I saw an interesting video the other day. This guy does a breakdown on the song “Spirit in the Sky”:
It’s an interesting video, with lots of cool stuff, but the thing that struck me was that the song was written by a Jewish guy who didn’t really have any training or education in Christianity.
Which gets to the lyric “Never been a sinner. I never sin. Gotta have a friend in Jesus”.
I remember even as a kid raising an eyebrow at that. Made me wonder what sort of Jesus people wrote the song. The Jesus people I knew didn’t talk like that. Quite the opposite, really. The version I would have written, based on what I was taught, would have been something like “I’m always a sinner. I always sin. That’s why I need a friend in Jesus”.
What struck me from that video was that Norman Greenbaum’s version (“I never sin”) is a reflection of what the popular culture told him Christianity was all about.
So I wonder how that happened. How is it that a religion that absolutely believes “We are all imperfect. We all sin. We aren’t worth of redemption. But Jesus died for our sins anyway. Such is the measure of God’s infinite love” came to be thought of as saying “Never been a sinner. I never sin” by a casual observer in 1970?
I don’t know the answer, but the fact that the popular version is so perfectly opposite of reality suggests something.
Part of it, surely, is the “church lady” stereotype. And that stereotype exists for a reason. There are absolutely some people who believe themselves to be superior to others because of their faith.