I finally watched the new and improved Where is the Love? music video from the Black Eyed Peas. Admittedly, I thought the new song would be another catchy and corny tune for everyone to love everyone. Can’t we all just get along? Will.I.am would ask.
To my surprise, the song has unwrapped a lot of difficult questions and challenges who I am.
I must make it known that what I am about to write was not completely hatched from my own brain. The song was brought to my attention by my fiance, Ashleigh, where she then added that she feels there is a much deeper meaning to the lyrics than what people are pointing out (which I will explain soon). Also, powerhouse Christian apologist Ravi Zacharias, in one of his many lectures and presentations, cited the original version of the song by the Black Eyed Peas years ago. He, too, expressed great surprise at the philosophical significance the song carried.
Here is what my take away from the song boils down to:
Will.I.am is really asking to a Christian like me, “Who.am.I and where.am.I?”
“Can you practice what you (are) preachin’?” could be a generalized request for everyone. Even if you ardently believe in karma, why are you then still acting a fool to your neighbour?
But this line, and another to soon be explicated, should hit home to Christians with a bit more bass. (I have officially decided to cease trying to use hip-hop puns, beginning now. My lack of pop cultural relevance has been exposed.)
If that was the highlight verse to take home – the core of the message in the song – then the Black Eyed Peas would be simply asking for everyone to play nice, get along, don’t hate, etc.
As the first half-or-so of the music video played out, I was not completely convinced that this was anything overtly spectacular. It is nice, I thought, but not a shimmering trove of social wisdom.
Then this spiritual sucker punch came: “If you’ve never known love, then you’ve never known God.”
Well, Black Eyed Peas featuring The World, you have answered your own titular question there! Why, then, are you still looking for it?
This song is far more deep and complex than I would like to admit of a current and popular song with a style of music I do not particularly like. But Mr .am, I believe, and his friends are truly asking the Christian community to step up. They are asking where.are.you?
Why do I say this? Whoever wrote this song seems to understand the truths of God and his love as some level. It was quite amazing for me to hear one of the artists say the words “If you’ve never known love, then you’ve never known God.” As it is written, “Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love.” (1 John 4:12)
On one level, there seems to be a disconnection between the artists and the message. They know where the love is, they want “the Father from up above bring guidance.” This could lead this post to go on and criticise our society that while we are asking for guidance from the Father up above, we are also trying get him away from us personally and collectively (in schools, for example). This is not my focus.
The song, however, is emphasising a far different point. If we look at everyone involved in this song as a caricature of society in general, we can break it down this way: Society, deep down, knows where the love is; the love is in God; there is a desire for people to practice what they preach.
But which people? I say, the song is a blatant call from our secular society for Christians to get (back) to work.
In the recesses of my soul and mind, I knew the Bible would have something to say on this.
In the Gospel of Luke’s account of Jesus’ triumphant entrance into Jerusalem, all of his disciples and followers “began joyfully to praise God in loud voices for all the miracles they had seen” (v. 37). Meanwhile, the Pharisees, who at this point were clearly fed up with whom they considered to be a blasphemous Messiah, told Jesus to rebuke his followers.
“I tell you,” (Jesus) replied, “if they keep quiet, the stones will cry out.” (Luke 19:40)
If no one proclaims the works of God, which is love, then even the stones on the ground will cry out for it.
I am a disciple. I have seen God’s love. If I keep quiet about it, if I do not proclaim and do not “practice what I’m preachin’”, then even the stones – even the Black Eye Peas – will cry out.