What’s so bad about a “sloppy wet kiss?”

JohnMarkMcMillanWhy are Christians so offended by lyrics like this? What does that say about us?

We’ve sung John Mark McMillan’s song, “How He Loves” since 2007. It’s been a theme song for our church. I love its pure passion and raw poetic flair.

Real transformation begins when we finally realize how He loves us.

David Crowder made this song popular a couple of years later and changed a few of the words. I suppose he did this to make it more palatable for “Christian” consumption, which leads me to my subject. But before we go further, the reference…

The original John Mark McMillan lyric goes like this:

“So Heaven meets earth like a sloppy wet kiss”

David Crowder changed the lyric to this:

“So Heaven meets earth like an unforeseen kiss”

Here’s why I’m bringing this up now. A few days ago, I was watching a live performance by John Mark McMillan of this song on YouTube (below) and decided to read some of the comments. Most were positive, but some were offended by his “sloppy wet kiss” reference.

Besides the irony of some people’s indignation that John Mark McMillan would change the line when the reverse was true, I was wondering, what would make us think this line is so “disgusting” and “blasphemous” in the first place?

Frankly, I’ve always been puzzled by this whole thing.

Have we never read the Song of Solomon? Clearly, this Divine song is allegorical of Christ and His bride, and there are some pretty graphic and even steamy sections therein, little one.

Here are just a couple of the PG-rated examples of how the Shulamite (us) describes her beloved (Jesus):

“Kiss me—full on the mouth!
Yes! For your love is better than wine” (Songs 1:2 MSG)

“When my King-Lover lay down beside me,
my fragrance filled the room.
His head resting between my breasts—
the head of my lover was a sachet of sweet myrrh.
My beloved is a bouquet of wildflowers
picked just for me from the fields of Engedi.” (Songs 1:12-14 MSG)

Dearest Shulamite, would you sing this song at your Shulamite church? Would it get any airplay on our Shulamite Christian radio stations?

I wonder what would happen if songwriters actually started writing songs like this? Not to mention, like the more mature-audience rated response from the Beloved in this song!

My question is, why do we think we have to sterilize and neuter any passionate expression of worship for a God who is called Love?

What does this say about how we see our loving Father? Do we really think that He’s some stoic, uptight deity that’s so thin-skinned He needs our protection from this kind of raw expression of worship?

Is He such a religious prude that He would be offended by such uninhibited child-like devotion from His own darling children?

As a parent, would you be offended and grossed out if your 2-year old daughter ran up to you and wanted to plant a big sloppy wet one on your kisser? I think not. But where do you think we got this love response to our children from?

I really like David Crowder, and I appreciate him having made this wonderful song so popular, but when I first heard it on the radio I have to admit that I was dumbfounded. What??? Did the decency police decide it too dangerous to our safe and moral sensibilities?

Are we really that fragile in our relationship with God?

I don’t even get “heaven meets earth like an unforeseen kiss.” What is that supposed to mean anyway? By trying to make a very powerful word picture tasteful, it’s been made totally tasteless–like fat-free cheese. Looks good but tastes like plastic. It has no power to penetrate the human heart. Sure, it’s been made acceptable for those who apparently don’t want to express anything so authentic but, by doing so, it becomes uninspiring and, for all intents and purposes, meaningless word-baggage.

To quote the Scarlet Pimpernel, “There’s nothing in the world quite so bad as something which is not so bad.”

I love the picture of heaven meeting earth with a BIG SLOPPY WET KISS! Yes! Yes!! Yes!!! I think that’s exactly what our inoculated hearts need–better yet, that all our religiously repressed passions and emotional dysfunctions would get bear-hugged right out of us by our heavenly Papa!

I love exactly how this song was originally written. It’s raw, it’s passionate, it’s powerful. It’s on fire with God’s love. It’s wild-eyed and wonder-filled, expressing something beautiful and bold that beckons us to go deeper into the fullness of joy and pleasures at His right hand. That’s worship.

How He Loves
By John Mark McMillan
© 2005 Integrity’s Hosanna! Music (Admin. by Capitol CMG Publishing (IMI))

He is jealous for me loves like a hurricane
I am a tree bending beneath
The weight of His wind and mercy
When all of a sudden I am unaware of
These afflictions eclipsed by glory
I realize just how beautiful You are
And how great Your affections are for me

Oh how He loves us so
Oh how He loves us
How He loves us so

(Yeah) He loves us
Oh how He loves us
Oh how He loves us
Oh how He loves

We are His portion and He is our prize
Drawn to redemption by the grace in His eyes
If grace is an ocean we’re all sinking
So Heaven meets earth
Like a sloppy wet kiss
And my heart turns violently inside of my chest
I don’t have time to maintain these regrets
When I think about the way that

CCLI Song # 5032549

About Mel Wild

God's favorite (and so are you), a son and a father, happily married to the same beautiful woman for 41 years. We have three incredible adult children. My passion is pursuing the Father's heart in Christ and giving it away to others. My favorite pastime is being iconoclastic and trailblazing the depths of God's grace. I'm also senior pastor of Cornerstone Church in Wisconsin.
This entry was posted in Father Heart of God, Love, Worship and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

21 Responses to What’s so bad about a “sloppy wet kiss?”

  1. Lance says:

    Mel, I really love you brother! Awesome is He and He loves kisses. Should you share the meaning of yadda also? That would be fun. Come on. Yay God!

  2. daniel says:

    Reblogged this on Daniel Lovett and commented:
    I am enjoying reading this mans thoughts. Perhaps you will too. Way to go Mel Wild

  3. Really good, Mel. Often thought about this myself. It’s all about the church police that want God on their own terms, and made in their own image. Peace, J.

    • Mel Wild says:

      That’s the problem when marketing takes over worship music. It’s really the record companies doing it. They put everything in their cookie cutter formula, wanting every singer to sound the same and not feel too much or be too expressive so it will be palatable and predictable. Man makes bricks (everyone is the same) but God made stones (no two are alike). Nothing changes there! Our palatable concerns take the artistry and depth of feeling right out of the art. That’s why I appreciate people like John Mark McMillan and Jonathan Helser. Truly two voices to this generation expressing the love between a Father and His children. Thanks for your comments, John. Blessings.

  4. Oh, Mel, I love the original lyrics. How wonderfully demonstrative those three words are! The phrase regales with love and joy and laughter. I will forever think of the original lyrics whenever I hear the Crowder version. Thank you! 😀 ❤

    • Mel Wild says:

      Yeah, it’s funny about perspective. The John Mark McMillan original was the only version I knew. I first heard him sing it at a conference in 2007, after that, we sang it that way for two years before David Crowder released his version in 2009. It was so strange to me that David Crowder would change the words. So, I can’t sing it any other way. To sing “unforeseen kiss” would be totally foreign to me.

  5. Pingback: How He Loves | In My Father's House

  6. I have a hard time using the word “sloppy” in describing anything about The Lord. I asked my pastor what he envisions by that phrase. He responded with the way the father greeted the prodigal son. He hates the word “spin” so I didn’t use it, but I have to say I can’t even picture a father kissing his son in a “sloppy” manner. When I’m in The Spirit worshipping, the word “sloppy” is just not there. I know that God loves wild variety, so I will abide your worldview.

    • Deb says:

      I guess folks can view this phrase from the perspective of their life experiences. I agree with you. For me, it conjures up the memories of the two old men who abused me as a child, who “sloppy wet-kissed” me leaving their disgusting drool everywhere. ‘Nuf said. Never can I see my relationship with my Lord that way. The “sloppy wet kisses” were the depths of depravity. God is at the opposite end of that spectrum and I won’t picture him as a lecherous old man (as these words inspire in my mind). My sweet Lord is all the things these men were not.

      • Mel Wild says:

        Very sorry to hear that happened to you and that this phrase brings up those horrific memories, Deb. I can understand why you would feel that way. And you’re right, the Lord is nothing those men.
        Blessings to you.

  7. I guess all of us have different experiences that make us like different lyrics. I’m not a fan of sloppy drool myself. I personally love the image of the “unforseen kiss.” Like times when I was with my significant other and thought he hated me and we were breaking up, and suddenly he made it abundantly clear that he had no intention of letting me walk away. We can feel as though we’ve alienated ourselves from God, but then He comes to meet us in a place that says, “I am NOT giving up on you!” And after the thrill of the “unforseen kiss” comes the determination to be a better bride.

  8. Yes, we do. I decided to write a blog “seeking divine perspective,” because I suspect most, if not all, of our problems stem from the fact that we are looking at things with the eyes of the world rather than God’s eyes. 😉

  9. Terrific post and expertly written

  10. Chris says:

    The lyric is “ultrasweet”, which is just as dumb. In Crowder’s defense, I’m pretty sure he only changed it after public outcry. The first several times I heard the song was Crowder’s version on the radio, and it had the original lyrics. When it had different lyrics later on, I was also shocked and disappointed.

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