17 March 2009

White Man by Michael Gungor

Over the festive season, I came across Michael Gungor, a gospel artist and worship leader. I later found the simple but, I dare say, hair raising song, for some at least, "White Man". Michael is a gospel singer and so, I was rather curious to find out how such a title could sum up the idea of a Christian song. He released the song as a single off his "to come" album and it soon became a controversial song. I also found that he had written an article about the song and the about the response he hopes the song will retain. Have a read and a listen! By the way the video is not by Michael...

White Man
Words and music by Michael Gungor and Lisa Gungor

God is not a man, God is not a white man
God is not a man sitting on a cloud
God cannot be bought, God will not be boxed in
God will not be owned by religion

But God is love, God is love,
and He loves everyone
God is love, God is love,
and He loves everyone

God is not a man, God is not an old man
God does not belong to Republicans
God is not a flag, Not even American
And God does not depend on a government

But God is good, God is good,
and He loves everyone
God is good, God is good,
and He loves everyone

Atheists and Charlatans
and Communists and Lesbians
And even old Pat Robertson,
oh God He loves us all
Catholic or Protestant,
Terrorist or President
Everybody, everybody, love, love, love, love, love
Yeah, I say God is love, God is love,
and He loves everyone
Stop the hating, please just stop the hating now cause God is love

© 2008 worshiptogether.com songs/ASCAP. Admin by EMI CMG Publishing.



God is Not a White Man by Michael Gungor
Preparing for the release of their new project in September, Michael Gungor reflects on what has become a controversial single off the new album.

“Atheists and charlatans and communists and lesbians, and even ol’ Pat Robertson, oh God He loves us all. Catholic or Protestant, terrorist or President. Everybody, everybody, love, love, love, love.” (from our new song “God is Not a White Man”)“…some people are concerned about the word ‘lesbian’ being in the song.” (my advisers)

Listen, I’m not after being controversial. Bothering people just for the sake of bothering them is just annoying, and that’s not really the emotional response that I am hoping to elicit with our music. But you know what? And forgive me for being a little gross here, but sometimes cleaning out a festering sore can sting a little.

In the bridge of the song, my intent was to be as offensive as possible with that list. Many of us don’t like to think of God loving the people that we hate the most. The terrorist, the racist, the rapist, the Pharisees and the TV preachers. My hope was that people would notice any internal cringing in order to bring their own prejudices into the light.

I think that sometimes we fool ourselves by thinking our sin is cleaner than everyone else’s sin. “I don’t hate people, I just hate the people that hate people.” However, I believe that looking down on anyone as something less than an image and beloved creation of God is not only sinful, but at the heart of nearly all the problems of the world.

And in order to justify how we divide, compare, and rank ourselves, we often end up fashioning a god for ourselves that supports our decision. The Israelites fashioned a god (golden calf) that they thought would be a shinier and more tangible deity than the One who brought them out of Egypt.

Our early American forefathers fashioned a god that allowed them to have a “Manifest Destiny” to own this land, and that led them into the massive genocide that they carried out on the Native American people that lived here before us. Hitler fashioned a god that allowed him to exterminate the Jews. I wonder what kind of god that we have fashioned today that allows us to separate and hate each other like we do.

What kind of god have some Christians fashioned that allows them to look down on homosexuals? What kind of god have some Christians fashioned for themselves that is happy with our denominational separations and elitist attitudes? What kind of god loves this group of people over that group of people?

Certainly not the God of the Bible.The Bible teaches us that God is love, and as Christians, we are to be made into God’s image, not to try to make Him in ours. We are not to paint our own personalities and preferences on God’s face. We are not meant to control Him or own Him with our faith or our religion. Instead, we are called to give Him ownership of our lives through our faith.

What would a church look like that was rid of the ‘us’ versus ‘them’ poison that has plagued the world for so many thousands of years? What if we really believed that there is no more Jew or Greek, slave or free, male or female? Perhaps we could become the Church that Jesus prayed for in John 17 right before He went to the cross. Of all the things that Jesus could have prayed right there, He asked that God would unify us. There is enough separation and division in the world already. It is what leads to things like war, racism, and poverty. If the Church is to become a new kind of humanity, we must unify in love as we shed the lines that divide us from the people that we are called to love and serve.

“I pray also for those who will believe in me through their message, that all of
them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you. May they also be
in us so that the world may believe that you have sent me. I have given them the
glory that you gave me, that they may be one as we are one: I in them and you in
me. May they be brought to complete unity to let the world know that you sent me
and have loved them even as you have loved me.”

Posted July 22, 2008 Michael Gungor is the lead singer and worship songwriter of the Michael Gungor Band. The group's new album, Ancient Skies, is releasing September 9, 2008 from Brash Records.