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05 July 2010

Is the Church Singing the Wrong Words?

I got the chance to speak at NorthStar Church in Madison, AL yesterday. I'd like to break out that talk into a number of posts, trying to remember what I said in person, because I didn't really look at my notes. I called the message "Misheard Lyrics." (The title needed work in the sensationalism department. Feel free to tell me what a better title would have been.)

Anyone who enjoys classic "pop" music at least respects Toto's smash-hit Africa. Vocalist David Paich is quite articulate and easy to understand. Therefore, it's a little odd that I've never known anyone who actually knew for sure what the fourth line of the second verse said. Below is a YouTube video of the song (I chose one with some amazing eye candy). The misheard lyrics below start at 2:04 or so.

Misheard lyric:
I know that I must do what's right
Sure as Kilimanjaro rises like a leopress above the Serengeti



 After having listened to this song a billion or so times over the course of my life, I came to the sure-fire conclusion that the lyric there must be "a leopress," because...
  1. "an empress" didn't really make much sense (nevermind the pesky fact that "leopress" wasn't a word until Toto apparently sang it)
  2. there's a definite "L" sound in the phrase
  3. I couldn't think of any other words that sounded like "leopress" that would make any better sense.
Horrifyingly, I discovered that I was wrong.

Listen to that section once more, this time reading the original lyrics...

Original lyric:
I know that I must do what's right
Sure as Kilimanjaro rises like Olympus above the Serengeti

(And I'd have gotten away with "leopress," too, if it hadn't been for those meddling kids)

Let me interject a statement that I heard Alistair Begg make on a radio program called "Truth for Life" (standard disclaimer: because I thought someone's statement was profound doesn't necessarily mean I embrace all of his theology. So there.)

The statement was this:
People will pick up the melody of the Gospel faster than they'll pick up the words.

I think that's a very fair statement, particularly when we're talking about Christians picking up a form of Godliness or religion but failing to embrace Jesus Christ or actually knowing "the Words." (2 Timothy 3:1-5 is a good place to read about this.)

Tomorrow I'll present another legendary song with misheard lyrics. After that, I'll begin a series of posts on seven "Misheard Lyrics" that the Church today embraces.

  
"Africa" written by David Paich and Jeff Porcaro, copyright 1982 Columbia Records

3 comments:

Pat Brislin said...

Here is one from the Michael Gungor song "Friend of God" so oversung in many churches: I have offended God....

chris said...

Looking forward to this.

Christy said...

Who knew that you would take one of our favorite topics and turn it into a sermon series? Cool! =D

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