Sunday, July 02, 2006

What really is "Contemporary Worship"?

For those who noted I couldn't figure out the title bar, it was due to a setting. Thanks to Whey Lay for the head's up. I have since changed the setting, and will have more easily denoted sections!

Now to the subject matter at hand. It's quite popular in "secular" Christendom to talk about church growth and "modernizing" the church. I say "secular" because they fall more into the "popular culture" due to their exposure and approaches. The general "church growth movement" is focused on growing a church at a good rate through "modern" songs, "celebration services" and other silly things. I want to focus in on one aspect called "Contemporary Worship", the "modernizing" of the music in church.

This usually involves none of those old, stodgy hymns. You remember the ones with 6 long verses, you had to sing all of them, and all of the old people knew them (but no one else, so goes the claim). Ring a bell? A lot of new, "modern" songs are fairly repetitive, the music is simple enough to be played without notes accompanying the music, and generally make you feel good. However, this format does cause one thing to be lost- the Scripture behind those old, stodgy hymns! My 2-year old put it best- she calls the hymns sung in church "Bible songs." I thought this was a strange way to put it, but the more I thought about it, the more it made sense. The hymns the Church has sung for generations are based on the Psalms and the Bible as a whole. Luther's "Mighty Fortress," and even some of the more recent hymns in the same "stodgy" format, have Scripture behind them. Where does this leave the "Contemporary Worship" songs? Well, I liken them to marshmallows. Don't get me wrong, I love marshmallows. But, if you get right down to it, all a marshmallow contains is a lot of sugar and air. They are pleasing to the tongue, but provide no real nourishment, and frankly aren't all that good for you.

How should we praise the Creator? Should we sing songs that make us feel good for a while, but provide nothing to fall back on? Or should we reiterate the Word of God, giving us something to fall back on? Remember that the easiest way to remember something is to have a rhythm or a song about it. That's why there are those silly sentences for memorizing just about anything, why that stupid song just won't leave your mind, and why children learn their "A, B, C's" with a tune. Which is more useful? Thirty-five verses of "Yea god I love ya" or the Scripture? What is more filling- steak or marshmallows?

No comments: