Hey, friends! So I’m trying something new. Every once in a while, I’ll be doing a post about faith and pop culture. In these posts, I’ll analyze something in pop culture (such as a song or movie) that’s become really popular lately, and I’m going to see what insights we can gain from it about our world and about living the Christian life. Sound interesting? Good. Let’s get started.
For my first post in this series, I’m going to be looking at the song “Rude” by Magic. You can listen to it here. Mostly, I chose this song because I cannot get it out of my head no matter how hard I try. Regardless of its message, this song is ridiculous catchy just from the melody, which I think is part of the reason it’s so popular. But I think there’s more to Rude than just a memorable tune that has made it such a hit.
Rude is a song about a young man who is in love with a girl. He decides he wants to marry her, so he shows up on her father’s doorstep and asks for his permission to propose to her. For whatever reason, the girl’s father doesn’t approve of the guy, so he says no and adds that he’ll never approve of his daughter marrying him. The young man then proceeds to ask the father, “Why you gotta be so rude? Don’t you know I’m human, too?” and then finishes by announcing, “I’m gonna marry her anyway, no matter what you say, and we’ll be family. Why you gotta be so rude?”
This song has a lot going for it as far as connecting with our culture goes. It’s got a love story. It’s got an underdog hero who has to face a mean (or rude, rather) tyrannical foe. It includes a scandalous secret marriage. And it features something that connects with an unfortunately high number of teenagers and young adults: disrespect for parents. I know I sound old-school saying that, but I think it’s true. There is something about our culture that encourages young people to show disrespect to those in authority over them, especially people that are older. I think this says a lot about our society.
At first glance, one may think that this song has nothing to offer Christians, who emphasize respecting authority and take marriage very seriously. Many Christians may reject this song as immoral and choose to ignore it completely. But I think that if we take a deeper look at Rude, it does have some things to teach us.
First of all, I think that if we’re really honest with ourselves, we can each see a little bit of ourselves in the song’s protagonist. He sees himself as the hero standing up against a great, evil foe. When he hits a wall, his first inclination is to push against it, without even considering that maybe the girl’s father is looking out for everyone’s best interests. Isn’t that so much like us? When God tells us no, don’t we all have a tendency to fight against that? We see ourselves as the great heroes in our life stories, and sometimes we go against what God has for us. It’s human nature, and I think we see a little bit of that in this song.
If we see ourselves as the guy in the song, then the story has a little bit of a different spin to it. It’s no longer about a disgraceful young man being disrespectful (or rude) to his girlfriend’s dad. It’s about us and our own sinful tendencies. Sometimes we look God in the face and say, “Why you gotta be so rude, God?” But just as we understand that the guy in the story is out of line, so we must understand that we are out of line, too, when we treat God in this way. So this song teaches us that we can all be like the guy in this story if we aren’t careful, and we all need to fight our tendency to rebel when God tells us no.
A Loving Father
Obviously, the song is meant to cast the girl’s father in a negative light. He’s supposed to be the bad guy, the rude one that the title refers to. But as Christians, we can look at the song in a different way. In truth, the father in the song is probably right for turning the boy away. As far as he knows, the boy has nothing to offer his daughter. He is ultimately protecting his daughter from someone who may cause her harm down the road. That’s how our heavenly Father is with us.
Among the many things that God does for us, he is our protector. He knows better than we do what is good for us. And he fights for us. He defends us from the evils of this word. To us, that sometimes look like God is shutting a door in our face or trying to ruin our fun. It may look a little rude. But the truth is that God’s plan for us is the best life we could live, so we have to trust him as the loving Father that he is.
The Bride of Christ
There’s one character in the story who doesn’t get a chance to speak, and that’s the daughter. We can connect with her, too. The Bible describes the church as the bride of Christ. Collectively, we are his true love, and we have committed ourselves to be faithful to him and him alone. And yet, like the girl in the story, we are often faced with opportunities to “run off” with other things. It’s true that we don’t serve other deities like the Israelites often did when they were accused of cheating on God. But we do let other things take his place sometimes. We’ve promised to make him our number one, but we sometimes elevate other things above him, making those things our “gods.”
So in a way, we are like the girl in the song. Like her, we have a loving Father who tries to protect us. But ultimately, it comes down to us. In the song, the unnamed girl has a choice: Is she going to say yes to the marriage proposal and forsake her responsibilities, or is she going to honor her father and turn the boy away? We are faced with the same question in our lives. Will we be faithful to Christ, or will we pursue other things and let them take his place?
I’m not going to lie. I bought Rude on iTunes, and I listen to it often. I know it has some issues. But it’s also catchy, and it’s something that has connected with our culture. So I’ve tried to find ways of looking at it that are positive and relevant to the Christian life, and I’ve tried to present those ways of looking at the song with you. I’d love to hear your thoughts on the song! Give it a listen, and let me know what you think. Thanks for reading, friends, and I’ll see you next week!