Anyway, I guess it's reactions like that that contribute to the thing that made me the most sad when I listened to his most recent album. The thoughtfulness and reflection are still there, but so is a ton of bitterness. I'm not sure it's cynicism (which is related to hopelessness) yet, but gone is the encouraging undercurrent in She Must and Shall Go Free. These songs are often angry in music and words. It's a very good album, but it isn't sweet or uplifting.
One reviewer explained the album this way, "[T]his album turns its focus on the decisions we make living in a fallen world. Specifically, how we often fall in love with things that do us harm." Another described the theme as the way "our culture is infatuated with everything that will destroy us."
This album got a lot of hate. I think it's probably another case of incorrect expectations on the part of listeners. I think the album does what it sets out to do: lyrics and music match and amplify each other, and the result is powerful and thought-provoking. However, if this isn't what you're looking for, you will be disappointed. If so, don't blame it on the CD . . .
Webb got nominated for a Dove Award for his most recent album (an instrumental effort based on the Lord's Prayer), and his reaction seemed pretty surly (he seems like an honest person, so I can't really fault him for telling the truth about his feelings). He said he wouldn't go to the ceremony and that he doesn't even really believe in the Dove Awards. Some of his fans got mad and wrote some nasty comments (something he's not unfamiliar with). I came across a good post where someone stepped up to point out something I think we often forget in the church: sometimes the best thing to do if you don't agree with a brother/sister in Christ (or anyone for that matter) is not to start screaming and attacking. I know, call me crazy.
My favorite comment from that article: "But if people don’t tell him how ‘wrong’ he is how will they accomplish Christ’s call to go into all the world and make judgements against all nations?"
Ouch. Webb kind of nailed it here, as well. Truth behind the veil of sharp sarcasm. It's true, but it also shows his hurt and frustration and bitterness. Really, who wouldn't be bitter when facing this kind of thing?
And that brings me to a question: how do you keep from becoming bitter or cynical when slammed again and again by the sheer weight of the behavior of sinful humanity inside the church? The more one tries to engage with and love the church, as Webb correctly says is necessary in He Must and Shall Go Free, the more one can't help but see that the church seems to be made up of seriously sinful people who often seem incapable even thinking about and trying to figure out what a right thing to do is, let alone doing a right thing. It's hard to admit I'm one of them. Sigh. But distancing myself doesn't make it any less true.