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9/21/2006

IT'S ALL ABOUT ME...I MEAN YOU

From Andrew Beaujon's Body Piercing Saved My Life. Is this true?

Worship tunes tend to evince an adolescent theology, one that just can't get over how darn cool it is that Jesus sacrificed himself for the world. "Our God is an awesome God." "Oh Lord, you are glorious." "How can it be/That you, a king, would die for me?" Moreover, it's self-centered in a way that reflect evangelicalism's near-obsession with having a personal relationship with Christ. It's me Jesus died for. I just gotta praise the Lord.

Not for nothing is "Amazing Grace," which marvels at the author's salvation, one of the few traditional hymns to be regularly included in modern worship services. Absent is any hint of community found in hymns such as "The Church Is [sic] One Foundation" -- the Jesus of worship music is a mentor, a buddy, a friend whose message is easily distilled to a single command: praise me. Not "feed the hungry, clothe the naked, visit the prisoner." Simply thank him for his gift to
you (and make sure to display copyright information at the bottom of the screen so royalties can be disbursed).

Buy Body Piercing Saved My Life

(HT:MS)

15 Comments:

Blogger Mustard Packet Pelter said...

That's just like the tshirt that says Jesus loves you but I'm his favorite. I'm not so sure if it's selfcenteredness or the actual point that we should have our own personal time with God. We've got to remember that worship isn't just the songs we sing. It's service. I'm more worried about us forgetting that worship is more than just songs and music and devotional times and church. It is important for us to do all that stuff but being more worried about the lyrics to a few songs than being worried about the actions themselves...I've say we got problems.

9/21/2006  
Blogger Mark said...

There are some interesting thoughts here. Something I struggle with as a worship leader for the youth at my church. Does this mean I don't want to introduce them to "Abba Father?" Of course not. It's a great song.

My problem with comments in favor of hymns over modern worship choruses is they are unbalanced. For ever "Church's One Foundation" we have "And Can it Be?" There may have been more balance, but I think if you look through a hymnal (if you can find one), you'll find that there were still plenty of songs that are personal.

9/21/2006  
Anonymous euphrony said...

"Is it true?" Well, as with many generalities, yes and no.

No, it is not true in the sense that I think Beaujon (an agnostic) misses the deeper, inner response to such music and how it will resonate through a life beyond the halls of corporate worship. We sing of His goodness, His righteousness, and we bring this into the world as His ambassadors. There is where we feed the hungry, clothe the poor . . .

Yes, it is true that there are those who never mature beyond the milk of the gospel, whose pursuit of Jehovah extends little beyond the corporate worship service and what it brings to them (key: what He does for them, not what they do for Him). The prevalence of praise/worship music (which Mark correctly points out is nothing new) strokes their ego by constantly reminding them of what they get.

There is a place for praise and worship in music, as there is also a place for convicting music and dutiful music. We are told to seek the meat of the gospel, but we are not told to give up the milk! Our nourishment requires both, to draw us closer to our Creator and Redeemer.

9/21/2006  
Anonymous jeff pardo said...

i do believe that there is meant to be a formative element in worship, in that worship should actively change us, make us more aware of our creator, of each other, of our mission as the church, and of the fact that the kingdom is coming. i think much modern worship, as Beaujon says, focuses mostly on the fact that Jesus died for his people (or more narrowly, for me) and it does leave out a HUGE element....discipleship, community, and being the PEOPLE of God.

At the same time, we should sing about the greatest act of love in the history of the world, and maybe moreso than any other topic in the Christian world. I've been fairly active in the Indelible Grace community (along with matthew smith, of posting fame on here) which seeks to write new music to old hymns and re-introduce them into our "modern" worship. Personally, I think there are great modern worship songs (God Of Wonders being one that jumps to mind, along with Indescribable, etc.) but there are so many great hymns that have sort of gotten pushed aside because of the modern worship movement.

I think a balance between Jesus-As-Sacrifice-And-Redeemer songs and more Church/Mission focused songs is necessary, and in today's Christians musical climate, that probably means a balance between modern worship songs and older hymns, perhaps with more contemporary tunes.

sorry for the novel-length post.

9/21/2006  
Blogger Mark said...

Interesting points, Jeff.

However, how does this line up with Psalms. Haven't studied it myself, but it seems most of the Psalms are about how great God is for what He has done. There is little challenge to many of them. Since this is "God's Hymnal" in a way, doesn't that change the nature of the debate?

9/21/2006  
Anonymous hollybird said...

I see it this way... I was put here on the earth to worship God. That does include service to others. That's an outward sign of worship. I think we have to be careful about labeling any music as worship music. Music is music, and I love it. My attitude is where the worship begins. Once I am focused on how great and awesome and powerful and amazing and beautiful God, my Daddy, is,( and music like the songs that have been mentioned here help me to focus on those things), then I am motivated to be like Him towards others. I think you can't separate the two.
This debate of which type of music is best is nonsense in my book. Of course, we all have preferences. It comes down to where is my heart? if it's not with God, then it doesn't matter what I sing.

9/21/2006  
Anonymous Thomas said...

There was a review on this at blog.worship.com with a lot of quotes too.  This guy doesn't like contemporary worship much at all, although he did finally come around to liking david crowder.

9/21/2006  
Anonymous jeff pardo said...

in response to mark.....i don't know if i'd quite agree that the psalms aren't "challenging." and understand, what i'm saying is not so much that the songs should "challenge" us (though that may happen) but more that they should reflect as much of a full Christian experience as possible. we don't have many songs, for example, that speak to true, honest grief or mourning or heaviness....yet Jesus felt this in Gethsamane right before the cross. personally, i find great comfort in the fact that Jesus felt grief more heavily than I ever could, and I can identify with him in this way. surely this is worth singing about....the God who has saved us is also the God who mourns and grieves with us and who knows what it's like to feel death looming.

hollybird (great name by the way!)...i would have say that i don't agree that what you sing does matter. but therein lies perhaps part of my point....it's not so much about what you alone are singing, but what the body of Christ is expressing in a corporate worship setting, which is the context for this discussion. i think art is powerful, it pull emotions out of us that nothing else seems to, and i think it can change and affect the way we look at the world. again, i think it's healthy for art to do this, and hopefully music that is used to bring the body together to worship God should cover the fullness of his creation and our experience. we should hope, in everything we do, that we begin to see the world as God sees it....a fallen, broken place, yet because of the redeeming work of Jesus (not just for our souls, but for ALL of creation) that the Kingdom is coming, our Bride is coming back, and the future is secure for those who love him. i want our music to be part of how we express the fullness of these truths.

thanks.

9/21/2006  
Anonymous jeff pardo said...

quick clarifying....i mistyped.....i meant to say that i don't agree that what you're singing DOESN'T matter.....that is to say, i think it matters. sorry for the confusion.

9/21/2006  
Anonymous jeff pardo said...

and furthermore.....(i've got to learn to REVISE!!!).....holly is absolutely right that MUSIC doesn't constitute worship, that worship includes service to others, loving the poor, etc.

all i'm saying is that i do believe music matters since it is once of the things we use to worship.

you are all wonderful. :)

9/21/2006  
Blogger Kat said...

I'm honestly having trouble taking seriously any of this excerpt because I'm so distracted by the tone of the author. I don't know anything about him, but this passage comes across as very bitter and cynical.

According to Euphrony, this fellow is an agnostic, which makes sense to me because reading this is almost like reading a marriage book by a 50 year old single.

I'm sure he probably has a good point, but it's clear that he just doesn't "get it." I don't think he really understands what worship is.

This line really threw me:

"the Jesus of worship music is a mentor, a buddy, a friend whose message is easily distilled to a single command: praise me."

He means that sarcastically, but, in my opinion, he couldn't be more right. That is what everything comes down to. Right?

9/21/2006  
Anonymous Stephen said...

Mark, if the Psalms are "God's hymnal", why don't we sing songs based on all the content in the Psalms? For the record, my favorite Psalm is 88. When was the last time you (we) sang a song in church based on it?

9/22/2006  
Anonymous hollybird said...

In response to jeff pardo.... first of all, thanks for liking my name (it is a nickname from my wonderful hubby). I simply meant that it didn't matter if I was singing hymns or praise choruses. I can worship in all of that. I have to remind myself frequently at our church, because we are a multigenerational church, that there are those who are prepared for worship best by the hymns. Personally, for me, the more contemporary music does it. I have had to learn to prepare my heart and sing EVERY song to God, whether it's my favorite style or not. That's all i meant by that statement. The body of Christ is made of many parts, all of which may be in need of a different type of music to bring about a more worshipful time for them. I need to respect the needs of others, and I think we miss that point in our churches sometimes. just my two cents!

9/22/2006  
Anonymous euphrony said...

Speaking of singing the Psalms . . . have you seen the recently released (April 2006) Please Don't Make Us Sing This Song: Songs from The Voice Vol. 1? It has not really been advertised but, like The Message:Psalms, it puts the Psalms to music using modern language (the title track is Psalm 137). It features Derek Webb, Sandra McCraken, Sara Groves, Waterdeep, Jami Smith, Robbie Seay Band, etc.

They plan on a Volume 2, coming out this Christmas, based on Handel's Messiah.

9/22/2006  
Anonymous jeffpardo said...

kat..i do agree it can be a bit jarring reading something about worship music from an agnositc. that doesn't mean, of course, that his points are invalid.

i don't think that jesus simply says "praise me." he does command us to feed the hungry, clothe the naked, and visit the prisoner. in fact, we can sing all we want, but if we're not doing those things, we're probably not praising him at all, we're just singing. perhaps our american evangelical idea of "praise" is too narrow. either way, beuajon's point, i believe, is that the music we sing isn't broad in our praise....it's mostly about me and God, while the mission of the church is about us, the world, and God. there's a bit of a breakdown when it comes to the music.

of course, i know this board will go into total chaos if he starts giving the book away for free.....or not free....or for a hot dog or an email....or for my sister's email.....or for.......

:)

9/22/2006  

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