Monday, February 13, 2012

Let's Have More Worship Wars

I have the worship music tastes of a seventy-five year-old woman.

There I admitted it. That's because a seventy-five year-old woman was picking out the hymns and gospel songs in the church where I grew up. My iPod playlist is really eclectic-ranging from George Jones to Andrew Peterson to Taio Cruz. But, when it comes to worship, nothing gets to me like Fanny Crosby. And, if "Just As I Am" is played, I'm going to want to cry, and probably walk the nearest aisle (even if it's on an airplane).

I'm left cold by what people call the "majestic old hymns." I tried to like them, to fit in with the theological tribe into which I was adopted, but I just can't do it. They sound like what watercress-sandwich-eating Episcopalians from Connecticut might sing (not that there's anything wrong with that).

And, though I like a lot of contemporary music, much of it sounds to me like many of these songs were written by underemployed commercial jingle writers, trying to find words to rhyme with "Jesus" ("Sees us?" "Never leave us?" "Diseases?").

But the more I reflect on what I like, and why, the more I'm convinced that my preferences are almost entirely cultural and nostalgic.

I'm not saying aesthetics don't matter in worship. The Spirit equips God's people to sing and to play and to write music. So when music is not good this is often evidence of, at worst, disobedience, and at best, misappropriation of talents. And the Scripture commands us to worship in "reverence and awe" (Heb. 12:28). Keep reading

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