Worship

I love worship, I love to sing worship songs, I love to play worship songs, I love worshipping Jesus.

But in Body Peircing Saved My Life I came Across this lengthy quote.

Worship Music is the logical conclusion of Christian adult contemporary music — not just unappealing but unbearable to anyone not already in the fold. Every song follows the sam parameters. It opens gently, with tinkling arpeggios or synthesized harp glissandos that portend the imminence of something celestial in galacial 4/4 time. In the second verse, the band–invariable excellent players–soft pedals in, gaining in volume to the bridge. And then the chorus. Heavens, the Choruses. They could put U2 out of business for good, they’re so huge. Another verse. A Middle eight. Then, a breakdown when the audience takes over singing. Another massive chorus. Fin.

This isn’t music to appreciate; it’s music to experience. People at a worship servce close their eyes and, as ecstasy spreads across their faces, begin to rock rythmically, arms out, mouthing the lyrics. It’s more than a little sexual and a tad uncomfortable if you’re sitting next to an attractive person who’s been overcome by the Spirit.

Worship tunes tend to evince an adolescent theology, one that just can’t get over how darn cool it is that Jesus sacrificed himself for the world. “Our God is an awesome God.” “O Lord, you are glorious.” “How can it be/That you, a king, would die for me?” Moreover, it’s self-centered in a way that reflects evangelicalism’s near-obsession wiht having a personal relationship with Christ. It’s me Jesus died for. I just gotta praise the Lord!

Not for nothing is “Amazing Grace,” which marvels at the author’s salvation, one of the few traditional humns to be regularly included in modern worship services. Absent is any hint of community found in hymns such as “THe Church Is One Foundation”–the Jesus of worship music is a mentor, a buddy, a friend whose message is easily distilled to a simple command: praise me. Not “feed the poor, clothe the naked, visit the prisoner.” Simply thank Him for His gift to you (and make sure to display copyright information at the bottom of the screen so royalties can be disbursed).

All of which I could bear, or at lease imagine defending, if all the songs didn’t sound the same. now, I don’t want to be a total bully here. Obviously, worship music means a lot to many people, and there are worship songs that stand up on their own, as music but they are in the minority. As is any hint of evangelizing–this is musicby the save only, for the saved only, an art form where the images projecrted on the screens are more fruitful sources of meditation and reflection than the lyrics superimposed on them.

Wow, this is a non-christians take on worship music and worship time in the church. What really stuck out to me is at the end that we don’t look at worship with the purpose of bringing people into the community of Christ, we just want to feel good. It’s a little indicting that the evangelical church in america is not evangelical when it comes to our music.

what can we do to correct this? What can we do to make worship evangelistic? What would happen if instead of singing love songs to Jesus we sang songs that led us to love others in the name of Jesus? Would that change the dynamic of our services? Would that change the dynamic of our churches?

Could it be that the reason that most churches in the US are dying is because they sing about what Jesus does for them, and them alone? Could it be that our songs and song styles that we fight over and churches split over are the very things that drive people away? Could it be that people want more from church than to just feel good and have their felt needs(whatever that means) met? Could it be that they want more than just the recent hits in worship music? Could it be that people want songs that challenge them? Songs that invite them to change the world? Song that tell them what’s wrong with them and how to fix it?

What would happen if durring a worship service the band played, I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For. This is a song about a spiritual quest that says, everything we know and have experienced isn’t the end all. There’s something more than just feeling good, there’s something more than knowing all the answers. Would the church freak out, or would they embrace the message of the song to contiually seek and search in God? What would happen?

I am loving this book, it’s so insightful to the whole Christian sub-culture, and it really reminds me that everything we do should be to build the kingdom becaause everything when you boil it all down is God’s and he wants it back.

to quote Martin Luther, Larry Norman, and Geoff Moore, “Why should the devil have all the good music?”

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One thought on “Worship

  1. I have actually sat and thought about this before. I 100% agree that the Christian community really needs to work on their worship music, because it is pretty much all the same and most of the songs seem really uninspired. I think it would be amazing if we could have songs about struggles and how to overcome them, God’s desire for us to do good, to feed the poor etc. However at the same time to me it seems that worship time is a time that we are supposed to be connecting with God one on one. Therefore of course it is going to be all about how amazing God is and what he has done for his people, and of course what he has done for me. When I praise God it’s a personal thing, so I’m going to be telling Him why I love Him and thanking Him for what He has done in my life.
    I’m not saying that evangelizing isn’t important, of course it is, but I don’t necessarily think that we should be trying to evangelize whilst worshipping. It just reminds me of the person who prays out loud in the middle of the courtyard versus alone in the closet. Praising God should be a personal thing and to try to put it on display like that, as a way to win people over just seems kind of weird. Not that there isn’t a time and a place to try to evangelize through music.
    I don’t know, I also think that worship music, versus songs that are used to evangelize or just other songs in general, should be kept fairly simple. I’m definitely not a fan of the 3 versus with the same chorus in between each one routine, however I don’t think that we should be searching for the deeper meaning of a song while trying to connect with God. I think that that would be way too distracting. It seems that if we made it more complicated and made it a way to evangelize it would be like we are singing to show something to other people instead of singing the words for God and God alone. It really would be like Christian karaoke, people would be singing along but there wouldn’t be that connection to God like there is at a worship service where you’re getting down with God and praising Him for the battles that he has helped you overcome in life. Worship music, to me, should be words that remind me of God’s greatness and inspire me to express my love for Him in those words or my own.
    And, I mean, worship services aren’t all about making yourself feel good. Just because you are singing about what God has done for you, that doesn’t mean that you’re making yourself feel good. It’s all done to make God feel good. Of course a non-Christian (I hate that term by the way) is going to think that worship time is all about feeling good about yourself, but if you haven’t actually experienced it than you have no idea. Of course praising God feels amazing, but it’s not done just to make yourself feel good, if it is than you’re not doing it right.

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