Singled Out: Jodi Essex's Offend

Keavin Wiggins | 09-14-2021

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Jodi Essex has just released a video for her brand new rockin' and thought provoking song "Offend" and to celebrate we asked her to tell us about the inspiration of the track. Here is the story:

OK. So I'm not here to offend anyone, but bear with me for a few moments, please and thank you. ;-) I love God but I loathe religion. I have faith in Christ and a personal relationship with Jesus, but that's where it ends.

It is the man-made constructs surrounding religion that will always have faith leaders and scholars grappling over the real truths. Those same constructs will continue to turn Christ followers into atheists.
It has become such an overwhelming obsession for leadership overseeing congregations to be liked. Almost to the point that they have forgotten the very reason for their calling to ministry. So much so, that just to keep mainstream culture worshipers shuffling through their doors, they have curbed their faith teachings in exchange for remaining relevant; their two-faced desire to be seen as "go with a flow, anything goes" folks, while making assertions that they hold the key for one's path to emotional well-being and lifelong happiness. That's what I call "life coaching" not preaching the gospel.

Uhhh..no. Not happening. Not on my watch as long as I have the microphone.

Now let's get to "Offend." It's about standing up boldly & speaking out for your deepest beliefs, even at the risk of being unliked or offending others; in this case, a call out to accountability for the truth of the gospel. Things like religion, the bible, Christianity - inherently are offensive to some people. They may be offended just by the nature of something. So, in this song, the chorus asks, "Will you offend for the gospel?" I'm not referring to the act of being "offensive," or unkind, or brash to another, but more in the vein of standing up for what one believes even if it offends someone. How someone else feels is out of our control, so we say what we have to say, stand up for what we believe in, in truth and love, and however someone is going to feel, is how they're going to feel. It's not our job or responsibility to manage that. Their feelings belong to them, forever and ever.

The actual inspiration for 'Offend' came to me last year while our world was deeply buried in the throes of C-19. In one way or another, it seemed as if anything and everything was happening to our world and affecting everyone in it.

One of the biggest observations for me was the huge onslaught of Christian leadership everywhere, caving in and stepping down, in some cases, denouncing and renouncing their faith in the same breath. The shocking stories of well-known and loved thought leaders, faith-based musicians, and public figures who were once followers of Christ were proclaiming that Christianity was a farce, perhaps even a form of brainwashing, which was sad and disappointing.

There could be a myriad of reasons for these types of actions and this level of fallout. At the heart of it all, I felt a real need for accountability across the board, both with respect to leaders and congregants. We are still individually responsible for our decisions, actions and truth- seeking convictions.

To me, "Offend" also serves as a blatant call out of all pastors & church leadership targeted to those who have fallen into the trappings of power. As I referenced above, with power oftentimes comes the desperate need & desire to be liked; where inclusivity & gaining "followers" becomes more important than the teachings of the gospel and all relevant biblical history/subject matter.

People who claim and state that they are "called" to a life in ministry have a very distinct purpose and path to follow. A life in ministry is about teaching and equipping believers with truths. Some leaders have grown fearful of scaring people away at the thought of actually teaching the Truth, which inherently can create division for obvious reasons, especially if you're not a believer or if someone is only at the beginning of their faith journey in Christ.

When did some of our faith leaders become so confrontation-averse? When did they stop fearing the teaching of falsehoods? What happened to standing firm and bold in our deeply-held beliefs no matter the ramifications staring us in the face? When did it become more important to teach "life" lessons versus teaching about a life centered in Christ? There's a lyric in 'Offend" that begins the second verse, "This ain't no Sunday Brunch Club..." because that isn't what a church community is. If that's what teaching the truth has been reduced to, then what's it all for?

Again, as the chorus asks:

"Will you offend for the gospel?"

HECK YEAH! I will every time...in faith & love.

Hearing is believing. Now that you know the story behind the song, listen and watch for yourself below and learn more about the album here

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