I get the wordplay, but I took a look at Greg Laurie in "identify then judge" mode. I saw the beginning of this sermon: God’s Answer to Fear, Anxiety and Worry, Part 2.
What follows is a little off-topic, but who cares? I find it interesting and probably several readers will, too.
When I go into "identify then judge" mode on looking at something new, I turn my brain into a sponge. I try to set aside everything I can from what I already know and believe about similar things and just observe. I can't turn off everything, of course. There are countless memories and abstractions floating around in the underbelly of my brain, so I can't do this literally. But I can turn off my critical faculty to a conscious extent and just soak up the experience, which I can later judge consciously. It's like I give my brain a command: "Just observe and identify."
In that frame of mind, what I saw surprised me in a pleasant way. It had nothing to do with political message, but instead with music.
I normally don't like modern Christian music because the lyrics tend to suck. (Many older hymns rock, though.) Of course, I'm referring to what I've heard. The lyrics of the modern stuff tend to have little poetic value and do not integrate with the music.
So on hearing the opening song of the sermon, once again, the lyrics were not what you could call poetic. But I wasn't judging, so I got a nice surprise in the chorus. The lyrics integrated with music and the listener in a really cool way. The verse was the normal first-person statements of the obvious for the context I dislike ("We are your church, we are your sons and daughters" and so on). But the music underneath started getting a real nice groove on.
Then the chorus came: "With our hands to the heavens, alive in your presence, Oh God, you are here. So pour out your spirit, we love to be near you, Oh God, you are here."
If you allow yourself to get into the groove of the underlying music, you should get a mix of nice, cool, wonder, just let go and feel, and a few other such things thrown in. Granted, this is subjective, but from what I've observed, a smooth easy-listening style of music heavy on ninths in both harmony and melody (sorry for being technical, but I don't have other words for it) generally produces a pleasant hypnotic effect where you let go of negativity at that moment and just coast on feel-good rhythm. But with this song, the words of the lyrics direct this all-consuming emotion toward God at the time you are feeling it, and even give you instructions of what to do with your body and how to feel about God--through presupposition at that. The words don't tell you what to do. They say what you are doing.
Note, I'm not analyzing whether God exists. I am analyzing how a strong emotion gets elicited through music and unexpectedly attached to God in lyrics through the image of God pouring his presence over you at the time your are feeling the emotion.
This same process could be used for a country, for a person, for the planet, for anything big, or admirable outside of you.
There is so much going on in this song and performance in both aesthetic experience and covert persuasion I could write a long article about it and still uncover new things. I am definitely going to do some serious thinking on this.
For example, the process I described can also be done in reverse, that is, after eliciting in you (should you allow yourself to get into the music) a negative emotion like raw aggressiveness, using first-person statements in the lyrics--while you are feeling the emotion--to attach that emotion to something or someone outside of you. Instant hate and bigotry.
I did not expect to see, hear and observe that.
As the saying goes, people don't remember what you tell them, but they never forget how you make them feel.
I don't know anything else about Greg Laurie and his people other than he's a famous preacher, and I didn't watch the video for much longer after the song, but I do know he knows what he is doing.
And, I get the feeling he is a good man. Which is good. Bad people with his level of competence could do a lot of damage in society. In fact some do. I'm glad Greg Laurie is on the good guy side.