What is the point of worship music?
Does God need to be reminded that he is great, awesome, powerful, etc?
Does God need to hear us remind ourselves that he is great, awesome, powerful, etc?
Does God really inhabit “refrigerator magnet poetry” set to music?
- “Lord, you are worthy…” – tell him something he doesn’t know
- “We praise your name…” – and?
- “We lift you high…” – oh yeah? How?
- “We gather around your throne…” – uh, no you don’t, you’re just co-opting a verse from the Book of Revelation that actually applies to something else
- “Your mercy endures forever” – but we ACTUALLY believe it stops when you die and people get sent to Hell
I could go on and on and on (as many of these songs do).
What’s worse is when someone adds a custom chorus to a public domain hymn so they can earn royalties on it. Yes, I’m talking to you, Chris Tomlin, and others like you.
What’s even worse are the songs that speak of some horrible human experience that God delivered them from… except it never actually happened because it’s written and performed by good church people who grew up in a safe church environment (possibly even Christian school and college) and have never once been in the pit of despair or feeding pigs like the Prodigal son. These lyrics are simply lies that reinforce the illusion of being saved from something that never actually cost the singer anything.
One might reference the passage in Hebrews about offering “the sacrifice of praise, the fruit of our lips”… except sacrifices actually COST something. Sacrifices were a way of making restitution in an agrarian/herding society – “I hurt you badly, here’s a cow – go have a nice barbecue and I’m out a whole cow because that’s how sorry I am.”
So what does it cost anyone to sing songs that are bad re-hashes of scripture and/or lies about their human experience and/or bad poetry and/or theological propositions that the singers don’t even actually believe in when you look closely? And why co-opt the secular music that you condemn as if an inferior version of it is more pleasing to the Lord?
Why sing about God’s never-ending love when you believe in never-ending torment?
Why sing about God’s universal mercy when you don’t actually believe that?
And why sing about God’s goodness to all when you condemn and turn away at-risk foreigners for trying to come to your country seeking asylum from cruelty in their homeland as you seek to retain the wealth that you have?
I think the only things today’s worship music actually proves is this:
- Most people would rather have professionals play cool music at them
- Most people don’t care about quality music
- And most people never really pay attention to the lyrics.
“One thing can lead to another –
it doesn’t take any sacrifice.
Father and mother, sister and brother –
If it feels nice, don’t think twice.”
– James Taylor
“And it’s no sacrifice
Just a simple word
It’s two hearts living
In two separate worlds
But it’s no sacrifice
It’s no sacrifice at all.”
– Bernie Taupin