On musical worship…

As this is something I’m a part of, and feel strongly about, it was interesting the confluence of blogs that seemed to be on the same page as I am when it comes to the subject of musical worship.


Part of the problem is that we talk about music as a gift. It isn’t. I don’t know any gifted musicians. I’ve never met someone whose ability fell from the sky like the dove at Jesus’ baptism.

Every good musician I have met has worked hard – very hard. They have made a financial sacrifice for their craft that ranges from serious to extraordinary. Natural ability may play some role in separating some great musicians from the ordinarily exceptional ones, but that is it. The rest is down to perseverance and sacrifice.
The problem with gift-language, is that it implies debt; it creates a situation where it is too easy to believe that musicians owe the church their services. Don’t believe me? Try being a musician who politely declines an invitation to play in church. Try being the musician who feels called to teach sunday school, or work in pastoral care, or heaven forbid, to preach…

What makes matters worse is that “seeker” approaches tend to overemphasize the role of music. This produces ministers who – and I choose my words carefully here – are desperate to have dynamic and attractive music in their church. In the seeker approach, if you don’t have great music, you’re in trouble. This often means musicians are pressured into getting involved in “upfront” ministry far sooner than people with other professional and creative backgrounds.


Nothing I can add to these statements. It expresses a frustration that I personally have felt many times. I believe I am an example of this as well. There have been times that my life did not reflect the kind of witness that standing in front of the whole church would seem to imply. And I honestly agree with Mark Driscoll, when he said that if they didn’t have someone who could do a ministry excellently and with a righteous lifestyle, they left the position open.

And how about this guy, a slightly PoMo Australian, with a take I think really sums up the dissatisfaction with the sappy goo I play once a month.

I sorely wish Christian musicians would write songs that help to sustain us as exiles, as foreigners in a forbidding country. We need songs that strengthen our resolve and inspire us to act. Not silly loves songs to Jesus.

And lastly, as I head out the door, my new favorite blog:

The CCM Patrol

The first track on Leeland’s http://www.myspace.com/leelandmusic”>myspace, “Yes You Have,” sounds like a song Chris Tomlin wrote on Monday morning after a weekend buried too deep under the iron sea. Gahhhh, do I hear that infamous strum pattern?! The lyrics are actually worse than Tomlin’s better tracks; as we say with each dawning day: writing a heartfelt worship song is no excuse to suck. After a hurricane of weather metaphors (rushing wind that moans, baby!) comes the inane, repeated-ad-nauseum line, unfortunately sung to God: “You’ve stolen my heart, yes, you have.”

If we were in the business of theological exegesis we’d prepare a lecture on that stupid phrase, but the nutshell is that God doesn’t steal hearts, no, he doesn’t. Sorry. As much as you all want him to be your teenage crush, God created hearts and owned them to begin with, and we respond to his calling and give our imagined control over them back to him. There is no seductive thievery involved. I’ll resist the temptation to call this sacrilege, but it’s at best ridiculous and pretty darn near meaningless.

That’s all I got, but I think you get my point


~ by thecox on September 25, 2006.

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