Tag Archive: Derek Webb


so plagiarism has been on the menu of late, in christian circles anyways…

first up it was Mark Driscoll and various questions relating to work he copied or used from other sources… starting with a radio interview and then exploding into all sorts of articles and even some friendly tweets from ‘I kissed Rob Bell farewell’ tweetster, John Piper.

then David Rudd wrote this piece ‘In Defence of Plagiarism’ which referenced a recent occurrence of Rachel Held Evans work being plagiarised [the person later apologised] and Rachel jumped into the comments section of that to make it quite clear that she was not okay with people ‘stealing her work.’

various other celebrities and non celebrities jumped into the fray in different ways and forms and probably the best comment i have read in the whole conversation slash waging war was the one that said ‘the problem here is not plagiarism, it’s idolatry’ which resonates so closely with me – to me ‘christian celebrity’ is an oxymoron, or should be – any time we put anyone else on a pedestal that is not Jesus, we are bound for trouble soon. so maybe the problem here is not plagiarism, it’s celebrity? [runs and hides]

at the risk of being accused of plagiarising David Rudd, i should say that this will likely sound a lot like his, simply because i think to some extent i think the same thing, but i would love to air my two cents largely because i am just so bored and frustrated and ridiculoused out by all this online conversation and hopefully you have been able to miss the whole thing and so excuse my little rant.

i know this is not a popular opinion rant. especially among those who benefit off being the people able to call “Plagiarism.”

[and let me disclaim with the fact that i do feel that using someone else’s words and pretending they are your own is bad and silly and wrong and illegal for sure]

HOWEVER, my stance on this whole thing as far as i am concerned, is and always has been – if you want to use any of my stuff, go for it.

If it is Godly and worth using then i want as many people as possible to be reading what i write.

If it is all me and not worthwhile then i want as few people as possible to be reading it.

Problem solved.

And i have heard all the arguments and questions of ‘Oh yes, would you like someone to come and steal your car?’ and posturing and logic and so on, or it feels like i’ve heard them all – feel free to prove me wrong – but for me i have to ask what the heart of the writing is about?

If it is for the kingdom, then let go of the pride and the glory and the fame and the need for your name to be on the bottom of it and just celebrate that the kingdom is being preached.

And if it’s about making you look good, then at least be honest about it. Own the pride. Own the good feelings and identity and worthfulness you get from saving the world or transforming lives or whatever it is you are building up or breaking down. But just be honest.

My favourite book is a book called ‘No Compromise’ – the life story of a guy called Keith Green who i completely believe would be with me on this stuff – he used to infuriate ‘good, christian, musicians’ and worship leaders by giving his music away because, i don’t know, he believed [like i strongly, strongly do] that worship should be free. silly man.

i have written a book, which i do hope to somehow get published someday [called ‘I kissed hating [the church] goodbye’] and in the intro i pretty much disclaimed the likelihood of unintentional plagiarism in its covers simply because when i hear a good idea i often grab it and use it in a preach… and then after a while i have used it to often it suddenly starts to feel like it’s mine and i have no idea where it came from. can you imagine Jesus overhearing Paul referencing one of His parables and whispering down from heaven, ‘Hey Paul, don’t forget to mention you got that from Me?’ Nah, didn’t think so.

i love the notion of what Derek Webb has been able to do with Noisetrade in terms of music, where bands offer their music for free or a donation or even just a shout out – and so everyone has easy access to some great and often new music and there is the opportunity to pay-what-you-can or even to enjoy it for free but be telling others about it.

so, in summary:

taking someone’s stuff and pretending it is your own is bad [because i am such a not big fan of lying and that’s what that is, really]

writing stuff or creating art or music or poetry – be open-handed with it and let it get out there – why should just the rich and money-laden and privileged be able to get hold of your stuff

stop putting people on pedestals and christians, stop following the example and pattern of the world – we were called away from that. we can do so much better.

best worship song of the year? don’t get me started…

Derek Webb is back with a brand new album titled, ‘I was wrong, I’m sorry & I love you.’

And you should get it! Let’s get that spoiler out of the way right now. This is a piece of music, of poetry, of soul scratching that you want in your personal collection.

I have not followed Derek Webb’s career closely enough to give you a fully in-depth review of how this album fits alongside previous albums and into the road he has walked. f you are wanting a deeper connected review that dives headfirst into each track and really gives you a great glimpse into how this offering plays into Derek’s musical journey then you can find three really solid reviews at Geek goes RogueWorld of Chaos and Savoring the Sound.

What i can say is that i’m sitting in the corner of a Starbucks trying to piece together a review of this album and listening to it as i do and i have just been hit by a wave of emotion. The songs are that powerful. Great as simply good music to listen to. Great as a punch in the face once you start listening to the words and letting it bring conviction and challenge and inspiration to chase more closely after God.

I was fortunate to be part of a launch team and so got to hear the songs about a month before the album was released and was privy to some online conversations with Derek hearing his heart behind the record, where he stands personally in his relationship to God and the church and all i can do is echo Renée Zellweger in Jerry Maguire with, ‘Shut up. You had me at hello!’

I loved Derek’s first solo album ‘She shall and must go free’ which i received for free via Noisetrade [which supplies the majority of my music] which Derek happens to also be one of the co-founders of. And then somehow i missed everything that followed [shame on me! i have a lot of catching up to do!] until i heard that a new album was heading this way and managed to crack the nod into the privileged group of those who got an early listen to the album and viewing of the videos he has been pushing out weekly as the release date has approached…

…and so really just get it – the other reviews will tell you the depth of the why but i am more interested in the who…

And I’ve been joking about this for a little while now, but it’s time to take a closer look – Derek Webb has the initials D.W. and Darkwing Duck is known as the cartoon world’s D.W.

As i browsed the internetweb for some Darkwing Duck info I came across this line from the show:

‘I am the terror that flaps in the night, I am the fingernail that scrapes the blackboard of your soul.’ [Darkwing Duck’]

While that is clearly an overinflated opinion that DW held for himself it does sound a lot more like the mantle Derek Webb has [unwillingly at times, i’m sure] assumed on himself, not so much in terms of ‘the terror’ part, but the scraping fingernail that scratches the edge of your conscience and that of the church..

Then i found these:

I grew up as ‘that guy’ in my church and some of the other christian organisations i was a part of, and so i feel like i get some extent of what Derek’s journey must have been like [i imagine ‘alienated’ and ‘lonely’ and ‘God, really? This?’ were some of the sentiments he felt or expressed along the way].

Proverbs 27.6 states that ‘Wounds from a friend can be trusted, but an enemy multiplies kisses’ and while much of the church was sitting back and choosing comfortability over Truth, Derek got to be one of the voices that called them, painfully at times, back to what they were meant to be.

I imagine, like me, Derek got it wrong at times – a song, and album, with the title ‘I was wrong, I’m sorry & I love you’ indicates at least some measure of that. But from what I know of him, he seems to be someone who has vigorously chased what he believed to be right and spoken up and out, even when it didn’t end up being that comfortable for him. One day Derek will stand before God in judgement and that’s where it will all come out. But more than most perhaps, he has unfairly had to stand before so many others in judgement already, even at those times when his heart and his motives were pure.

So i carried on reading more Darkwing and kept being brought back to images of the other DW:

 I am the terror that flaps in the night, I am a special news bulletin that interrupts your favorite show.

I am the terror that flaps in the night, I am the auditor that wants to look at your books.

 I am the terror that flaps in the night, I am the itch you cannot reach.

And with this album, Derek continues to do what he has always done, with a major twist being that this time the mirror is aimed firmly at himself, but inviting us all along on a journey that most of us will needing to take as well.

When the church loses sight of Truth and Justice and even Honesty and Love, then it needs someone to call it back. The prophets did that in the Old Testament. Jesus and the disciples and Paul continued to do so in the New Testament. And modern day prophetic voices are raised to continue directing us back to the fact that this thing is about God and His kingdom.

Darkwing Duck’s theme song itself echoes some sentiments that might have been expressed about Derek:

Daring duck of mystery,
Champion of right,
Swoops out of the shadows,
Darkwing owns the night.
Somewhere some villain schemes,
But his number’s up.

Cloud of smoke and he appears,
Master of surprise.
Who’s that cunning mind behind
That shadowy disguise?
Nobody knows for sure,
But bad guys are out of luck.

The main difference perhaps is that in our case the ‘villians’ and the ‘bad guys’ are actually simply those in the church who may be heading down the wrong roads, not necessarily out of malice or any kind of evil, but sometimes just out of misdirected motives or skewed vision. In those times the church needs someone to jump out of the shadows and be able to once again help get things back on to the right path. Thank you Derek for being that ‘hero’.

So are Derek Webb and Darkwing Duck actually all that different? In fact, the question we are left with is are they different at all? If you’re still not convinced then I draw your attention to Exhibit B:

With Derek Webb, no matter what direction his music takes, he never seems to choose the easy or comfortable route. He always seems to push forward with his own personal war-cry of ‘Let’s get dangerous!’

In conclusion, if you had to ask me to pick a favourite song of this album, I really can’t. I choose ‘Eye of the Hurricane’ for a moment and then listen some more and suddenly ‘Closer than you think’ takes over and then i switch back to ‘I was wrong, I’m sorry & I love you’ which was the first one i heard and which impacted me strongly… But then ‘Heavy’ is suddenly my favourite song and it starts all over again. There is no best song on this album. Just a collection of really amazing songs that will move you and tug at your heart strings and cause you to rethink stuff and hopefully move you closer to God, and to the church.

I will leave you with Darkwing’s rendition of three lines that I, and the church, and probably you, need to learn to say a lot more often:

I was wrong.

I’m sorry.

I love you.


Do yourself a favour. You don’t want to miss this one.

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