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Old 03-04-2016, 12:10 PM   #1
OBW
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Default Music in the Christian Church

This is not about the LCM. It is about the church. The real deal. The body of Christ.

In response to a very recent post in the Favorite Hymns thread, I was a little bugged by the content. Not bothered that someone would like what was there. But I thought about how the kind of thing I was seeing was too often tendered as worship in a meeting of the assembly (or "at church" according to the typical terminology).

Below are the thoughts I had. I do not think that my way is the only way. But there is a lot about modern worship, whether contemporary, Pentecostal, traditional, etc., that seems to miss what I think is the mark of worship.

Here it is. I decided that griping in a place to raise a praise was just not right.

. . . .

When I think hymns, I immediately turn my thoughts to worship. And too much of what I hear these days is really not worship of God, but of what I get out of it. Or something to make me happy and upbeat.

So I don't relate too well to most of the gospel quartet/family music because it is often just a lot of sentimentality. Even when singing a truly great hymn. Sue me. That is what comes across. Too much sappy emotion overwhelming what could be great about the song.

Not saying any of the songs linked in this thread are bad. But if it is thought of as worship, then some of it needs to be rethought. And when we speak of hymns, those are designed for worship, so they should fit. Many of the others are not necessarily so, but we use them for it anyway and probably shouldn't.

I'm sorry. That video was at some points a little funny. They froze pretty early-on on one guy just chewing gum and looking around. Then after that a real close-up on another that was barely moving his lips, but clearly not in any way singing the words that were heard.

And the animated clapping. Too much show.

Now I don't think these people as a whole thought of it as a show.

While I like older hymns, I mostly like truly older hymns. Too much of the writings of the early-mid 1900s are excessively focused on me. Just as a whole lot of the modern worship and other Christian music is. Good songs often, but not really worship songs.

And I like older hymns re-chorded (not totally rewritten) so that they work well with guitar and don't need a choir. But the melodies remain the same. And remain in character with the content of the song.

(I recently wrote a song. Was never truly finished, partly because about half way through I realized that the content and the nature of the music were clashing. But I was stuck as to how to fix it. Maybe it will happen some day. But light 60s styled rock for "Our Prayer" just didn't work.)

We sing about being happy. We want upbeat. And the Gaithers very often provided a whole lot of both. And so does a fair bit of Chris Tomlin. I don't dislike either. But not as worship or as hymns, though both can really do it if they want to. And there is a rather good hymn that Gloria Gaither wrote (if we can just eliminate the tendency for a country swing from the 6/8 music). But even that one is a little too much about me. Close.

I have been bugged a little lately by a current song on the radio by Mercy Me. I like the group. They generally have great songs. And this one sounds great. But in the chorus, it says "greater is the one living inside of me, than he who is living in the world" Great song up to this. Then it stretches out "In the world" two or three times, holding "world" for a very long time. That seems to make the world the most important part of the chorus.

But in worship . . .

How often do we sing simply about God? Without reference to us? Like a Fairest Lord Jesus? How often do we interject ourselves only in reference to our worship to him rather than to comment on what we are getting out of it? Not saying those songs are bad. But they are too often all we sing in the worship of God. (Sing them all you like elsewhere. And I do. Sing them sparingly in worship.)

How often do we turn it down and sing some variant on "Lord have mercy on me"? There is a great little section from a choir song we did years ago that simply recites the opening of David's prayer; "Have mercy on me, Oh God, according to your steadfast love. According to your great compassion blot out my many transgressions. Cleanse me from sin."

Those are almost lost in the church these days. We seldom confess. We don't declare a need for mercy. We just privately claim God's grace and move on.

The best hymns are mostly from eras before 1900. There are some truly quality hymns from the past 10 years, but not many. What the quartets and other gospel singers too often do is raise emotions with pearly gates and seeing old friends and family "by and by." And what too many modern hymns and worship songs do is magnify me with some reference to God or Jesus in it. Tells a story. Isn't really worship of God. Often isn't very theologically sound. There is a place for the story. In a different context the theology might not matter. But not in worship.

Let's praise God for who He is. Not just what He's done for me. As much as the LCM over-emphasized the corporate, modern worship overemphasizes me. In worship, the corporate in praise of God should be the norm, not the occasional spice.

Get your stones out now.
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Old 03-06-2016, 08:39 PM   #2
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Default Re: Music in the Church

Throw stones? No way! Thanks for your thoughts, OBW. Can you post some of your favorite worship songs in the place you saw the other songs you commented on?
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Old 03-07-2016, 03:09 PM   #3
aron
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Default Re: Music in the Church

I feel that the angels worship what they see. "And let all the angels of God worship Him."

We, on the other hand, write worship songs based on what we suppose God to be. Our suppositions and subsequent emotional responses dominate, and it doesn't matter how fleet our fingers are on the fretboard, or how many octaves our voices reach. It is still manufactured treacle.

Jesus said that He would lead worship of the Father in the Church meeting. He said this repeatedly in both the OT and NT. But instead we get Fred the bass player worshipping some vague amalgam of Jesus/God. Or examining the equivalent of his navel, i.e. his sinful heart. Ho-hum.

On earth there was a Man, Jesus, who never lost sight of His Father in heaven. It was an amazing thing to see this Man. It was a literal show-stopper. But we seem to have lost sight of this Man, and now have a "Jesus in the sky" who can be whatever we want Him to be for today's song. Piffle.

Sorry. That is just my opinion. There is some fantastic contemporary Christian music out there, and I am rabid for it (i.e. unbalanced as I am about most everything else, I warrant), but the vast majority, like 99.6%, is (to me) dreck.

Music is tough, though. It is a very subjective thing. So I respect what others like. I just don't like it.
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Old 03-07-2016, 08:03 PM   #4
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Default Re: Music in the Church

no stone throwing from me either... The hymns of old truly gave me a real glimpse of God. Of Who He is. I have read the book of Revelation many, many times... and if there is anything I truly learned from reading it... is WORSHIP ! There is a LOT of WORSHIP !! It taught me to WORSHIP the Lord with Praise and Thanksgiving.

The 2nd thing I learned about WORSHIP is when we truly worship the Lord, His Glory, His Love bounces off Him and we are splashed with His Glory, Love and Presence. So we worship some more and He splashes us some more. He is truly very UNselfish. Unlike his adversary who wants to be worshipped and what do people get for it? Destruction.

So the hymns of old truly ushered us into the Presence of the Lord where we worship the Lord for Who He is. And through many of those Hymns, He revealed Himself to me and changed me.

Gees... I hope we are not showing our 'age' ...that is 'set in our ways'...
Naa....

That said... sometimes the music of today is 'fleshy'. I ushered at a Joyce Meyer concert several years ago and some Christian rock group provided the 'praise/worship' segment. Man... I could not worship the Lord as it was so darn LOUD! The whole time I had my fingers and hands in my ears ! I couldn't wait for them to shut up already!!!
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Old 03-08-2016, 08:22 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by countmeworthy View Post
Gees... I hope we are not showing our 'age' ...that is 'set in our ways'...
Naa....
Funny way to look at it.

I regularly attend a "traditional" service, complete with choir and mostly old hymns (a few relatively modern ones, including a couple by the Getty's). And I enjoy it enough. But I am there mostly because I intend sit with my dad. I hope he doesn't get wind of this and think I would rather go to the 2nd service which is more contemporary.

But I do occasionally go to that service, but in addition to the traditional service. It is because I sometimes am asked to play guitar for it.

And in between the two, I find that there is a place that is better than either. The traditional likes the old ways just because it was the way Paul and Silas did it, while the contemporary seems to want to be uplifted.

But I would prefer a service that was somewhere in between. That appreciated what is truly worshipful in either, and was willing to have their favorites either played a little more modernly, or not done karaoke style (like the contemporary songs so often are).

After 20+ years in one place, we moved to a different one for various reasons. But it was not from dislike of where we were. But the one thing I miss is the way music, and worship in general, was approached in the former. The music was seldom me centered. Part of the worship was reserved to the end so that we could respond with more than a quick sing of a single song while the plates are passed (they did that earlier anyway). There was time to actually sing or pray. And when we did the Table, it was during this end time.

For me, that was the beginning of seeing worship as more than just singing great songs. As more than just getting uplifted, but rather in uplifting Christ. Whether I had a sense of it falling back onto me was not my concern. Getting that was nice, but not the purpose. What we did was not to get, but to give. Give without the back-thought of compensation in any form.

BTW. Despite my age, look at the three songs I linked in "Favorite Hymns." It is all over the place, but within that center that I think I like best.
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Old 03-08-2016, 02:10 PM   #6
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Aging sucks! I just remembered the Worship music I liked the best was Jewish/Messianic music. In the 90s I attended a Jewish/Christian synagogue. It was very Jewish in its' service. Like going into a Jewish synagogue but they believed in Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior. Music was in Hebrew and also in English...as were the prayers.
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Old 03-08-2016, 06:47 PM   #7
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Default Re: Music in the Church

I don't know much about music or the history of worship in the church, but I can agree that worship and music is very subjective with preferences varying from person to person and tradition to tradition. I really enjoy contemporary Christian hymns, but sometimes I pick up my old southern baptist hymnal and start thumbing through it and singing. That's probably because when I got saved in 1970 I started attending a southern baptist church...for all of the right reasons...it had a lot of pretty girls, a bowling alley, and a gym for roller skating. I found my future wife singing on the living Christmas tree "Love Came Down at Christmas".
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Old 03-09-2016, 09:22 AM   #8
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Too funny !

Quote:
Originally Posted by HERn View Post
I don't know much about music or the history of worship in the church, but I can agree that worship and music is very subjective with preferences varying from person to person and tradition to tradition. I really enjoy contemporary Christian hymns, but sometimes I pick up my old southern baptist hymnal and start thumbing through it and singing. That's probably because when I got saved in 1970 I started attending a southern baptist church...for all of the right reasons...it had a lot of pretty girls, a bowling alley, and a gym for roller skating. I found my future wife singing on the living Christmas tree "Love Came Down at Christmas".
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Old 03-10-2016, 08:22 PM   #9
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Default Re: Music in the Christian Church

There is that well-known song, Heart of Worship, which I think encompasses the idea behind the true purpose of music in the Church - that being that it's not all about the music. As the song best puts it: "It's all about you Jesus..."

I think the problem a lot of us here face is that while we were rightly taught in the LC that music is one of the best ways to worship God, we were wrongly taught that worship must adhere to a certain format, such as the utilization no more and no less than 1348 hymns which are limited to piano and guitar accompaniment. LC leaders try to tell everyone it's not really about the music, but the minute anyone doesn't adhere to the approved material and style, they are reprimanded.

The LC is an example of an extreme when it comes to limiting what is acceptable, and there are examples of the other extreme of Christian music that isn't written with the intention to worship to God. I think the balance is found in finding what music helps us to individually worship God. Of course, in the Church, the music should be selected that is most relevant to a larger audience.

Much of the problem is rooted in the fact that people have different tastes in music. Unfortunately there has been the tendency to impose a form or style of music as the "correct" form of worship. Once that happens, people are really limited as to how they can worship God. Back in elementary school, I had a close friend who I lost contact with over the years. Eventually I come to find that he was in a Christian "death metal" band 10-15 years later. Before I found out about this, I had no idea that there was such a genre of music. I still don't see how such music could worship God, but I try to not judge (God alone can be the judge of that). For the sake of those who like that music, my hope is just that it helps them worship God. It is much better than getting into a debate about how my musical preferences are superior to his.

It's really interesting that the Bible gives us the precedent of music as a form of worshiping God. It's not like God didn't know that people will disagree on tastes in music. I don't know that he ever expected us to agree on music.
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