Wednesday, November 4, 2009


It's an ugly word.

Earlier this year, I was driving with my wonderful friends Kari, Nate, and Alex. We were listening to a Derek Webb CD.

The song "Wedding Dress" came on and Nate said he didn't like it.

I was surprised. Nate loves "D. Webb" as he calls him, and Wedding Dress is a popular song. It's been a favorite of mine for years. It has a beautiful melody and powerful lyrics: the writer describes seeking other things over God and coming back to Him.

But to do that, he uses the metaphor of a prostitute:
"I am a whore, I do confess
I put you on just like a wedding dress and I run down the aisle, run down the aisle to You".

I asked Nate why he didn't like the song. He pointed out that it portrays being a "whore" and a "prostitute" as a terrible sin, but so many of those who engage in prostitution do so out of desperation. It's an ugly word and a horrible profession, and to attach more shame to it is disgusting and unnecessary. As he put it in an email response to my request to tell this story here, "I understand that the word 'whore' there might be alluding specifically to Gomer (think Hosea and Christian female infatuation with Redeeming Love -which I haven't read so
can't judge). This is a place in Scripture where prostitution could be confused for putting God on 'just like a wedding dress and run[ning] down the aisle.' But otherwise, I think it plays into harmful attitudes about how prostitutes got to where they are."

I agreed with him during that conversation a year ago, and wondered at the regrettable word choice. But I still liked the song over all.

I know "prostitutes" now: people who had sex for money, food, or shelter.

They look a lot like middle- and high-school-aged girls, because that's what they are.

They get excited when the drink at breakfast is hot chocolate. They moan over their math homework and ask me to do it for them (I don't). They laugh uproariously as they choreograph dance routines with their friends to pop songs and loudly sing along with the words.
In the evenings they like to lay with their heads in my lap so I can rub their backs while we watch a movie.

I can't listen to that song anymore.


tony sheng said...

wow. fabulous post.

Elise said...

preach it.
love you.

Heather Johnson said...

Thank you for sharing this. This is not angst- it is your experience and their experience. It is SO WORTH sharing, obviously :) I'm so glad you're there, and I am glad you will be here. Thanks so much, again, for sharing this. Love you, Heath

amy@flexibledreams said...

Great post. Your love is so beautiful to behold.

Gracifers said...


I read this a few days ago. You have changed my view..

Thanks love.

Human Needs Global Resources Covenant, 2009

As fellow travelers on this journey, we commit to this covenant before God. Lord, in Your mercy, hear these our prayers:

When confronted with scarcity, need, and inadequacy, may we be nourished by the Bread of Life and the Cup of Salvation. Abundance overflows from Your table, sustaining all who come in faith. Father, help us.

When monotony blurs our vision and dulls our senses, may we encounter others as Christ did, through intentional presence in daily life, submitting as clay to be formed into vessels filled with the Spirit. Christ, guide us.

When wounded by the fractured condition of Your people, may we be united by Your Lordship in faith, hope, and love; seeing, as through the facets of a diamond, the beautiful spectrum of Your light reflected onto Your holy Church joined in praise. Spirit, empower us.

When all Creation groans, afflicted by injustice and driven to despair, may the promise of redemption root us in the hope of Your Kingdom: "Behold, I am making all things new!"

Holy Trinity, send us now into the world in peace, and grant us strength and courage to love and serve You with gladness and singleness of heart.