It is intriguing how modern day religious slanguage so often finds its way from the secular world into the sacred world. The modern church so often reflects the culture rather than the modern culture reflects the church. Conformity has gone the wrong way! Or as Eric Mascall points out so rightly:
“WHAT WE NEED IS NOT A SECULAR THEOLOGY (which is what we have today), BUT WHAT WE DO NEED IS A THEOLOGY OF THE SECULAR (which is what I will try to give in this teaching).”
One of the most recent of these religious slanguages has taken society and the church by storm. I am sure many of you will recognize it immediately once we get into it.
By way of introduction, suffice it to say that if there has ever been a time that we must pray the inspired words of Psalm 19:14, it is now:
“Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in Thy sight, O Lord, my ROCK and my REDEEMER.”
THE YOU-ROCK-MY-WORLD CULTURE
It is the in thing! It is the pop-rock jive of the day. It is the cool way to talk! It is the in badge of our culture. Anybody who is with it today talks like the following:
-To an entertainer, “You ROCK my world.”
-To a barber, “You ROCK my cut.”
-To a preacher, “Your sermons ROCK me.”
-To a car buff, “Your wheels ROCK me.”
-To a fellow worshiper, “This service really ROCKED me.”
-To a church seeker, “That church really ROCKS me.”
-To a congregation by the pastor, “Let’s ROCK this place.”
It goes on from there to other expressions in the “YOU ROCK MY WORLD” culture like:
-You ROCK my socks.
-You ROCK you rule.
-I ROCK you suck.
-You ROCK my bed.
I have for some time now been hearing this “YOU ROCK STUFF” all over the place, in the world-world and in the church-world equally as much. I hear my grandchildren now getting in on the ROCK JIVE with YOU ROCK THIS and YOU ROCK THAT, THIS ROCKS and THAT ROCKS, HE ROCKS and SHE ROCKS, without the slightest idea of its roots, source, context, or meaning. Now everything and everyone that tickles your Elmo ROCKS OUR WORLD.
How quickly adults and youth learn and speak the language of their culture, and how slow they are to learn and speak the language of the Bible. And little children, what do they know? Monkey see, monkey do. So gullible, so vulnerable, so naive, so unknowing, so undiscerning. As my grandchild asked recently, “Are spareribs from people?” We don’t generally think of animals having ribs, but humans have ribs. And so it goes.
Macneile Dixon said in his famous Gifford Lectures:
“THE MIND OF MAN IS MORE LIKE A PICTURE GALLERY
THAN A DEBATING CHAMBER.”
That is truer of children than anyone else. That is why careless talk in front of children, who have, after all, very little experience on which to base a judgment or to sift the chaff from the wheat, is nothing short of criminal.
YOU ROCK MY WHATEVER began with the late pop singer Michael Jackson and his music video entitled YOU ROCK MY WORLD. It was also the debut single from Jackson’s 2001 album INVINCIBLE. The song peaked at #10 on the U.S. Hot 100, his first top 10 single in six years. The song was nominated for “Best Male Performance” in the 2002 Grammy Awards.
The music video “You Rock My World” follows a story in which Michael Jackson and Chris Tucker spot an attractive and sensuous woman played by Kishaya Dudley, and they follow her into a nightclub called “Waterfront Hotel” (in reference to a film starring Marlin Brando who plays the club owner in this music video).
Jackson gyrates the woman with a song (You Rock My World), as well as performs his bump-and-grind dance moves. After a fight with another one of Kishaya Dudley’s suitors, and a fire in the nightclub, Jackson later meets up with the attractive woman of his LUST, and the two share an intimate moment before driving away in Tucker’s car.
The song YOU ROCK MY WORLD heats up to its sexual boiling point with Jackson’s passionate appeal:
You rock my world!
(You rocked my world, you know you did)
The way you talk to me,
The way you lovin’ me,
The way you…YOU GIVE IT TO ME!
(You rocked my world, you know you did)
(You rocked my world, you know you did.)
You rock my world, you rock my world!
You rock my world…GIVE IT TO ME –
Come on girl.
It is not surprising then that another version of the YOU ROCK CULTURE is YOU ROCK MY BED – whether it is in a car or wherever. YOU ROCK MY WORLD is marinated in sexual juices from its very beginning. It was conceived in the steamy rock-pop culture of the late Michael Jackson.
So then, THE ORIGINAL AND REAL MEANING of YOU ROCK MY WORLD comes from Michael Jackson being rocked into a SEXUAL FRENZY. You flip me out! You rock my boat. You get it on! You send me over the top! You take me beyond all limitations! You break all barriers! You rock me into rapture! Give it to me! Come on girl!
I am reminded of the words of Shakespeare:
“LUST IS THE EXPENSE OF THE SPIRIT IN A WASTE OF
SHAME. IT SQUANDERS THE ENERGIES OF LIFE.”
Sexual lust fires the flesh and extinguishes the fire of the spirit. The sensual and the spiritual cannot coexist in the same life. They are enemies, even as an evil spirit and the Holy Spirit are enemies.The sensual and the spiritual are incompatible, and where sensual is obsessed over, one’s spiritual life will be wasted in shame.
If you will:
“THAT MAN WHO IS ADDICTED TO SENSUALISM AND
FLESHLY APPETITES WILL HAVE LITTLE
APPETITE FOR THE SPIRITUAL WHICH
IS SEASONED BY VIRTUE.”
Moreover, I have never seem the energies of life so shamefully wasted as in the grinding-groin dances of Michael Jackson.
C. S. Lewis once said in a lecture at Trinity College in Dublin:
“THE WORLD OF THE ANIMAL MAY BE A SMALLER
WORLD THAN OURS, BUT HE IS WISE ENOUGH
TO USE EVERY SCRAP OF IT TO
Humans are so wasteful in squandering their energies. How do you spend your brief adult life Michael? Bumping and grinding my groin!
THE YOU-ROCK CHURCH
So today, much of the modern church adopts MOVIE LINGO and REALITY TELEVISION and MUSIC VIDEO references in sermon and drama themes to be in with THE POP CULTURE of the day. That way the church doesn’t seem quite as different from the prevailing culture, and with its own seeker-friendly mentality not quite as religious or spiritually sharp-edged.
It is all part of the modern day church adapting to the culture, which makes it much easier for the culture to identify with the church. You know, Sunday suits are now hung in the closets, and khakis, jeans, and t-shirts are worn in their places. Preaching is out, and talking-dialogue is in. Free coupons in the bulletin for coffee and cookies in the church-foyer’s souvenir and snack shop. All in the name of RELEVANCE which now has become the modern hook. After all, you have to hook ‘em before you can land ‘em. It is all really a marketing strategy, a hook rippling through the community like a fisherman’s lure.
Thus it is that we are now finding marriage-sermon themes like HOW TO ROCK HER WORLD and HOW TO ROCK HIS WORLD. Michael Jackson religion! Very common! Many churches have now for some time swapped Biblical terminology like AMEN – HALLELUJAH – AND ALMIGHTY GOD for YEAH, YEAH and YOU ROCK GOD. Sort of like the song from the movie Major League – WILD THING, YOU MAKE MY HEART SING. Michael Jackson type worship!
In all of this YOU ROCK MANIA, the church gets in line and harvests the next-lowest stratum of stuff, while singing and cheering all the way. As if the movie and entertainment industries are the paragons of virtue, when in fact they are the sewers of vice.
And remember for goodness sake, there are people in every church who are recovering through Jesus Christ from the excesses and consumptions of the flesh. And like the prodigal son, after he arrived home from his wine, women and song orgies, they too have to slug it out and allow the sexual fevers of his and their past time to subside and depart from their bodies. The last thing they need is to have them reawakened and ignited every time they go to church.
A young person might say, “Well, don’t be so stodgy and stuffy. When I tell God that He rocks, I means to say that He is the greatest, that He is awesome – HE ROCKS.” My answer to that is, “Well then, tell Him exactly that, that He is the greatest, that He is awesome. But do not use the ROCK JIVE, for it is already contaminated and rotted with lust, sex, flesh, and carnality. It has Satan’s gunk hanging all over it. Why stoop so low when you are reaching so high?”
Here is where it can lead. A pastor promotes his sermon series in the following way:
“YOU CAN BE A WORLD ROCKER AND HAVE YOUR
WORLD ROCKED. THIS SERMON, WHICH IS THE
SECOND IN THE SERIES, ‘THE GOSPEL
ACCORDING TO MICHAEL JACKSON’
WILL PROVIDE YOU WITH WHAT
YOU NEED TO BE A WORLD
ROCKER AND EXPRESS
YOUR GROWTH IN
“WHAT WE NEED TODAY SO DESPERATELY IS THE PURE
ASCENDING FLAME OF HOLY SPIRIT INSPIRED
WORSHIP WITHOUT THE COMMUNICATIONS
AND WORDS OF CARNAL WORLDLINGS.”
“THE PLEASURES OF A PIG CANNOT BE THE
PLEASURES OF GOD.”
I am reminded of the powerful words of Psalm 74:18 KJV,
“Remember this, that the enemy hath reproached, O Lord,
and that the foolish people have BLASPHEMED
What is blasphemy? It is this:
“SIN WHICH IS NOT ONLY PROMOTED, BUT EXALTED
AND LIFTED UP TO DIVINE STATUS.”
To take Michael Jackson’s lustful moves and fornicating words and apply them to the Holy God is about as blasphemous as you can get. Hear me:
“MEN SIN TO THE HIGHEST DEGREE POSSIBLE WHEN
THEY APPROACH AND REFER TO GOD WITH THE
LOWEST AND VILEST DESCRIPTIVES
“FOR THE CHURCH TO APPLY TO GOD WHAT THE
WORLD ADORINGLY APPLIES TO SIN IS
BLASPHEMY OF BOTH THE HIGHEST
AND LOWEST DEGREE.”
“THERE IS NO GREATER BLASPHEMY THAN TO SEE AND
HEAR PURITY IDENTIFIED WITH FILTH, AND THE
TRANSCENDENTALLY HOLY NATURE OF GOD
TO BE ASSOCIATED WITH LUST
Listen again! We read in Isaiah 52:5 KJV God saying through the Prophet,
“…and My name is continually BLASPHEMED all day long.”
And where you read the word BLASPHEMED all day long, the Hebrew word there for BLASPHEMED means:
“TO BE PIERCED, TO BE STUNG ALL DAY LONG.”
Now then, BLASPHEMY PIERCES and STINGS GOD’S HOLY HONOR which is the very apple of His eye. Of that He is supremely jealous, and will admit of no association with unholiness whatsoever. There is no greater piercing or sting to the Holy God than to hear Michael Jackson’s lustful refrain to the seductive girl named GEETHU, “YOU ROCK MY WORLD,” now being applied to God Himself, “YOU ROCK MY WORLD.” Truly the foolish people blaspheme His name with painful piercings and stings rather than honor Him with holy praises and spiritual songs.
When I am in a church that descends into such vulgarity, I come down with what feels like a sudden illness and pain, something like food poisoning or maybe a burst appendix.
Oh so true:
“THE VERY THINGS THAT APPEAR AMIABLE IN THE
LIGHT OF THE WORLD, APPEAR HIDEOUS IN
THE LIGHT OF THE WORD.”
What is happening in the House of God today cannot be corrected by a coat of paint, a few new windowpanes, and some newly hung banners. It will only be corrected when its rightful Owner, Who has been driven out by a rock ‘n’ roll song of sexual lust, is exalted in holiness once again, and comes back to take up residence in His Holy House of Worship once more. That will not happen as long as the RIGHTEOUS GOD is worshipped with ROTTENNESS.
Let us return to the TRUE ROCK, THE ROCK OF AGES, and to the TRUE ROCK MUSIC, such as the following:
“ROCK OF AGES, CLEFT FOR ME, LET ME HIDE MYSELF
IN THEE; LET THE WATER AND THE BLOOD,
FROM THY WOUNDED SIDE WHICH
FLOWED, BE OF SIN THE DOUBLE
CURE, SAVE FROM WRATH AND
MAKE ME PURE.”
“WHILE I DRAW THIS FLEETING BREATH, WHEN MY
EYES SHALL CLOSE IN DEATH, WHEN I RISE
TO WORLDS UNKNOWN, AND BEHOLD YOU
ON THY THRONE, ROCK OF AGES, CLEFT
FOR ME, LET ME HIDE MYSELF
IN THEE.” AMEN!