You Got Me, God!
Those of us over sixty have clear memories of Sonny & Cher, that charming, young musical couple who appeared on TV in 1965. Their first big hit, “I Got You, Babe,” became their theme song,.They went on to have a popular TV show that always featured their beautiful, blond little girl Chastity. Typical of many in their generation, they got a divorce. Their child left behind “Chastity” for a transgendered identity as Chaz. Their family history is really a snapshot of the effects of the baby boom generation on American culture. Sonny went into conservative politics before his accidental death, and Cher briefly married rock-n-roller Duane Allman before embarking on a film career and greater popularity on the far left.
With more than a decade between us, my wife and I have interesting conversations about changes in American culture. Recently, we were talking about “lex orandi, lex credendi,” literally “the law of prayer is the law of belief,” a historic phrase that declares “how we worship says exactly what we believe.” Our conversation focused on the difference between God-centered worship and human-centered. After two years of Lutheran parochial school education and subsequent confirmation in the Lutheran church, she was led by her father, a Spirit-filled commercial real estate salesman, into a house group that became a non-denominational church. That was my wife’s church home for most of the next ten years.
A good clarinetist and singer, she became the song leader for her father’s church, until, after leaving home, she worshiped at several churches in San Antonio, including ones led by Max Lucado and John Hagee, and then a contemporary church in Austin filled with happy, healthy, upscale young folks. When her mother died quickly after being diagnosed with lung cancer, my wife discovered the church she was attending was not only shallow, it had nothing to say to people who were grieving. Eventually, she ended up back in the Lutheran church where she was enveloped by the rootedness of liturgical worship and comforted by the Real Presence of Jesus in the Sacrament of the Altar. She was coming home.
Because we both love music from a variety of genres, we are not snobs when it comes to newer music that is upbeat and scriptural. Having said that, there is a profound difference between music and worship that is God-centered and that which is “all about me.” Shallow contemporary Christian music is always about “me…and God” with the emphasis on “my” feelings and “my” experience. Like the Gnostic heresy of the first century, much of contemporary worship is spiritualized and not incarnational. The sacraments are trivialized and dismissed. The Church’s liturgical heritage rooted in Judaism is called boring and dull, because it doesn’t make “me” feel happy. It doesn’t excite “me.” “I” need the buzz of the crowd. “I” need to have something that reaches “me” and helps “me” to have a good life. When it’s all about “me,” and that’s what churches with a successful marketing plan focus on, the worship is really about “me.” How we worship says exactly what we believe. But Christianity is not about me. Period.
So…my bride and I started giggling about an emblematic contemporary Christian piece sung to the tune of Sonny & Cher’s theme song but now rewritten as, “You Got Me, God.” It’s been rattling around my skull for a couple of days, and my first take goes like this:
“They say you’re old and out of touch,
But, you got me and, God, you know I’m much.
So just you wait; I’ll be back again.
I will show up. Perhaps, I’ll bring a friend.
God. You got me, God.
You got me, God.
You got meeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee, God!”
Here’s the original Sonny & Cher video from 1965: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ynrdkkUxp3E