Wednesday, March 06, 2013

The Pendulum: Church Music

I don't know if there is anything that divides churches more than music.  It turns supposedly mature adults into catty, nitpicky juveniles.

Too many hymns, not enough hymns, not enough Hillsong, Hillsong sucks, too many slow songs, too many songs with lines that repeat over and over....

For something that is meant to be about bringing praise to God, music can be a real pain in the butt.

When it comes to church music, I have eclectic taste.  Some hymns are good, some 1960s songs are good, some new stuff is good.  Whether it's rock, jazz, or even rap, there are good songs in each genre.

Music is about worshipping God and publicly declaring truths about Him through song in order to build each other up.

It's NOT about personal tastes.  Sometimes you just need to be mature and accept the fact that you will not like every song sung at church.  I once heard an older person complain that they don't like any of the music sung in Perth churches.  Really?  They've visited EVERY church in Perth in order to know that?  I seriously doubt it.

Despite what some people may think, hymns are not holier than thou.  Just because something was written between 1500 and 1900 and has Shakespearean type language does not make it a good or helpful song.

Here are the questions I like to ask of a song:
  • Is it true?  Is it based on the Bible?  Not necessarily directly quoting verses (although songs based on Bible passages are really helpful in teaching you to memorise Scripture), but is it theologically sound?
  • Is it understandable?  Some hymns are lovely, but if I'm honest, I'm not too sure what I'm actually singing about.  A song can't build up Christians if they can't understand the lyrics.
  • Does it build up fellow Christians or does it cause unnecessary divisions?
Personally, I think songs need to have a good melody as well as good lyrics otherwise it makes it hard to enjoy singing it (I really don't like the arrangements of some songs), but that's just my opinion. 

So church music is not about satisfying the oldies with a certain quota of hymns, or having the latest funky Christian music in order to attract youth or non-Christians.

Before you judge a song because of its era, have a listen.  You might be surprised.

I sure have been.

This post has been entered in the March edition of the Christian Blog Carnival. If you're a Christian blogger and would like to enter one of your recent posts, submit it here today.

1 comment:

The Provision Room said...

Love it! And I completely agree!!!