In Party 1, I suggested one of the scenes set in the song “How We Do” by Rita Ora could easily come from a horrible nightmare. I just didn’t think a hungover sleepover as an indicator of love was ideal. But lest I sound like I’m harshin’ the party mellow, I want to suggest that the song connects with our desires for two good things, albeit in misguided ways.
Having a good time: Rest, recreation and celebration are important parts of life. To be able to do so with friends and special people is a great way to recharge, but this song essentially equates partying with high levels of alcohol consumption. Alcohol becomes a dangerous thing when you lose the ability to look after others and yourself; the alcohol rules you. This song celebrates the abandonment to alcohol’s rule. An objection might be that they are not hurting anybody. Well, in this case the song is clear that there is no clarity about what happened the night before; how would they know if anyone was hurt, or if anything illegal happened?
So on the question of alcohol consumption, can I consume alcohol wisely and still serve others? I think so. Sharing a meal is an excellent way to build friendships; a good wine can help oil the conversation as people relax. But, when you are totally inebriated you cannot be thinking of how you can care for anyone, and even if you are thinking to good things, you might be not be able to do it properly. So one of the reasons I don’t drink more than a couple of glasses is because I want be ready to love, help and serve other people.
Freedom: Finding the one for them in the one with whom this drunk night happened for reasons listed previously, is by no means the best way to go about. Noted. But this thing has lead straight into a chorus which expresses and yearns for a kind of freedom: uninhibited, complete freedom, freedom to do whatever is desired without consequence. There is a distinct lack of restraint. Anything is possible it seems, including shutting down bars. But moral issues aside, this freedom ironically involves another person, and the creation of a unit with its own sense of identity: “this is how WE do“, so we have two people enjoying freedom together within a shared identity.
I want to suggest that what the singer seeks, freedom and a shared identity, can both be found in of all places…marriage. Some people might think the marriage and freedom are opposites but marriage provides heaps of freedom; in particular, a safe environment for free, regular, sexual expression that will only get better and more significant with time, you have uninhibited freedom to serve the other person. One author (whose name escapes me) puts it this way: the man receives in a giving way, and the woman gives in a receiving way. I only note this aspect of marriage first due to the song’s emphasis on sex, but freedom to be yourself, freedom to enjoy one another in friendship, hope and trust, are all benefits of the traditional covenant.
In conclusion: On the surface of it, the song How We Do celebrates alcohol and cloudy sexual experiences. As I have argued these are destructive misguided attempts to satisfy good and natural desires for fun and relaxation and freedom. Rather than being in control of these situations, these experiences control and endanger those involved.
Christ came to destroy the idols in our lives; idols which would enslave us, do us harm and harm others. In his death and resurrection, Jesus actually brings freedom from the penalty of sin and the power of sin for those who trust Jesus for forgiveness of sins. His purpose is to set us free to serve God and serve others, as the apostle Paul writes in Galatians 5:
13 You, my brothers and sisters, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the flesh; rather, serve one another humbly in love. 14 For the entire law is fulfilled in keeping this one command: “Love your neighbor as yourself.”
The right course of action is not determined so much by following rules, though there are some of those; rather the Christian uses their Christ-won freedom to love and serve others. That’s how we ought to do.