“What Matters More” by Derek Webb

Here’s the controversial song and video by Derek Webb from his new album Stockholm Syndrome. This version was released on his website, not the CD, due to the strong language.

Provocative would be an understatement.  Any thoughts?

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Here are two excerpts from reivews of Webb’s album:

“Unfortunately, the message seems hidden in negative lyrics that often say the opposite of what you would want to get stuck in your head. Lyrics such as “Oh I have been to Heaven and I found no relief” just don’t do much for me. The album is purely negative and I doubt that much of the Christian music world (including myself) will accept Stockholm Syndrome as playable — and that’s before they get to hear the profanity” (Kevin Hoskins,

“Where this album will stand in the history of Christian music remains to be decided by the retrospective analysis of the next few years, and a number of other factors — the future of the church’s overall political lean and how it will consider its current heavyweights in hindsight, the acceptance (however reluctant) of Webb’s daring, and the industry’s artistic response to this experience: its advertising campaign, controversial content, and sonic textures. Even so, a few things can be said outright: Webb has crafted a near-perfect album that rivals anything avid listeners have ever come across, one that deserves comparisons to Ok Computer and Kid A and challenges preconceptions about the depth of art reflecting the Christian experience.  Stockholm Syndrome is a dangerous, volatile, stunning masterwork of prophetic brilliance and insight — one of the most important albums of the last 10 years” (John Wofford, The Christian Manifesto).


10 replies on ““What Matters More” by Derek Webb”

First of all, I love how shit and damn are considered strong language. I thought it was going to be much more “in your face” than it turned out to be. I think Webb’s got great points in his lyrics… that “Christians” in America do not guard what they say, especially in public, and especially towards homosexuals.

In my opinion, he’s really not saying that homosexuality is OK. Webb’s really pointing out that if Christians want to be taken seriously, they should practice what they preach. If they want to be known for love for God and others, they actually need to show that by what they say and do.

Now, for the people who “don’t give a shit” about the “50,000 people who are dying today;” this erks me a little bit more. We can’t just be do-gooders without knowing the Jesus we are trying to proclaim. I agree that debating only goes so far, but it doesn’t really matter if I help “the dying people” if I don’t do it in Jesus’ name.



I agree about the language. That doesn’t seem so “strong” to me either. And when I say “Provocative,” I mean according to the “Christian music” sense.

I don’t mind him saying shit or damn, because he uses it to make his point, which is: “you are more concerned with a “bad” word than thousands of dying people, you are Pharisees who have a nice grave, with a corpse inside.”

I agree that he’s telling us to practice what we preach. And as far as the issue of homosexuality goes: I don’t think he’s saying homosexuality is okay. I think he means that we need to look at all sin as ugly and all of us as spiritual whores before God.


Ah yes. This album should have been named “The Keith Green Syndrome.” This sounds a lot like the same kind of smug, self-righteous lyrics as “Asleep in the Light.” Here’s a thought: not everyone who says, “Lord, Lord,” is a Christian. Those who are, because perfection this side of heaven is an impossible dream, generally find that the fruit doesn’t fall all that far from the tree. Many of my friends across America care for and respect homosexuals as people made in the image of God while still disagreeing with the political activism of homosexual groups. My friends put both money and time into food banks, trying to stop human trafficking, and helping the homeless. Perhaps Mr. Webb has mistaken the political Right for the Church?

As for music that can call Christians out, in love, using humor and satire, I still say no one beats Steve Taylor, and thats dating myself…


I would argue that Webb is calling out the “religious right” you speak of. I don’t think Webb is really talking to your friends who actually live out their faith.


Ok, I’ve never heard of this so called Christian artist before until today. I would like to echo what James said, “not everyone who says, “Lord, Lord,” is a Christian.” Profanity, no matter how simple, has NO place in Christian music. I find it very sad that some are compromising. There are much more honorable ways to express one self. Obviously, this artist has missed the mark.


The issue with “profanity” is that it is culturally determined – the words people complain about today as profane will become part of tomorrow’s lexicon. There are people who believe and interpret the religious community as people who are destructive, belligerent and hate-filled. The issue is whether or not, outside of the words he has chosen to use, we can see how “the person singing the song” views “us”, and evaluate ourselves and make sure we are not the derogatory people he is trying to address.

I don’t care about people’s view on issues until I know first their character and how they treat their fellow human. They can be “doctrinally correct” on every issue, but have the characters of demons.

He will express himself according to his own conscience. We must live by our conscience. God does not judge him based on my conscience, but how he lives and walks according to the conscience God has given him.



I agree–to an extent. Ultimately, we are not judged based on our consciences, but whether or not we 1) loved, honored, and knew Jesus as Lord and Savior, and 2) obeyed God’s will as revealed in Scripture.

Receiving Jesus and being obedient have nothing to do with living and walking according to my conscience. Conscience is a secondary issue, if we are talking about being judged.


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