o holy night
back of the napkin #59

stirring the pot

Battle2If it hasn't been obvious in past posts, I find the state of current contemporary Christian worship music deplorable.

I mean when you consider the hymns of the church over the years, what is being produced today is incredibly disappointing.

Case in point. One of my favorite contemporary Christian artists released a worship song from his upcoming worship album. (He's releasing two albums in a few weeks. One is a collection of songs, and the other is a collection of worship songs.)

OK - so I was curious to hear his new worship song which he released via Facebook.

When it finished, I sat with thoughts of both disappointment and growing sense of annoyance.

I mean a worship song of 18 words repeated over....and over...and over...and over...and...  (Well hopefully you get the point.)

I get the message of the song. I have battles, but no matter how overwhelming the flood of trying times, I'm surrounded by a God who has promised to protect me and help me through these times. Encouraging. Uplifting.

Smith says this about the upcoming album and this song: Battle1

"...The reality is, it is not the style of our expression He is concerned with, it is the heart.
He wants our honesty. He wants our vulnerability. He wants us to come to him as we are, not as we want to be. I feel God moving through His church and He is calling us TOGETHER…. to be one voice and one heart. One bride. Every nation, every tribe, and every tongue. Every social class. Every denomination. Let’s get together and rejoice! In what He has done, what He is doing, and what He has yet to do.”

Yep. OK. But this little ditty of 18 words could be so much more. And I guess I'm not young enough to understand that these words should move my heart to bob my head and raise my hand in worship.  Yes, Mr. Smith - God DOES want honesty, and vulnerability, and unity in our worship. But I also think he wants engaged minds which understand and express that understanding in a complete way. The heart is desperately wicked - Jeremiah 17:9. And yes, it may not be the style of our expression that is His concern, but I can't think He is pleased with mindless repetition either. Is today's worship scene inspired by repeating something so often that an obedient heart will naturally respond? I think that's being just a little naive.

In a comment I placed on Smith's video posting, I suggested that maybe the likes of Fanny Crosby said it in such a way that would engage both heart AND mind.

Conquering now and still to conquer,
Rideth a king in His might;
Leading the host of all the faithful
Into the midst of the fight;
See them with courage advancing,
Clad in their brilliant array,
Shouting the name of their leader,
Hear them exultingly say:

Refrain

Not to the strong is the battle,
Not to the swift is the race,
Yet to the true and the faithful
Victory is promised through grace.

I think this is key in fixing the current trend in Christian worship. Music MUST engage both heart AND mind if it is to influence the whole believer to ascribing worthiness to the Savior. Fanny Crosby and so many others were able to accomplish it. I think it is still possible - but it will take so much more than what is currently happening. Gathering people around a Christian band with stark surroundings like an abandoned building with nothing but uncovered light bulbs and singing 18 word worship songs and nibbling around the banquet of worshiping God seems so weak. I pray it gets better...

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