MORE ON PRAISE AND WORSHIP

As mentioned in my earlier post entitled PRAISE AND WORSHIP, each of us is told to sing praises to God. Worship is corporate, it is not having someone with a microphone singing at them.

The worshipping church doesn’t consume music, it makes music. But the modern concept of a lead singer arose from commercial pop music, written for a soloist or a small group. It’s no wonder, then, that most live pop worship sounds quite similar. A “leader” singing with pop inflection and affected tone, while ad libbing and improvising rhythm and melody, doesn’t ask of a congregation, “Sing with me.” It says, “Approach congregational singing like it’s a concert.”

This further article is based on an article by Jonathan Aigner, 6 Reasons to give up listening to contemporary Christian music on http://www.patheos.com website under Discussions about Worship for Thinking People. It outlines why contemporary Christian music is not God honouring. I have chosen to reproduce four as being significant.

1. It’s Derivative: The Christian music industry is committed to versions of popular music forms instead of true artistry, its creative value is even lower. Simply put: it’s mostly unremarkable with no artistic merit of its own.

2. It Isn’t Actually “Christian”. People can be Christians. Songs cannot.

3.  It Usually Perpetuates Bad, Shallow Theology: Beyond that, if the “Christian” music you consume is the usual top 40 fare, its spiritual content is dubious. “Honestly, most of the theology I learned from contemporary Christian music was anecdotal, at best. Songs of personal testimony can be perfectly fine, but they aren’t everyone else’s experience, and they aren’t always rooted in sound theology or biblical interpretation. It could make me feel good things about Jesus, but it can’t form a theology that will carry you through a life of faith in an ugly world. They might feel uplifting, but if you really actively listen and reflect on the content, it might not be something you want to be passively consuming. Unfortunately, the fact that such dreck is labelled and promoted as “Christian” baptises it in many people’s minds, and they allow it to water down their understanding of faith and the gospel.”

4. It Encourages Christian Escapism; “The life of faith I’ve found that most people who listen to “Christian” music constantly are doing so as a diversion from any sort of unpleasantness, including boredom. But the gospel message is not one of escapism, and the substance of our faith is not meant to take our worries away and keep us happy all day long until we finally leave this world and move into our heavenly hotel room.”

As people called by Christ, we are called to deep thinking, grappling, and ultimately, holy action. Saying yes to the gospel is also saying yes to confronting sin and the darkness.

It is not something we use as an ointment to heal all our troubles. I find the bulk of commercial “Christian” music is meant for filling the space between the already and the not yet. Keep on filling that space, and one day you’ll find out that you missed the point of the redeemed life.

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