'Hymn for the 81%': A conversation with Daniel Deitrich

Religion News Service | 1/21/2020 | Shane Claiborne
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(RNS) — A lot of contemporary worship music doesn’t offer the best theology. Many of the lyrics focus entirely on going to heaven when we die, rather than reminding us that we have a mission to transform the earth — to bring God’s “kingdom on earth as it is in heaven” — while we are alive. Many songs depict a God who saves us individually from our sins but miss the part about welcoming the stranger, caring for the poor and loving our enemies.

Reason - Worship - Leaders - % - Evangelicals

There's a reason for this: Christian worship leaders are among the 81% of white evangelicals who voted for Donald Trump in 2016. Many of them gathered recently at the White House to praise Jesus and bless President Trump. The same folks who are writing worship songs to Jesus line up behind a president whose policies directly contradict the core teachings of Jesus.

So it moved me to tears to hear “Hymn for the 81%," a song by a South Bend, Indiana, worship leader that has gone viral in recent days. A cocktail of prophetic fire and Christ-like grace, Daniel Deitrich's hymn is both a love song to the church and a call to repentance, which castigates the Trump administration for "putting kids in cages, ripping mothers from their babies," but blames the church for failing to rein them in: "I looked to you to speak on their behalf/But all I heard was silence/Or worse you justify it."

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It is also a warning to the church: "You weaponized religion and you wonder why I’m leaving to find Jesus on the wrong side of your walls … ”

I talked to Deitrich about his background, the song and what drove him to write it.


Tell us how you got involved in making music.

I grew up in a small farm town...
(Excerpt) Read more at: Religion News Service
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