Thursday, February 18, 2010

"Worship" songs that make us puke. . .

I just have to put in a plug for a blog of a friend. . .Jonathan has just started a thread on awful "worship" music over at his "Ponder Anew" blog.  As he has expressed, it pains me how much content in the stuff we call "worship" is just plain lousy theology.

(Beyond that, I often find it to be bad poetry and sloppy music too, but those are aesthetic considerations and I grant that one person's Picasso is another person's childish scribbles.  Nevertheless I hear good music so rarely--almost never in my church--that just the sound of a truly beautiful song, beautifully done, can bring me to tears of hunger. . .but I digress).

Back to the point, however, we really need to learn what worship is--and isn't--and what really is asked of us in scripture.  Without getting into it right now (I haven't taken the time to study the subject yet), I would wager that gushing about how cool God is and how fuzzy he makes us feel, is NOT part of the Biblical mandate. . .

And meanwhile, I just hope that God isn't as repulsed by our church services as I am, though when I read Amos 5:21-24 I'm not so sure. . .

4 comments:

jaigner said...

Like I said, Dan, most of what we find in churches is horrific. The real problem is that nobody seems to have a filter for this stuff. The feel like if people connect with the music emotionally and it gets a good response, it must be just fine. Those of us who speak out about it are called unloving, bitter, cold...whatever else.

Just because the person who wrote it loves God does not make their work valid - or something that should be used in the Church.

And talk about narcissism, some of this stuff is blatantly self-worshiping, but nobody seems to notice it. or if they do, they just get shot down for not being loving toward Christian brothers and sisters.

I don't know, man, I'm just tired of all the nonsense. Seems like I'm not the only one, though. Thanks for the nod.

Dan Martin said...

You are absolutely correct, Jonathan, both on the lack of judgment and the narcissism. Perhaps the greatest tragedy is the extent to which we teach our congregants--and particularly our kids--that an ecstatic or warm-fuzzy feeling is the presence and blessing of God. It's only natural, in that environment, to do things which result in that feeling being stimulated.

Two terrible outcomes result from this, and I'll probably write more about them some day: On one hand, the reality of God is obscured by counterfeit feelings, and on the other, people like me who do not seem to be subject to the emotional manipulation, question the reality of their faith entirely based upon the lack of feeling what everybody else appears to be experiencing. I wonder how many people have been driven from the church, either because they can't abide the counterfeit, or because they conclude that whatever faith is, they must not be able to get it.

Could this be another application of Matt. 18:6?

groansfromwithin said...

Dan, I agree with you about theology and music. In fact, very often our worship leaders will come to me and ask me to read lyrics so that we dont accidently give reinforcements to 'escapist' theologies. I always change the words to the last verse of "How Great Thou Art" when I sing it (one music song battle i haven't won yet). At the same time, I dont have a problem telling God how much i love Him. This has often opened me up to recieve from the Holy Spirit. Not because I feel fuzzy, but because of my posture before Him. --KURT

Dan Martin said...

Curious what you edit on "How Great Thou Art," Kurt. Maybe the "take me home" part (as in, we're gonna be on a new earth not somewhere else?)?

Have to admit that's one of the songs I really like (really for the first 3 verses, I kinda tolerate the last one anyhow), because it concentrates on God and his work, and not on us and our feelings.

It's a MUCH longer subject to talk about loving God...the way I define the words I still haven't figured that one out, except to say that what the Bible says about "love" and the ways we usually use the word have little to nothing in common... and though I believe the existence of the Holy Spirit, I still doubt I've ever personally encountered it.

I agree we should have a posture of submission, obedience, even admiration before God; I don't get there through the route of most "praise" or "worship" exercises, which are more likely to cause me to feel apologetic toward God for the pablum we're shoveling his way. Nevertheless, for those who feel loving feelings toward God, I don't object, but I think we'd do better if we understood the difference between eros, phileo, and agape before we spent so much time slinging around the same "love" word for everything from Cheetos to our spouse to the creator of the universe...