That Was Sloppy and I Didn’t See It Coming

Several months ago1 at my church we sang a new to me song. The song made mention of a “sloppy wet kiss” and I thought that was interesting but didn’t have time to think much about it since the next line was already being sung.

Heaven meets earth like a sloppy wet kiss

A week or three later we sang the song again, only this time the sloppy wet kiss went missing, and I thought that was even more interesting. It was interesting enough I spent the rest of the song hitting the Internet to find out what the deal was. (Yes, I’m that guy; I do it very seldom, but sometimes a guy’s just gotta know.)

Heaven meets earth in an unforeseen kiss

I discovered that there were two versions of the lyrics out there, that the “sloppy wet” version was the original, and the “unforeseen” version we were singing that day was from David Crowder, a band that our music worship leader happens to like a lot (as do I). I thought it was interesting that Crowder was the one who used the more conservative lyrics, since he strikes me as a “sloppy wet” kind of person. But, the next song was up and I again didn’t think much more about it.

Until the next time we sang it, and the next time, and every time after that. I missed that sloppy wet kiss.

This week, we sang a few songs at the beginning of our small group time (go Wendy!), and one of them was this one. Which, of course, got me to thinking again. The difference between a couple of words in a song doesn’t seem like it would be all that interesting, but it has intrigued me a great deal, mainly because I’ve grown to believe that which of those lyrics we prefer tells a lot about us.

(To be clear at the outset, I don’t think either group is “right,” or better, or closer to the original Greek. It takes all kinds to make the world go round, and the sooner we figure that out the better the world could be.)

“Sloppy wet” people are probably a little off-center, are comfortable with uncomfortableness, are a little looser and more unbuttoned then the norm. I imagine they like The Message2 more than the ESV.3 I would expect to see them at a Crowder concert before a Hillsong one.4 I suspect John the Baptist would have liked “sloppy wet.”

“Unforeseen” people probably stick a little close to center and don’t like clapping on the off-beat. They are anchors in a good way, people who hold steady in a storm. They loved Michael W. Smith and don’t understand why everyone else didn’t, too. I imagine the apostle Paul was an “unforeseen” kind of guy.

One of our kids, Alf Evans, is totally a “sloppy wet” kind of guy. (I haven’t actually asked him this, so if he comes back and says he prefers “unforeseen” then the earth will fall off its axis and everything about my life will instantly become meaningless.) It’s why he’s been so effective at ministry out on the edges, it’s why his family was perfect for Cambodia, and it’s why he makes “unforeseen” people really, really nervous.

People like my wife. I did ask her today, and she didn’t hesitate, she’s “unforeseen” all the way. She’s who kids go to when they want the real answer (as opposed to the “fun” one they’re going to get from me). She doesn’t so much embrace change as give it a side hug. And she’s often shaking her head when she leaves the room where Alf and I are skyping. She’s also the person you want most around you when the chips are down, because she’ll have those chips prayed back up before the day is done.

I’ve already indicated which way I lean. I like “sloppy wet” first because it stands out — it’s like a little splash of cold water to make you sit up and pay attention when you’re worshiping with music, which is good because it’s too easy to get on cruise control.

I like it second because I think it accurately reflects what happened — when Heaven met earth, it was sloppy and messy because we’re sloppy and messy and anything involving us is going to be sloppy and messy.

I like it third because it’s a great word-picture, and I love great word-pictures.

So, if you’re sitting around me one Sunday morning and hear “sloppy wet” when it’s not in the lyrics on the screen? That should not be unforeseen.

(After I had all of the above written, in my head at least, and was in the middle of putting it down on computer, I ducked5 the song and found this blog post by John Mark McMillan, the artist who wrote and first recorded the song. It turns out there was a bit of a controversy at the time, over the original lyrics by some, and over Crowder changing the lyrics by others.

I didn’t know that when I wrote this post. It doesn’t surprise me, because just as there are different kinds of people in this world, a lot of those people (and a very high percentage of Christians) think they are right, they are better, and they are closer to the original Greek. The fact that both lyrics found controversy reminds me of two things: you can’t please everyone and shouldn’t even try, and this lyric from a 70’s philosopher that says much the same thing.)

I don’t care what you say anymore, this is my life.

  1. It could have been a couple of years. Time flies when you’re having fun. And are old.
  2. Forever known to me as The Dude Bible because someone in our Sunday School class long ago would always say, “Dude,” at the end of any passage he read in it. Try it, you’ll find it fits more often than not. (If you’re cringing right now, you’re probably an “unforeseen” person.)
  3. Eager Seminarian Version.
  4. Yes, I see the irony there.
  5. As in, the search engine you should be using instead of that other one.

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