post lacks a certain grace (as does your response to it).

      But… it wasn’t intended to be gracious. It was a written as a ‘defense’. It shouldn’t be centered or show the perspective from both sides.

      I wrote a blog a week or so after that about why I wrote the blog originally. Hopefully, that could answer some of the critiques you’ve mentioned here.

      As for the end of your comment and your perspective of the camp for the students you’re serving.

      I would point you to two scriptures:

      Romans 2:3-4 “Do you suppose, O man – you who judge those who practice such things and yet do them yourself – that you will escape the judgment of God? Or do you presume on h the riches of his kindness and forbearance and patience, not knowing that God’s kindness is meant to lead you to repentance?

      John 1:14-17 “And the Word a became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth. (John bore witness about him, and cried out, “This was he of whom I said, ‘He who comes after me ranks before me, because he was before me’”). And from his fullness we have all received, grace upon grace. For the law was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ.”

      Jesus came full of grace and truth (grace, then truth). It’s God’s kindness that leads us to repentance.

      God’s love is something that can never be preached enough. It’s that reality that leads us to appreciate that we don’t deserve His love (again… grace, then truth).

      There’s a lot of freedom in the bible. There’s a lot of people who know Jesus, love Him, and boldly proclaim the truth brutally. There are people who love Jesus, experience His redemptive grace, and give lots of enabling love to their friends and family.

      In our world, I’m learning that I’d rather error by giving too much grace. Christians have harshly judged those that don’t love Jesus and those on the same team publicly so long that we’re viewed as a bunch of hyper-critical zealots that can’t live inside the rules we make up for ourselves.

      I’d rather be viewed as a lover of people than a hater of their actions or their sin. Subtle difference, but it has foundational consequences.

      -Kevin

      Reply

  47. BONEDRI
    5 years ago

    YA’LL CAN TRY TO EXPLAIN AND DEFEND THOSE WORDS ALL YA’LL WANT ….THERE IS NO WAY THAT THE WORDS “SLOPPY WET KISS”SHOULD EVER BE IN A WORSHIP SONG……THIS IS JUST ANOTHER WAY SATAN IS TRYING TO GET his FOOT IN THE DOOR OF ALL THE WORSHIPERS MIND. THIS IS WHAT he DOES!! AND WANTS TO DO….GET YOUR MIND OFF OF JESUS .ALL THESE WORDS DO IS LETS THE WORLDLY THINGS IN …ALL THOSE THAT WRITE SONGS SHOULD DO SO WITH MINDFUL PRAYER.

    Reply

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  1. [...] is a Blog post written about the lyric controversy and John Mark himself tweeted that he feels it is the best thing that [...]

  2. By Someone Has to Put a Foot Down | internetmonk.com on August 30, 2011 at 12:05 am

    [...] one seems to have a bad word to say about this song, except during a tempest-in-a-teapot controversy that arose over one line in the lyric that was deemed too “mushy” for worship [...]

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