God Is Love…Right?

Published by Torrence Glenn on Tuesday, August 25, 2009 at 10:16 pm.

A few weeks ago I sat down with singer/songwriter PJ Morton to talk about his book “Why Can’t I Sing About Love” and his experiences being an R&B singer who also happened to be a Christian. We know how slightly (or not so slightly) closed minded and judgemental “church folk” can be, especially on this subject.  And although it’s 2009, I’m shocked (but not completely surprised) to see that some things never change. CNN also took notice of PJ and his work and profiled him this past Sunday on their “Faces of Faith” series. It was this piece that proved to me that we  have a long way to go, but before I explain, please watch the video. (It’s way shorter than mine, promise! ha!)

If you get me, I’m sure you already see why I’m scratching my head.  I’ll be honest (is there any other way?), Tye Tribbett’s comments kind of made me go “huh?” I’ll explain, but first let me say this.  Having worked in TV for some time, I understand how one interview can be used to support another interview and the wires can easily get crossed.  What do I mean?  Well, I wonder if when interviewing Tye, the producers told him that his interview would be used to discuss PJ Morton and his book.  Who knows, he may have thought that he was being asked about all secular music;  including hip-hop, reggae, etc. and based his comments off of that.  The type of music PJ Morton writes, sings and is referring to are so obviously not just run of the mill “secular” music. The real heart of the matter that PJ discusses in his book are love songs.  But that’s not to say that a song that isn’t gospel, and also doesn’t talk about love specifically is wrong to me.   BUT, since Tye or his people posted the CNN piece on their youtube channel not long after it aired, I take it that he stands by his words and is proud of what he had to say.  So with that said, here’s where I go “Huh Tye?”

Firstly, Tye asks when secular lyrics are being sung, who’s being edified?  Well I have a question in response, who’s being edified when we sing “Happy Birthday?”  Who’s being edified when our kids sing nursery rhymes.  Perhaps “twinkle little star,” “The Itsy Bitsy Spider,” and “London Bridge” will send our youth straight to Hell.  Those songs aren’t about God or love but I doubt we look at any of this as sinful.  Yes, my comparison may be a little cut, dry and simple.  Why, because it really is that simple.  EVERY song should be measured by it’s content, INCLUDING gospel songs.  You don’t know what an artist might try and sneak by you. LOL! I’m still trying to figure out the meanings to half the congregational songs we sung growing up…

Next, there was a point where Tye talked about performing with R&B acts and how the life he and his crew were living didn’t add up to the lyrics those performers were singing about.  Newsflash, that kind of disconnect can happen anywhere.   The life you live will always be more important than what you sing or say, I don’t care what you do. R&B singer, gospel singer, bank teller, blogger or garbageman.  But I do agree that if being around other people who don’t live like you can compromise the way you live or make it difficult for you stay saved, you probably should go do something else.  And if you ask me, you CAN be a light in darkness.  That’s where it shines brightest.  Light a match outside in the middle of the day and there isn’t much effect, mainly because it’s not needed because the sun is shining.  Light a match in the dark and you can’t miss it.  As a matter of fact, it helps you to see when you otherwise couldn’t. I’d RATHER be a light in darkness where I can be more useful. So yes, I agree with Tye in that you cannot be a light and everything “they” do.  But who says you have to do what they do?

Then there was that whole business about not serving two masters.  Dude, you said yourself that that scripture was talking about money and didn’t necessarily apply to the subject of the documentary.  But I know that feeling of just wanting to say stuff because it sounds good.  A lot of times in church we’re raised to have a scripture in our pocket and a cliche in our hand. It’s in our “programming.” But seriously, what did that scripture have to do with PJ and secular music.  There was never any question about who PJ’s God was. Although, PJ’s talking about love….and God Is Love….Right? (That’s in the book too.) The Songs of Solomon are a bonafide romance novel (and graphic too :-) ).  Real talk, the reason I’m not quoting scripture  left and right in this blog is because it’s really not that deep or that serious and truthfully, if you pick up PJ’s book, he breaks the scriptures down way better than I ever could.  I think we can really discuss on a very basic and commen sense level.

Finally, I find it very interesting that Tye bashes so strongly the very style of music that put him on the world stage. What do I mean?  Well, having grown up in the New York Metro area, Tye Tribbett and Greater Anointing (as they were known before G.A.) were not ”new” to us.  They had been singing for years. Soundcheck, the band, was always tight.  Tye could always sing.  The group, although they dance and move more now than they ever did back in the day, were always essentially….pretty good. All the things we love and appreciate about him and his ministry were always there. But interestingly enough, Tye’s gospel appeal and influence seemed to linger and stay at local celeb status at best.  However, his profile in the R&B/Soul music scene rose quickly and prominently as he played and backed R&B acts such as Eric Roberson, Vivian Green, Jill Scott and others.  Correct me if I’m wrong but it was his association with these very artists that got him the attention and interest needed that he was able to FLIP and make him the gospel star he is today.  It’s a little too convenient that since NOW he doesn’t need to perform r&b music and support secular artists, he’s able to so easily denounce it.

I think we (all of us church folks) need to stop and think about how we feel before reciting what we’ve been programmed to say and really think about these things.  A lot of times we don’t even fully subscribe to the stuff we say, but we say it because we’ve been taught to say it.  What do I mean?  How can I put this “gently.”  At last check, I thought Tye Tribbett was married and I refuse to believe that they “do married things” to “Victory” or “He Has Made Me Glad.” To each his own, but I’M NOT BUYING IT.

But with all of that said, I want to be clear that this isn’t an attack on Tye Tribbett or anyone else.  I’m more than open to talk to Tye about this and a variety of other subjects or give him a space to say his piece, so beef starters, dip and fall back.

What do you guys think?


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Aderricka Said on

And another thing…lol just because you say that something is wrong or don’t agree with something it DOESN’T make you judgemental. In today’s times many like to do whatever they want and not be held accountable to what they do or say. Wise in their own eyes…

Drea Said on

My profession is in graphic art & I’m a Christian. Every project I’ve done hasn’t been for a church or ministry or Christian themed. Is my work not glorifying God? Is my life not pleasing to Him? All of us are not exclusively serving in ministry full time… Does that mean we are not fulfilling God’s purpose for our lives?

christyle Said on

the way i see it is it depeans on what affect us as a person like for an example i go to church and listen to hip hop as well but not just any type cause as person get older we must be wise on what we let in our mines some songs are just not my cup of tea dont forget we can enjoy all kines of music when in the rihgt mood.

vchoclate863 Said on

ok im jst goin say i listen to both musics..is wrong most of the time it is cus u dont get the same feeling u get when u listen music that glorifys God..now about that i dont jst listen to praise and worship song really i listen to more christian rap that soley glorifys God and talks bout what they go through to become a christian and then some r and b sound music that talks about God..so u can sing r and b but it has to be bout him..whats a sin for one aint always a sin for another..cus in the bible God tells us which things we do are a sin and there are sins that become a sin once u get close to God..cus there are some that aint blaintly written in the word of the Lord..

vchoclate863 Said on

why would u ask the question why cant i sing bout love? if u already know the answer..he jst want to justify and make an excuse on why he should..so if u have to think twice bout some thing more than once..then its probably not good..so down in the deeps on his heart he’s feel conviction but want to please himself and not the God who made who to praise and write about him..on how much u love him

Godfrey Said on

I caught on this debate two weeks ago on gospel city and i have to say it such a mess. A part of me is confused to be honest. MY heart loves both artsists music. Over the last few months i have been listening to Tye tribbetts sermons and i am blessed by them he is not just musician. Which leads me to always serch the scriputures. Now firstly they three kinds of LOVE. Go research. Secondly, I am wondering if PJ understands the huge distinction that God has for his children. I am not judging him. Lets deal with the principle here. In Principal he wants to sing Love songs and wants the church to accept that? Is it the Church he wants to accpet that or God. here is a dude who wants fans to follow him. i dont want to keep saying much….but May God help us know the truth.

Nicholas Said on

I think we need to be delivered from CFV(churchfolk virus). Churchfolk are quick to get brand new on sunday, but the minute they do the benediction, they are on their way to the resturant to gossip while listening to tye tribbett or kirk franklin. So while they are saying pj is not glorifying God, are they? If king Solomon was righteous enough to be recorded in the word of GOD, then why can’t pj express his self. FOOLISH GALATIONS, Still bound by the law.

Tavarous Said on

I agree with both sides of the situation for a few of reasons. One i agree with PJ’s side because if you go back to the very beginning of BEBE and CECE career you will see that all their music was nothing but love songs. They realy did not use GOD or JESUS or anything like that in any of their music, it was just strictly about love or the lovr of GOD even though they did not say his name. But on the other hand Tye has a point because it does not take much for a good R&B song to have nothing to with GOD. Also you have to really think about the atmosphere and mind set that most R&B music puts you in that does not glorify GOD in any. Also you have think about the fact that music is one of the biggest things that satan loves to play on and use to play things in to your spirit, but there is a need for somepne like PJ to make some good ol’ love songs for those of us who are saved and married to listen to when we are with our spouse and know that it is coming from a GOD fearing person who love the lord just like we do.

shirley Said on

hey wat up

Donnetia Said on

I can agree with PJ… and Tye with all the dancing and shaking okay……………

Sherrie Said on

I believe that it truely depends on the lyrics of the “secular” song. I agree with PJ when he says that he don’t believe god was displeased with Stevie Wonders music. I don’t either. I love Mary J , Alicia Keys, India Arie and more R&B singers. I listen to some of their music when I am thinking of my husband and I also listen to Donnie McClurkin, Karen Clark Sheard, Juanita Bynum when I am thinking about my husband and thanking GOD for such a wonderful man while listening to both. So I think there are ways that God Can get the glory from both. I simply beileve that God is displeased with the lyrics of some R&B songs not as a whole. Ex: Is God displeased pleased with India Arie ” I am not my hair” , Alicia Keys ” Unbreakable” or Mary J Blige ” Peace. I could go on and on with songs that are just about lifes ups and downs, and the things we go through. With all that being said, we as Christians need to do what we are called to do and that is minister to those who my feel sad, upset or depressed about , how they look, those who don’t have peace or who feel that they are breakable and take them to the word.

Belinda Said on

Get to know the Lord for yourself…you will learn a lot about Him that has nothing to do with the religious attitude that the church has developed over the years. I listen to Jazz, Gospel, some R&B…it’s about balance and making sure you are not compromising your faith. . Paul talked about this in the new testament (not letting petty things separate us) People, we have a greater responsibilty and these “arguments” keep us from saving souls, reaching our fullest potential in Christ, and making a difference in the world….don’t let this get you off track…keep moving and living for God and He will show if something is a hinderance in your walk with Him, NO ONE will have to tell you. :)

God Is Love…Right? | The Gospel According To Torrence | BET.com | My-Song Articles Said on

[...] Their is a christian singer who sings gospel music and he wrote a song about his daughter i think its called butterfly kisses not sure but its about his daughter…it matters of what you are saying and i dont listen to secular music any … Read more: God Is Love…Right? | The Gospel According To Torrence | BET.com [...]

Memphis Girl Said on

First of all, it is possible to sing a love song and be a devout Christian AS LONG AS THERE IS A LINE DRAWN. I don’t see anything wrong with singing a love song as long as descriptive sex-capades are not included in said love songs. God is love so why not sing a love song????

MiMi Said on

Don’t talk about Tye bashing secular music. You can hardly find anything on the airwaves that does not whisper sweet nothings to tantalize the sensual side of any man or woman…for NO REASON..just to be sexy. I’m sick of it. Classic artists have sold out saying ..I’d do this and that if “she was my girl” WHAT..come on. The hammer needs to come down. Get your heart purified. Here’s a scripture Create in me a clean heart and renew a right spirit in me!”

Nate Said on

Betty, get real and come back to earth you need to stay on the topic.

Tiffany Said on

God is Love, yes….The bible states in 1 Peter 5:7, “casting all your care upon him for he careth for you”……. Cast ALL, your cares, your anxieties, give it to God, cause God cares. If your in love and want some incite about it, go to God….If u meet a potential husband/wife…..Go to God about it….If the devil is on your backside beacuse of the flesh…Go to God….If u have emotions and feelings go to God…..Some “church folks” forget about the words “emotions” “feeling”….
When u get saved, your feelings or emotions don’t go away, you just know how to deal with them better, and give it to God…..So if I can go to God about everything why not sing about….

Terrell Said on

Can we please be real Christians! Everything we do does not “glorify” God. Consider Romans 14:14,
“I know, and am persuaded by the Lord Jesus, that THERE IS NOTHING UNCLEAN OF ITSELF: but to him that esteemed any thing to be unclean, TO HIM it is unclean.”
Therefore, there is nothing wrong with anything in itself – it’s what we do with it that makes it wrong. For example, how is watching sports glorifying God? How is watching TV glorifying God? If what you’re doing doesn’t contend or contradict the Word of God – you are doing nothing wrong.
Too many times we place our PERSONAL CONVICTIONS on others and accuse them of wrong doing. Just because you don’t agree with it does not make it wrong! There are things in the Bible I don’t like or even agree with – does that make God wrong?
Final point – in the book of “Esther”, God’s name is not mention one time! How then does the book of “Esther” glorify God? Although, He [God] is not mentioned, we see his “presence” and “hand” throughout the book.
In conclusion, people should be able to see God in your walk, talk, dancing, singing, lifestyle, etc. without mentioning His name or professing that you are a Christian. If you have to keep telling people you’re a Christian – you got issues and you need to self-examine yourself.

Jeanine Said on

My opinion is…I agree with his father. There is a time for love songs. When I am with my spouse, I do not want to be in the privacy of our room listening to Israel. I want a love song. People are so legalistic that they discourage others from coming to Christ. It gets so regimented that you break under the pressure. There has to be a balance without sinning.

Alison Said on

There is nothing wrong with writing love songs, just as long as its not lil wayne type stuff. Love is of God period. If its TRUE love then it glorifies God. Love is patient, love is kind, doesnt envy, never brags, is never proud, keeps no records of wrong doing, and love forgives…That is love, and if PJ is singing and writing about that type of love then it is of God. If the songs edify that type of love then it is of God and it brings glory to God. If they start talking about lust then we got issues, however, some lust is fueled by love like in Songs of Solomon so I guess thats cool too. As long as its not coming from a sinful carnal place. God knows PJ’s heart, so we shouldnt Judge. The fruit he produces will speak of his heart as well. So I challenge people to go look at the lyrics to the songs he has written and you’ll get a glimpse into his heart. As for Tye, the word on the street is that he has cheated on his wife and has a love child on the way, even so who are we to judge him? We are human, and the only difference between a sinner and a saint is Jesus. Lets keep it funky people!