Monday, September 14, 2009

How He Loves, David Crowder, and Sloppy Wet Kisses...

I honestly kind of hate that I even have to write this blog.

I have realized that the song “How He Loves” has become very personal to many people, and it honestly doesn’t really belong to me, or Kim Walker, or David Crowder. It belongs to them. I would like to say I’m sorry if I let you down by allowing the words to be changed in David’s version. My version and Kim’s will always be the same. David contacted me and very sincerely asked if it would be cool to change a couple words in his version, because he knew that there are literally thousands of people who would never hear the song the way it was. After a couple weeks of thought I decided to go ahead with it. Mostly because I knew it was only a matter of time before someone recorded a version with a different line, and honestly, I was glad for David to be the one to do it.

I have tons of respect for David. He’s super sweet, humble, talented, and a very intelligent guy. I’m certainly flattered that people would be so passionate about my original version of the song, but I feel bad that David’s taken so much flack over this whole deal. Especially since he went out of his way to include me in the whole process. Not to mention, he has given me WAY more credit than most songwriters ever receive from a performer who covers their song. David has told the story of the song and given me full credit on countless radio interviews and press releases. This is actually pretty unheard of. In case you don't know, most songs on the radio are covers. When's last time you heard an artist reference the writer of a song?

All this to say, I don’t have a problem with David changing the line because he knows the people he is serving, and that line would have isolated the song from those people.

What I do have a problem with though, is that the condition of greater Christianity would be as such that he would even have to change it. I think the fact that a line like “Sloppy wet kiss” could be controversial is ridiculous. Are we in kindergarten? Has any one out there not had or at least expected to some day, engage in a sloppy wet kiss? Have Christians decided to stop procreating and let Islamic extremists populate the whole earth?

Some folks are genuinely sad because a song so personal to them seems to have been messed with, and others seem to be glad that you can now sing this song in church with your grandparents. I understand both of those sentiments, and don’t have an issue with either. Still many of the people, on both ends, who seem to be making a big deal out of it, have both seemed to misunderstand the lyric. It seems that people either hate it or love it because they think I’m some how talking about kissing God. Please folks, I never ever, ever, ever, thought of this line as though it was talking about kissing God. Please read the words.

“HEAVEN meets EARTH like a sloppy wet kiss”

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). Why does the church have such a problem with things being sloppy? Do we really think we’re fooling anyone on Sunday morning, especially God? Are we going to offend him? I mean, he’s seen us naked in the shower all week and knows our worst thoughts, and still thinks we’re awesome. What if we took all the energy we spent faking and used that energy to enjoy the Lord instead? That could be revolutionary!

Final thoughts:

I applaud David for changing the line to serve his people, and at the same time I boo the machinery that would cause him to have to do so.

100 comments:

  1. I bet eating locusts and honey while wearing burlap can get pretty sloppy.

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  2. Kudos, a million times for this post John. Though we've not met, we have many common aquaintances, from my growing up in McRae, GA (Telfair county) and hanging out w/ all those Jesus freaks at "FCMI" conferences back in the day from Vidalia, Toombs, etc ... would love to get better acquainted with you.

    Twitter: @fmckinnon

    For the Kingdom,
    Fred McKinnon, Worship Pastor
    St. Simons Community Church

    and founder of
    http://www.theworshipcommunity.com

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  3. Just Amen! Seriously, how many of us wouldn't have met the LORD if it weren't for the sloppiest (goriest) train wreck?

    I cheer you both on, you and David. Keep saying the honest dirty truth.

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  4. Amen!!!!! The love of God is revolutionary. And people don't like revolutions.

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  5. this is my favorite line of any song im certain
    it reminds me of my dog coming to give me a sloppy wet kiss/lick
    a dog is mans best friend, and dog spelled backwards is God. but seriously. ill sing this til i die.

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  6. Outstanding thoughts, John. Having met David, I agree with your comments about him, and I am a huge fan of his. But I was a bit taken aback by the change, especially as the song has become a favorite of mine. Thanks for shedding some light on it. And thanks for sharing yourself so openly in writing the song in the first place.

    FWIW, I taught a group of 7-9 year old's this song yesterday. This normally giggly bunch got the point of that lyric right away. It's a shame some of us "grown-ups" can't do the same.

    Mike Mahoney
    Children's Network Pastor
    Gospel Light Community Church

    @mikeymo1741

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  7. Dang! Well said! I couldn't agree with you more. Like you, I love Crowder and don't fault him for changing that line. It's just a shame that so many Christians get weirded out by something like that.

    Are we believers in the messy gospel of a man who changed history with a radical message? Or are we 6-year-olds pointing and going "ewwww...gross, they kissed!"

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  8. Great post. Thank you for taking time to write out your thoughts. I really do get the sense that this is something that has torn at your heart a little bit and you just want to see your song-babies grow up to be fruitful, helpful, pointing to Jesus, etc and not have to deal with all this controversy. Thanks for writing songs that get people thinking about the heart of the matter - the church is better for it.

    Personally, I'm not a fan of the line. I've done the song at my church once (as a presentation song, not as a let's-all-sing-this-one song) and changed the line when I sang it. Let me know if I need to send you some extra royalty money for that one :)

    For me, there's too big of a jump between the IDEA behind the lyric (which you explained in this post) and the WORDS of the lyric. I feel like if I were to do the song as a public corporate song of worship that line (and the big leap from the idea to the words) would be more of a distraction than anything. Doesn't mean we shouldn't sing songs that make us think, doesn't mean we shouldn't help our congregations what we're understanding - for me and my church, the leap is too big.

    The song still gets lots of play in my office, during my own times of worship, while I'm sitting at the piano, etc etc but for us right now it's not a song we would do at our church without changing the line.

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  9. Indeed... the sloppiest wet kiss I have ever had is from my son after he has had a sip of milk.

    So, were Our Father to kiss me after *I* sip a glass of milk, that's what He's getting, too.

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  10. *applause* - thank you for writing this post.

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  11. I was a 45+ yr old Mom who encountered this song via my daughter who was so moved by it she listened to it over and over for an entire morning which so intrigued me that i just had to go do the same. i would take my laptop into the bathroom while i did my makeup and find myself dancing & worshipping. i love it just the way it is, even more so at age 50. oh and by the way, my daughter, Haley, walked down the aisle to the song last year on Oct 4th. She and her husband loved it that much. Keep writing just the way the Spirit moves you, even if it stirs up the church pot!

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  12. Thank you so much. :-) That's all I've got.

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  13. We change it to "sloppy joe kiss". Like something that would happen right after lunch. Let's face it - everyone loves sloppy
    joes.

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  14. I'm sorry you felt you had to write this. It sounds like people are spending too much time distracted by this and not focusing on the Kingdom of Heaven. I don't mind either expression. They both can be effective, as you say, depending on who you are ministering to in serving the Lord. I personally love what "unforseen" implies about the character of the Lord. I appreciate hearing your heart behind "sloppy". In any case, I praise God for birthing such a powerful song through you. He truly uses it to pierce hardened hearts, and I find myself using it as a song of intercession.

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  15. Haha! I have to say... A friend of mine sang this song to a group of girls in India who had been rescued from prostitution.
    In India they are often even more traditional and reserved, especially women...
    I knew the line was coming, but when she sang it [we had never heard it differently], they didn't seem to notice. I laughed, but if they had heard it, I would have loved to see their blushing faces! haha.

    Anyways, Bombay Christians love your music. Actually I had to go all the way from Dallas to Bombay to hear about ya! Peace.

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  16. Thanks for a great post. I only heard the song for my first time this Sunday when Buckhead church did the "sloppy wet kiss" version in their online broadcast. It was that line in particular that caused me to seek out the song. I love writing that engages us to consider the multiple facets of the dynamic between God and Man, Heaven and Earth, Time and Eternity etc... I'm glad that your song is going out and that you've had great interaction with David Crowder.

    Thanks for sharing this story as well! I'm going to dig more into this song!

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  17. In my mind and heart, this post certainly goes along with the one who inspired the "original" wording of your song. I am blessed that you would release David to change the word and that David maintained the integrity and heart of the song.

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  18. I never understood this line as meaning that we were kissing God. I don't know why people take it that way.

    I always thought of it as when the kingdom comes, when Heaven comes down, it's not orderly, there's no format, or when God's glory is all around, we can't shove it into a box to sell to the religious. When revival comes, when God moves, it's messy to US because we have no understanding of His power and very little of His kingdom. So when His kingdom comes, His will is done, it's messy and hence why I love this song.

    Your heart comes through very well in explaining itself and your intent with this song, and I really applaud you. Be blessed, John!

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  19. aren't some of David Crowder's lyrics quite edgy themselves??? "Intoxicating" and "A Beautiful Collision"? not all churches would agree God's love is "Intoxicating"...I guess it's true what Julia Roberts says in Pretty Woman about kissing: "it's just too personal".

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  20. The "sloppy wet kiss" line is, personally speaking, one of my favorite lyrics of all time from every song I've ever heard (and I'm old, so that's saying a lot! lol). I see it as a snapshot of the cross from a different angle. Nothing was sloppier (or gorier as you say). And it reminds me of the depths of self-abandoned, unselfconscious love God demonstrates to us (and is hoping for and asking for in return from us).
    The truth always sparks controversy and stirs up religious spirits. Are we still in kindergarten? Many are. But oh well, we love the Church anyway, unconditionally, just as she is, while challenging her, in love, to grow, (just like your song does).
    Let them complain. Those complaints aren't directed at you really, even if it seems that way. They come from the same spirits that didn't want Jesus to go to the cross (Peter's feeble rescue attempt just before Jesus rebuked the devil at him) and the spirits that try to minimize the effect of it (by saying we can be good enough on our own without it).
    You might also consider that many people, quite simply, are not able to understand clever metaphors. Not everyone is as gifted, intellectually, or else they have trouble understanding without a literal interpretation. Though Michael Mahoney commented that his group of 7-9 yr olds "got it", so maybe I'm off on that one.
    Anyway, I really just want to encourage you to keep writing the Truth in your songs, and let the controversies arise, knowing you are only following in Jesus footsteps on that one, suffering this light affliction for His name's sake! Big hugs from me, and thank you for sharing your songs and your heart with us. They are truly gifts to us! May you get strengthened by your brothers and sisters who fully support you, and love you unconditionally too! Esp. from your big brother, Jesus!!
    Bless you!

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  21. Great post bro, it is unfortunate that it needed to be written, but I appreciate that you did. You sing your songs to Jesus and wherever they land in Christendom so be it. I so much appreciate your heart, vulnerability and creativity in your songwriting. I pray for you a lot and thank you for serving Jesus the way you do.

    -Kyle C.

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  22. I didn't realize that there was a different version much less controversy surrounding it. included this song in two worship sets yesterday at our church. As we sang it in the morning. I actually elaborated on this particular line. Telling our people that I have a 2 yr old son and sometimes when he kisses me it is completely sloppy and wet and love the picture of Heaven coming into earth that is the same way at times. I am with your John, I am not offended that the line was changed (I think that David is an incredibly anointed worship leader) but I am heartbroken that we live in a time that the line would have to be changed for someone to be able to worship God with the song. Thanks for your heart and the way you help the people of God express things, sometimes they've never thought about, to their Father!!

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  23. Love the song and love that David Crowder is promoting the song. I do love Sloppy Wet Kiss because it is such an intimate picture and is so raw... :)

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  24. It's sad that you even have to explain that line - the great thing about lyric writing and music is that you don't have to sit down and explain every verse. i understood it immediately and thought it was one of the best lines in the song. it depicts our humanity and God's holiness and what that looks like when it comes together. just beautiful! thanks for writing it and please don't let this deter you from writing authentic verses. love your work, and despite everything, God was glorified through it!

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  25. I really need help, and maybe DC can best explain what was wrong with those lyrics.

    I don't like sloppy wet kisses, but when my girls give me one I would rather have them then not. I'm not so sure the feeling is mutual. :)

    I mean did they take a poll?

    But again, they are "just words" and if similar imagery can be implied without using the same metaphor then why wouldn't an artist be ok with letting someone change it? Right JMM?

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  26. I am both sad you felt you had to write this and incredibly grateful that you did.

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  27. Thank you, that was very well written. Thank you for choosing to honor.

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  28. Thank you so much for writing this. When DCB reelased theirs, the chatter was interesting to say the least. I posted about it on my blog (http://wp.me/pu8P1-q8), the bottom line being:

    The AWESOME GOD who created everything, loves us in a way that is beyond our comprehension. Enough to pay the price we should have paid for sinning against Him.

    (BTW, I do have your version now.)

    Blessings...

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  29. Keep being awesome John! I love your heart for the kingdom. right on.

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  30. I am really enjoying this song right now. I love the picture and idea that comes through in the sloppy wet kiss line. I also appreciate Davids change to make the song more usable.

    I don't mean for this to sound accusatory, but many of the comments in response to Johns post are short sighted. We need to work hard to recognize that there are many cultures represented in the American Church. Millenium Gen., Gen Xers, Boomers, whites, blacks, latinos, Baptists, Presbyterians, Pentacostals, etc. etc. All of us receive and interpret things differently. In the same way that I wish the old folks in my church would "speak my language" more often I have to be willing to speak theirs.

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  31. I love this. You're so right. Things aren't always neat and tidy and perfect. In fact, they aren't really ever neat and tidy and perfect. Life is messy, I (as a human) am messy, and earth is messy. Thanks for being blunt, John!

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  32. Ahhh, refreshing honesty. Bless you bro.

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  33. That's such a beautiful line from a fantastic song. I heard it for the first time (must have been the Kim Walker version) playing on the PA at my church before services started. I heard the line and I was like "wow, that pretty much nailed it!" Just a thanks for writing such a wonderful tune and really stoked that everyone is getting to know that you wrote it!

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  34. I was actually fired from leading worship at my young adult group because my pastor hated that verse. I cannot and will never understand what he was thinking. God help us all...

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  35. While "sloppy" is not the word I would have used it is still a powerful song that I have heard a few different words substituted, and all of them hit the nail on the head. Salvation is a sloppy and bloody mess but God is very precise in how he administers it and is perfect in the act of doing so...doesn't sound too sloppy to me.

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  36. thanks for writing this. when i heard the crowder version i was pretty upset, not just because of the lyric change, but i think he kinda botched the epic-ness of the song by being so mellow, not really vocally as strong. yours/kim's versions have a very sweep-you-away feeling.
    anyway, thanks for explaining the behind the scenes with all of it.

    i love that line, for me it makes me think of a kiss while being distracted or caught off guard, and in that same way, Jesus came and totally shook things upside down, caught the world off guard!! heaven meeting earth.

    two of my good friends walked out of their wedding to that song. its a moving, spirit-filled song. thanks for being faithful.

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  37. Thank you so much for creating out of your heart and sharing. It is an honor for someone else to do your song no matter how they change it...It still sends the same message.
    There is a worship leader at my church who does sing your songs and knows the story :)
    I am very pleased they are giving you credit like they are AND telling your story. I pray it changes lives like it already has. God Bless you John Mark!
    I Love your song and although I must be a little biased I love it the way you wrote it.
    As a side note since folks are sharing: I sang parts of this song to Jonathan while he was sick and in the NICU.

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  38. Thanks for your humble response to this. You displayed so much class. Thank you also for allowing us to use these songs in our worship. We definitely got some strange looks the first time it was led. I'll share later about my thoughts on why. For now...to bed.

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  39. Amen and Halleluiah! I have had enough of everybody pretending to be perfect people. If we are then why did Christ have to die in the first place. Grace embrace grace. Once you understand it then you can breathe.

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  40. We sing this song at our church all the time and I like the "sloppy wet kiss" Our relationship with God is supposed to be an intimate one, why would we expect our interactions with him not to be?

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  41. A lady in my church hates that line because "god isn't sloppy" ... whatever. I like it. And i especially like the line that follows it. And the original version is the best version.

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  42. Again, I'd be giving you a standing ovation if I could. You rock.

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  43. I Love your gracious, yet provoking words here and in all your lyrics. Your songs make people think outside the box and for some, that is a bit uncomfortable. Jesus did the same. The language God has given through you is rocking the religious boat. This kind of raw authentic language is a relevant part of the new sound, new language, new art. Keep it up - the world needs lines like "Heaven meets earth like a sloppy wet kiss." It's the medicine.

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  44. I guess I am not a fan of sloppy wet kisses, so the image and memories don't inspire me. Sorry, I like the change! Man, it's ok that we all don't see or feel things the same. Thanks for sharing such a moving song.

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  45. did anyone hear the glorious unseen version ?!?!?... they didnt cut out the lyric.

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  46. YES! i'm so glad you finally addressed this!
    i love the bible college i graduated from last year, but i'm not a fan of how they banned the song after we sang it in chapel one morning because of this one phrase: "sloppy wet kiss".
    sorry it's caused you such grief, John Mark.
    we all need to grow up.

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  47. I think I was probably more offended than I probably should have been when I heard that the line was changed but I at first I was thinking that you probably didn't give him permission to change it that it was just "one of those things" they could do in the music industry. It makes me feel a lot better knowing you gave crowder the go on it. I don't think that he, personally would have changed it but sometimes the labels are pretty persuasive. Anyway, thanks for laying it out for us. To me, the song is super personal. My own coming to Christ was very much a sloppy wet kiss. I was torn, broken, and crying out for him. I had tears pouring down my face and snot dripping from my nose with such desperation for God to come to me and save me from myself. And He did. He came down and kissed me in my sloppy state. He saved me and didn't care about the snot that was rolling down my chin. He just loved me. The song says it all. It's like reliving that night over and over. It's so real. So raw. And something I never want to forget. It makes me humble and it keeps me from passing judgment on people who were in the same instance I was in. It helps me remember that God "Just Loves Us".

    -David Pearson
    Joplin, MO
    Citywide Christian Fellowship

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  48. I personally am ushered to the Throne when i hear this song! I am sorry that we live in a culture of Christianity that thinks we have to be perfect to come to that throne. I, for one, am glad that we don't have to be perfect, that we are allowed to be a gory mess. Thank you for letting the Lord use you in a mighty way! Blessings!

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  49. I wasn't sure what to think about it when I heard that the lyrics were changed, or if I should think anything of it at all...but, the song, whether done the way you and Kim do it, or the way David does it, still reaches hearts. So, eventhough, I love the song the way it was originally written and sang, I honor each of you for your heart of worship to the Father. I pray that each of you is blessed! Thank you for posting this blog. It made some things clearer to me. I appreciate it.

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  50. thank you!! I was so irritated when I heard the line change... cant agree more bro!

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  51. Metaphors and similies don't always cross over cultural lines. I applaud you for realizing that and allowing the metphor to be tweaked (please, everyone note, this isn't a metaphor overhaul, David didn't change it to "like a firm handshake"). If you ever work in missiological contexts you are always contextualizing metaphors, just not the truth behind them. We do Crowder's line as it reflects our context better, but I am not offended at all by the previous version. Just a question of what best bridges our people into God's presence.

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  52. Thanks so much for posting! I couldn't agree more... i'm just grateful you clarified your position! Thanks!

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  53. incredibly well articulated. thanks for the song...and the post. take care.

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  54. I think it's just a letdown. When I think of this song, I think of that lyric as a moment of beautiful controlled chaos where, at the thought of perfection meeting this sin-scarred Earth, you almost can't help but let go of whatever is holding you back from worshipping God and being awestruck by His love. When I think of "David Crowder" and "How He Loves" in the same song, I am giddy with anticipation at how beautiful and innovative this iteration of the song will be... and then one of the most impactful lines is gone, and it distracts from the moment, and makes the moment itself far too tame (no offense, your original version was amazing!).

    I think it's like reading an abridged version of a classic novel... it's not inherently bad, it's just watered down and less awesome.

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  55. John Mark, I am goin to say that I am utterly speechless right now. This Blog is ABSOLUTELY AWESOME. You chose your words WISELY and have shown what an AMAZING Heart You have. I read all the hits and bumps on the lyric changes and was thinking all the while "WHY?" the changes were or had to be made. 1st of all thanks for clearing that up. Another for clearing David for this but where I see the true likeness of Jesus in this is that in Love you still shared your Heart and got your point across in this blog. I just want to encourage you and Sarah to keep doin what you are doin. Tim & I pray for you guys and know that your are doin some MIGHTY plowing for the Kingdom. THANK YOU!!!! Love you all verrrry much. The Sharp's from Goldsboro.

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  56. isn't the outrage over the line change evidence enough that the body of Christ is changing and no longer needs/should be catered to in the way it has been done in the past?

    i love the music you're putting out there. please don't change lyrics just so more people will listen to it. people are changing. deep down, we know what sloppy is. and we know God doesn't always work neatly. thanks for keeping your song the same. i, too am sad that David changed his recording, but i understand it's not the end of the world.

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  57. I'll join the crowed. Good Blog!!!

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  58. i love your music and you seem like a great guy...but i don't understand the logic of david crowder changing the lyric to appease people so that it would get a broader audience...of who? christians? not really sure why we feel as though we have to censure our love and our message of christ as to not offend eachother.it kind of breaks my heart that we have to polish things up and make things acceptable so that our brothers in sisters in christ will be ok with who we are and how we feel.isn't that what's wrong with us today? what happened to transparency?haven't we become a church that tries incredibly hard to entertain and soothe the itchy ears of our own body-rather than allow the sloppiness,and the messiness of this faith and the incredible hope and love that arises from it-be our cities on a hill...our salt for the earth? i guess i just don't get who we write these songs for...is it to just make us feel good as we cry and sway on a sunday morning...or are these the words we allow god to scrawl all over our hearts.to transform us and make us in his own image.christ to those who need to see the sloppy,wet,kisses...the song that ends in choking back tears b/c we don't get why god called our friend home-but we do get that somehow in all of it..he is still good.

    i'm sorry if i sound like i'm criticizing you or david crowder or anyone,i guess.i just know that in the midst of one of the most heartwrenching and messiest times of my life.when ministry and church crumbled around my feet...i found myself sitting in the back of a church listening as a sweet little girl on a guitar as she introduced your song to me and the story that goes with it...and amazingly.in the bloodied and beat up heap that i found myself in...there was this love song-sung to me-by a god that is not content to just leave me in my loss.those words were his song to me.my song of solomon 2.and so i guess i'm just sad that we've become a church or a market that can't handle the amazing way we are loved by an ever present god.
    love you.praying for you and your ministry.

    -kim d.

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  59. Wow! I can't believe it! I'm glad you had the grace to take this all in stride. I hope you're doing the right thing. I don't know.

    I'm a violinist in my churches worship band. It's one of those deals where everybody else reads chord charts, and there's no music written out so I pick up the tunes by ear and then improv the counter melodies as the spirit moves. Done it with your song about a zillion times. You do that and you really feel the tune, y'know?

    I had no idea there was a problem with those words. Best line in the whole song.

    He HAD to change the line?

    Yeah, I'm still stunned.

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  60. Wait, God can see me in the shower?

    John, there is an alternate to this reality, that unabashed messiness in order for the character of God to be revealed in us. What you've been saying all along re: art and worship is what needs to happen to get folks to encounter the actual "GOOD NEWS".

    What's been said about the cross and childbirth and mangers and locusts is all great.

    But one the things I love most about Jesus is the part of the parable of the prodigal son's dad. Where the pigslop-encrusted son wanders back with a speech ready (the crowd must've loved this picture when he set it up), and Jesus throws the ultimate curveball: father from a distance sees the son (b/c he's been looking ever since he left), hikes up his robe and books up to him and lavishes him with affection, give him clothes, shoes, his ring, a party, and EVERYTHING.

    The people must've been somewhat conflicted about this particular parable. Dignity and composure was what they were "hanging their hat" on.

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  61. I had the same conversation about this at my church in Redding when we first started doing the song... my sister changed the line and I was upset about it and explained it to her what it meant and since then the church has used the original version especially after singing the song at a Junior High Camp and seeing Heaven come to earth like a "sloppy wet kiss." It was messy but it was beautiful.

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  62. Amen, John...I agree with you 100%.

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  63. As a pastor of 20 years I realize that we all have different spheres of influence, and need to be aware of our metrons.

    But I do confess to being mildly irked when I hear some of the most powerful worship music become mega-church choral elevator music.

    I know this isn't elevator music; I can hear David Crowder's passion in the song; he is an amazing and talented and Godly man, but, dang, this one bugged me on a deep theological level.

    The line is a tremendous revelation of God's nature and our relationship with Him. We aren't supposed to be unaware of His kiss; He isn't UNFORESEEN! His church should be expecting heaven to meet earth every day, to be living from heaven, from His heart, toward the earth, not the other way around.

    I really appreciate and agree with your blog; it was really well-written and passionate, like your music!

    Maybe I just got so upset because our worship pastor still cannot get through that line on a Sunday morning without crying.

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  64. God used this song in an incredible way with a guy at NorthWood. In the midst of the song, God told Mike's wife to tell Mike to call his biological dad whom he hadn't spoken with since 1997. Check out the video story at www.vimeo.com/6683719

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  65. Thanks for thoughts. Know that this song is reaching so many people.

    Thanks for letting Jesus speak through you.

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  66. John I just want to tell you that no matter which line is used, each time I hear the song the lyrics reach deep into my heart. I've found that the lyrics match up just perfectly with how I should, but don't always, see God's love for me. There are times when it's confirming of what I'm feeling between God and I and other times when it's massively convicting. Thank you for allowing God to use you and the song in so many peoples' lives.

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  67. LOVE THIS SONG! Thank you for writing it!!! And thank you for this blog. I now understand that line.

    I'm one of the few on this post that has had an issue with the line. Now that I understand it, it's not that I don't think it's a good lyric (actually, now I think it's a GREAT lyric), it's that the idea behind the lyric is unclear in the context of the rest of the song and so the jump in thought to get there is just not going to happen for everyone.

    The first part of that verse as well as all of verse 1 and the chorus is clearly about the relationship between us and God, with verse 1 even culminating in "how great Your affections are for me." To go from that thought process that's been so strong and beautiful throughout the whole song and then in one breath switch from me and God to a litteral heaven and earth was a stretch. For many (myself included) when they first hear the song this line is interpreted as God (heaven) giving me (earth) a sloppy wet (french) kiss.

    When I first heard the song, I was captivated by the metaphores of God's love for us, His powerful mercy and overwhelming grace. I was lost in worship and even started to tear up, but was taken a bit out of that when the next metaphore I heard was about God giving me a sloppy wet kiss. Again, I now understand the line, but I think the jump in thought is just too much for most people to make. I'm so glad that so many people got it right away, but I don't think this is a problem with the "church establishment" as much as it is...well...the fact that not everyone interprets that particular metaphore the same in the context of the rest of the song.

    All that being said, like someone else mentioned on this post, I will be singing this until I die - it is that good! Thank you John for sharing what God put in your heart with the world. Lives, including mine, are being changed through it.

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  68. Yeah... sorta, BUT... I don't think God seeing us naked in the shower justifies us singing about it corporately during worship. I have no problem with John singing this to God and writing this song with this metaphor. But I think when you bring a song into a corporate worship context, then it's different. You're bringing these words and artistic concepts to a congregation of all ages and vintages, and you're saying, "sing this". While the metaphor might be meaningful to you and many others, it has the potential of being sensual, or confusing and distracting to others.
    I really do believe it's a matter of being willing to lay down our own liberties in our relationship with God, so as not to offend our brother or sister in Christ.
    I love and believe in the concept of the Divine meeting the depraved in such a passionate and undignified way, I just question whether the metaphor used is a great one to give to a multi-generational worshipping congregation to sing. I guess what I'm saying is I don't think that we should be annoyed by the need to consider an alternative.

    Regarding DC*B's version, personally I'm still trying to understand an "unforeseen kiss"! :)

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  69. I'm so glad you wrote this blog and I hope that A LOT of people see it. 2 of my children went to Christ for the Nation in Dallas & "the sloppy wet kiss" version isn't allowed. REALLY?? It is aggravating to me that people want to please people, rather then God - and read into things with no questions asked. I LOVE this song in ANY version but like you, I wish it never had to be discussed! Thank you for being an instrument of the Lord.

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  70. Heya John Mark, the first time I ever saw you play was when I started going to Morningstar back in 04. I had the privilege of seeing you and Suzie and many others live at Harvest Fest that year as well. You will probably never see this post nor have the time to read it, but I remember you playing a song during Harvest Fest 04, something about a lion possibly, and I was wondering if you ever recorded it. Keep doing what you are doing! You are an inspiration to the rest of us. God Bless you and I wish you well.

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  71. just wanted to say - whenever I heard the song, I never thought of God kissing me. Instead, I saw this picture of Heaven coming down, and meeting earth, and its this huuuugeee movement and clash and splash and eruptive thing that changes how everything is done and seems. Its colorful. Its beautiful. And, like you said, messy. Hahah, and I don't think I ever even put lips into the picture.

    And now that I think about it, crowder's version does! LOL.. because, before, where it had nothing to do with kissing in my mind, it is now entirely focused on the unforeseen kiss. lol interesting how that works.

    At any rate, blessings to you and all you know, and way to use wisdom and honor in this situation.

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  72. I am so glad I stumbled upon this blog and the explanation of the lyric change! I had seen it/heard it both ways and was, frankly confused. So which is the kiss?? Sloppy? Wet? Unforeseen? I wasn't sure if it was a HUGE typo or what!!

    This song has impacted me like none I've ever heard. I was recently 'called' to take a 'solo road' trip - a fairly radical thing for this suburban Mom of two and teacher...He called me to it, and I will never be the same. I heard this song shortly after returning, and it brought back WAVES of His incredible love. If you're interested, my blog address for the trip (I am almost done posting the entire journey) is:
    www.westboundkerouac.blogspot.com

    As for my take on the on the original lyric:
    I actually did imagine it as receiving a big kiss from God - NOT of the intimate nature as between lovers, but the kind of kiss that would cover my face, wet with tears and the kisses from a Father that loves me so much and is welcoming me home. When I get to see Him face to face, I want a sloppy kiss!!

    Thanks for your words!
    Blessings to your passion for Jesus and for the gifts He's given to you.

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  73. I absolutely LOVE this song and the heart that wrote it. The students that I lead have often told me of how this song really has affected them. It has really affected me. Mostly I love that the lyrics came from such a real place, that they are from real emotion and that they are so grounded in biblical truth. Thank you for writing from your heart, and not filtering/editing your heart in order to make it a more marketable song. I also appreciate your humble spirit in allowing it to be changed in order to reach more people.

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  74. This lyric always made perfect sense to me because my sloppy wet kisses always came from an affectionate aunt. It wasn't the way we would have preferred to be kissed, but it was always, always a sign of love. And since God is like that--not giving us things in the way we're comfortable with but always, always giving us His love--I couldn't have imagined a better choice of words.

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  75. Excellently articulated, JM, and glad to hear it. I love the earthiness of your lyrics, and I love your gracious attitude. And by the way, "earthy" as a descriptor in my language is far from a bad thing in this context.
    - R. Dunning

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  76. This song never ceases to touch my heart each time I hear it. I had just launched a new ministry called, none other than, "He Loves Us," (www.HeLovesUs.org) when I first heard this song, and was blown away at how well it articulated all that I beleive. For me, it was a confirmation. Thank you for you obedience to Him.

    He Loves Us!

    G Hardee

    www.HeLovesUs.org

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  77. I have never heard of John Mark McMillan. I dont know anything about you. I first heard this song in my church- Covenant Church here in Dallas, TX- we did the sloppy wet kiss version. To be honest I have heard David Crowder's version but havent yet understood the words he has used to replace your original lyrics.

    The song struck me the first time I heard it- not simply unusual and original but I wondered who wrote it- I hear behind the words an authentic voice and something real, a real experience. To my mind and heart there is a mystical quality to this song that betrays roots going deep into the Spirit. I searched the internet to find the writer of this song.

    All the hubbub about this lyric is plain ridiculous. Cant everybody hear the poetry in this line- 'Heaven meets Earth like a sloppy wet kiss.'- not just the poetry but I hear an echo of somthing else. Something personal. A real voice. A real person trying to find a way to say something very personal.

    The lines to this song are poetry. Whoever wrote this song is a poet. You cant say that for most of the songs I hear on the radio. Well at least I wouldnt say it. If many people have taken this song to their own hearts thats the reason.

    John I dont know you, probably will never meet you, but I humbly give both you and Him thanks for this song.

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  78. I love this song--a friend introduced me to your music, and I've been listening to the original version of this song for months. Until recently, I didn't even realize that David Crowder had covered the song or that a line had been changed. I enjoy DC, I don't have a problem with his version, but I wanted to say that I think the original lyrics are beautiful. I'm in a band at my church, and we try to play music that is (a) gospel-focused and (b) appealing to Christians and seekers alike. I hope to do this song at church at some point, and when we do, I'd like to keep the original line. Keep doing what you're doing.

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  79. I love your music and Have seen you in person several times and the Presence of God is ALWAYS there and I can't stop listening to any of the songs. I hate that people do take it out of context.....it is ashame that they think such stupid thoughts but you know what...they don't know what they are even missing....so many people fake worship and that's what I love about your music and shows I don't see fake people. I can see people truly coming together to worship and not care what other people think because they may offend somebody whoooooo cares what they think is what I learned I have been called "weird" and "crazy" That I am is all I can say I am :) Thanks for such great inspirational music John Mark

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  80. Im VERY PASSIONATE about having the Sloppy Wet Kiss part in the song for many reasons and I had to submit to church leadership on the lyric change. I hate that DC was allowed to change it cause if her hadn't, this wouldnt be an issue. I think people need to get over themselves and acting like church is so pristine. HELLO we are not. My band will always stay true to the correct lyrics, as for church? there are the few who i hear busting out the right lyrics :) How i'd like to trash my mic and join them :)

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  81. I had to change the lyric for our church in order to submit to leadership. I HATE IT. I hate that DC changed it because if he hadnt this wouldnt be an issue and so what if it got on KLOVE?! My band wont play anything but Slopp Wet outside of church. I wish adults woulndt get so freaked out about how to make church look so perfect! Its just that the song is so REAL! and changing the line is so MAIN STREAM.
    mmmm mmm. I heard a few people today singing the right lyrics... how i wanted to trash my mic and join them :)

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  82. As someone who is young, and a worship leader, I have to say that Christ coming to earth doesn't seem to be appropriately labeled as a "Sloppy wet kiss." It wasn't sloppy at all. God doesn't do sloppy. I understand your metaphor, I just disagree. I think the Bible is a big kiss from God to us, but sloppy, or any other synonym, would not be how I would describe the work of God. The physical act of child-bearing, the death of Christ on the cross, are both messy to see, but what was going on underneath was not "sloppy", but is loving and passionate.

    I think the biggest thing I keep seeing that bothers me is that the phrase makes people think of a similar earthly relationship. I don't want my experience with God to remind me of the way my aunt, or my wife. I want my "kisses" from God to be describe in a way that only reminds me of God. "Sloppy Wet Kiss" reminds me of my first girlfriend, and God doesn't need to be brought down to human level. There needs to be something mysterious and awesome about Him. Hooray for Crowder to see this. Sorry John. Love the song otherwise.

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  83. so I just saw this article now and think t was cool Crowder ask before changing them but are church been singing the song at a church for a long time and no one got mad about the lyrics or offended I just feel people need to not be so immature about this . Personally I don't like David Crowders version as much , I like the original.



    David Haven

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  84. I like the original line and understand the need for change. I'd personally sing the original lyrics (at least the sloppy wet kiss part) because it's a way for people to remember the song. For a long time I often referred to this song as the 'sloppy wet kiss' song and I know plenty of others do too.

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  85. I shan't comment on this post content. Ideas have been said. However, this line made me laugh out loud, "Have Christians decided to stop procreating and let Islamic extremists populate the whole earth?"

    You, sir, make me laugh!

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  86. Great song. I am also surprised this has caused such a stir! I noticed that many comments expressing aversion to the lyric change were centered around how much meaning the original carried for that individual. One fantastic reason to want the lyric to remain is so others might have the same reaction/experience. On the other hand, being angry at others who do not have the same reaction might not be so fantastic. Since the original might require a lengthy explanation for others, sensitivity during worship could go a long way. The explanation of the lyric, and that it can make people think is wonderful, and the fact that the change caused quite the discussion is actually really neat.

    Not all brains work the same, it seems. Personally, the first time I heard the song, I got a visual of Snoopy licking Lucy. Try as I might to focus on the meaning or worship, that visual can still derail me during worship.

    As for the slop, it's definitely on our heads, not what's from God.

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  87. I don't think the rejection of "sloppy wet kiss" means that Christianity is in a kindergarten state of mind.

    I love the intention behind the lyric but find the lyric distracting. It would be like carrying a laptop bag that looked more like a purse.

    It wouldn't matter that it was carrying my laptop, the fact that it looked like a purse would be distracting and make me feel uncomfortable.

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  88. John,

    I've never met you, and possibly never will, but I feel honoured to be able to communicate with you, in this way.

    When I first heard this song (probably on Sunday in my car)I was a little taken aback by the sloppy wet kiss. I heard it again today in the car, and said to God that I was still unsure about it. Then I came home, and googled the line. I found the lyrics (amazing lyrics!), and found another blog about the song, as well as yours. As I read the comments on both blog entries, my perception of the line took a drastic turn.

    Now, when I hear that line, I think of the passionate, no-holds-barred, unreserved, extravagent, lavish love that God has for me, and I'm floored. Heaven meets earth like a sloppy wet kiss? AMEN!!!!!!!

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  89. What I think is really friggin' awesome about the whole thing is that, just like the rest of your beautifully and intelligently written song, because of that one lyric people are questioning the kind of relationship they have with Jesus. Is he really intimate like that? Can I think of him knowing me inside and out and be comfortable with it? Can I not let the world, or the devil,or hollywood, or any other external force pervert it to become something other than a Father who loves us in the absolute purest sense? It is so Cliche to sing songs about how he loves us (me) but what if i actually consider that for a moment and I come away from it changed because of the encounter???.... Now, THAT'S what I call worship....

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  90. I like both versions. I totally get "sloppy wet kiss"
    I do think however, I prefer the "unforeseen kiss" version. Not due to church pc, but because I relate to it more.

    I have experienced an unforeseen kiss, and like Gods love, I did not know how badly I needed it until I received it.

    Most importantly though... Thank God for this song and you using for your amazing gift to serve Him.

    I heard a version that sounded like it ended with you weeping at the end. That was cool!

    Peace & Love

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  91. I appreciate the words you wrote, and I appreciate your meaning behind them. But, I happen to believe the real issue does not stem from Christians being too focused on the correct words, or even a confusion on the kiss itself. I do not feel these words as edgy either. To me, the problem lies in how casual we have made God out to be. Yes, a birth of a child is messy. Christ's crucifixion was messy. But saying that God met earth with a 'sloppy, wet kiss' does not bring a feeling of love or care. Sloppy is messy. While messy things have happened, God meets us in compassion, love. We have taken something so extroidenary, and turned into something casual and demeaning. A sloppy, wet kiss is something spontaneous. When a child gives a kiss, it's spontaneous. When a dog licks your face, spontaneous. These might be things we love, but they are not methodical or thought out. Everything God does is planned with care. He plans it with the care of a devoted Father. Your words are not rejected because of a worry that people in the church will reject it. Or because people in the church are too old-fashioned. I think, in a lot of cases, they are rejected because it appears as if God is casual. As if His relationship with us is casual and spontaneous. God's relationship with us is something He has fashioned with His hands with great care. His kiss to us would not be wet and sloppy. It would be filled with love and tenderness.

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  92. its so stupid to have to change the lines because of that my church uses the original song not the new one my church is more layed back then others they talk about stuff that normal churches wont go near. i like this versoin of the song better

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  93. Many words have been used by the holy spirit to help people. "sloppy we kiss" who cares, the most helpful words are words that you wont hear behind a pulpit, like the books in the "every mans battle" series.

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  94. @Greg Jones,

    I think we all need to feel a little uncomfortable in our Christianity at times. We get so familiar and comfortable with God and our faith.

    Sometimes we need to be shaken up and see things from a new perspective. I've been through some pretty rough times over the last year and it's been messy, sloppy, etc. and I'm just now seeing for the first time how much I have to learn about God and His ways.

    I for one LOVE JM's version and it's always been one of my favorite lines in the whole song.

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  95. I read the comments and have to agree on parts of both sides.

    "FOR": I totally support the image of the prodigal's father and the messiness of Christ's life on earth (His birth, friendships with lepers, and His death). God didn't pretend everything was clean and pristine like the Pharisees did; He came to us in a very humble and relate-able way. I'm sure this is what John Mark intended as his message.

    "AGAINST": The specific wording can be troublesome. Personally I found it so, but that could be because I've struggled with sexual sins (and God totally understands). But after reading this and another blog I now understand what John Mark intended. I agree that "sloppy" can be interpreted as "careless" and therefore "unloving," (although that is clearly reading into the song).

    Just my take. As long as John Mark's heart for Christ is broadcast in this song, and the Body of Christ is growing from it, I am totally happy. After all, it's the IDEAS transmitted through words that matter most.

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  96. For me the lyric wasn't controversial but coming from a long background out of a Porn addiction that line would take me out of the spirit instantly because it would flash me back to those images. When I worship I want my thoughts to be all on Him and not past sins. I am very proud the David took the step to look past his original lyrics and change them to be more appropriate for a worship setting.

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  97. I think the best solution is for this song not to be sung in churches where people have such strong disagreements about it. If you like it, sing it by yourself. Why would you want to sing it in a group of fellow believers where many of them have an issue with the song? Liking or not liking this song says nothing about a person's spiritual state or level, contrary to the opinion of some. It's a song, written by a man. God doesn't care if we sing it or not. To those who like the song, let them sing it unto the Lord. To those who don't like the song, let them keep silent unto the Lord. So whether you sing or keep silent, do it unto the Lord. And respect the other person's choice in the matter without judging them.


    "Please folks, I never ever, ever, ever, thought of this line as though it was talking about kissing God. Please read the words."

    And, yet, people on both sides take it exactly that way.

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  98. Thank you for explaining this song. It's been a point of discussion within my own worship band, and honestly I took the Crowder approach. To the non-Christian, and luke warm Christian, world a "Sloppy Wet Kiss" means tounge kissing (French Kissing) and is a purely, deeply sexual thing on the verge of kinkyness for some. There are those in the world who try to describe our relationship with Christ as a sexual one. It's so easy to lead the unsaved astray and for those who aren't there yet I think the lyric is deeply confusing.

    I love the song, but having been raised with only knowing the sexual association to the term (like most English speaking people), I was really curious as to where you were going there!!

    I appreciate the explanation. I think I would have liked the gory lyric better. Hmm. LOL!

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