Welcome to Varied Expressions of Worship

Welcome to Varied Expressions of Worship

This blog will be written from an orthodox Christian point of view. There may be some topic that is out of bounds, but at present I don't know what it will be. Politics is a part of life. Theology and philosophy are disciplines that we all participate in even if we don't think so. The Bible has a lot to say about economics. How about self defense? Is war ethical? Think of all the things that someone tells you we should not touch and let's give it a try. Everything that is a part of life should be an expression of worship.

Keep it courteous and be kind to those less blessed than you, but by all means don't worry about agreeing. We learn more when we get backed into a corner.

Monday, May 2, 2011

Opus 2011-141, The Worship Wars

“Contemporary” worship bores me.  It isn’t evil.  It isn’t of the devil.  It isn’t bad, it is just plain boring.  We were visiting family out of town.  One Sunday we went to a big church that has contemporary worship.  They had people jumping up and down, waving their hands, clapping and having a great time.  Most people weren’t singing, just responding to the beat.  It reminded me of a crowd after a Super Bowl victory.  In a word, choreographed, conformist, vanilla and boring.  I can watch a sports event without making a fool of myself.  I can also be the clown of the class if I want.  In church I prefer to worship.

Sometimes it is not even a difference of style.  It is a difference of quality.  I do not hate new “praise” music.  You young whipper snappers think it is new.  It isn’t.  We used to call them choruses.  In fact I had song books titled “Praise Choruses.”  Music is a bit like the parable of the sower.

Some music is dead on delivery.  No one likes it but the praise band.  Since they are in charge (and a member of the team wrote the song) they sing it anyway.  Some catches on and you enjoy it for awhile but it has no staying power.  Some is written to endure and will be with us for generations.  One category I can’t fit into the parable are those songs that you hate at first but after singing them awhile they grow on you.  Part of the worship teams job is to decide which type of song it is and repeat the ones that are of value to worship. 

I realize that there is good new music.  But there is a great library of great older music.  You know, songs that are more than a year old.  And there are a lot of great hymns that have endured for centuries.  There is a reason they have endured.  It shows a lack of leadership to only do the latest tunes at the expense of the proven.

I often wonder how much of contemporary worship is based more on ego rather than the leading of the Spirit.  Of course this criticism can be applied just as readily to traditional worship.  I have been in worship teams.  I always felt like practice was a great time of worship and I was always asking myself, will this help others, or is it just for my satisfaction.  Some songs are great for professionals but torture for poor singers.  The leaders should take this into consideration.  Just because it sounds good on a CD doesn’t mean it can be sung by a congregation.

Let the worship wars come to an end.  Sing new praise music.  Sing the old hymns.  Sing it with enthusiasm and give quality leadership.  If you do, I will not find it boring, no matter what the style.

homo unius libri

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