April 25th, 2008

Anya bunnies

I've left behind contemporary worship music

I don't like contemporary worship music.

There, I said it! Too late to take it back now! I recently found something that very much reflects how I feel on this topic. I was purusing about Wikipedia when I found the page on the Left Behind series. Being a not-fan of them, I thought immediately that I ought to read the criticism section. From there was a referrence to a blog that I thought I must read, and from here I shall quote to you both about Left Behind and then onto contemporary music.
"Well, sir," Buck said, nearly staggered by the emotion and humility he heard in his own voice, "I appreciate that."

Strolling through Left Behind, one frequently winds up tripping over phrases like that. They force one to stop, turn around and inspect the ground, wondering how such a strange and hazardous thing could have ended up there in the middle of the sidewalk.

Buck was "nearly staggered by the emotion and humility he heard in his own voice" -- is such a condition even possible? Just barely, perhaps, but not in the case of anyone you would care to know. The sentence as a whole was, I think, intended to convey the idea that Buck is humble, but what it actually tells us, instead, is that Buck is the kind of person who finds a humble-sounding tone in his own voice deeply moving. That doesn't strike me as an endearing quality.

From there, we move on to contemporary music. I feel it necessary to define to you what I mean by that. I mean the kind of music that happens in churches with stages. There's a big stage with a massive band and 5+ people up the front singing. And when they're singing, they're not just sticking to the words, because they'll be instrumental parts of the songs when the chorus is repeated over and over again and the singers are raising their hands and going "oh Jesus, yeah!" etc, into the microphone - making certain that Jesus hears them, because otherwise he might not. I have little patience for it. But this is my experince with these such churches in Perth. Most of the problem I have with them is that they have big music, but they lack in Biblical teaching. Severely. And so I quote to you again.
At its worst (and it's not always at its worst), this "worship music" strikes me as a kind of overacting -- a desperate effort to be perceived as earnest that leaves me with the sour aftertaste of disingenuousness. The performers of such worship would likely respond that I'm not the one they're seeking to impress. Their intended audience is God, and God knows they're sincere. But I don't think that's quite true either. The real intended audience -- the listener such worship seeks most to influence -- is the performers themselves. The goal of such performances seems to be to achieve a state in which one is, to borrow Jenkins' accidentally insightful phrase, "nearly staggered by the emotion and humility one hears in one's own voice."

So I feel sorta bad for picking on these things, but the quotes were too amusing to avoiding sharing with you. I have one last musing before I leave you to your thoughts and comments, and that is this; Why are they trying to impress God? Can God be impressed? By singing songs, aren't we merely doing it for his praise, glory and our own encouragement? So if you take encouragement from these songs, then I'm glad for you (sincerely, I am!). But when I'm singing songs in church, I'm not doing it to impress God, but to honour him and encourage my brothers and sisters.

Quotes taken from here at Slacktivist.typepad.com