There’s an awful lot of absolute tosh sung in the name of contemporary Christian music.
Today’s analysis of what a load of old cobblers it all is is brought to you by the song “I’m Letting Go” by Francesca Battistelli. The offending line is “Feels like I’m falling and that’s what it’s like to believe”.
This isn’t a brand-new song; I’ve been hearing it on the radio for at least a few months, but until today I’d kind of just let it wash over me as background music to my drive. Today, however, this line pulled me up short.
So, believing in Jesus is like falling, huh? And presumably, being an atheist is like standing. I’m just going to let this reversal of normal Biblical imagery sit there while we all blink a few times.
Maybe I’m reading too much into it. After all, it is poetry, of a sort. Metaphor may be in operation.
But this metaphor?
In the context of the song it’s slightly more reasonable. The song’s about letting go of your former life to trust God. That’s a risky thing, like jumping and trusting someone to catch you. From a certain point of view, it even makes a sort of sense, which is probably why it was able to slide right past me all this time. Maybe absolute tosh is unfair.
But if I’m holding on to a window ledge four stories up in the air, letting go and falling is not really a good thing, is it? Now that I’ve noticed it, all I can hear in the background supplied by my imagination is… splat.
When we use language like this, is it any wonder people don’t want to believe?
Trusting Jesus is like letting go, all right. Letting go of the bag of stones you’re trying to swim with and taking hold of the lifeboat captain’s hand. Letting go of something worthless so you can receive something priceless.
For me personally, trusting and following Jesus feels not like falling but like being caught. But then, that metaphor can get us into trouble too if we look at it the wrong way.
There are many images for what it’s like to believe. But when the Bible exclusively uses the imagery of falling for sin, using “falling” to describe being rescued from sin just seems bizarre, somehow.