so bluer had a reporter, John Leland, from The New Times come and visit back in February. It was fun for me because it just seemed like a good opportunity to use whatever novelty bluer, or more likely solomon’s porch, may have to assist John in writing this article he was writing on the emerging church that people could read and get them thinking, at least for moment, about God.
well, John sent me an email asking about my thoughts on worship music and i just thought i’d share those with you:
> In the meantime, I’m considering an article about the popularity of
> worship music, and thought you might have some thoughts on it. Do you
> think this is really a distinct part of CCI, with its own story to tell?
> And would you say its current rise says something about the way we want to
> worship these days?
Hey, good to here from you John.
Ok, I must confess that I am at loss here. I am not familiar with the acronym CCI. Did a quick web search and found the Christian Camping International organization but I don’t think that is what you are referring to;)
On the topic of the emerging church in America and it’s connection to the arts, specific music, one’s thoughts go towards the likes of Enter the Worship Circle, Caedmon’s Call, Waterdeep, Charlie Hall & The Crowder Band. But in reality, the emerging church, as a whole doesn’t embrace worship music as it is handed down by Nashville. I think the emergent church is much more interested in the creative process, finding the God-inspired in art and the expression of the individual artist as a creative creation. Worship as a corporate expression of intimacy with God is not currently a focus of the emergent movement.
Actually, you will find that the people that are buying the CD’s will probably fall more into the same age group, 18 to 34, but associate themselves with what has become the new mainstream of Christianity in America, the mega-church or the mega-church want-a-be. I wouldn’t be surprised if that was where the statistics pointed anyways.
Still, for many that I know, the expression of love and devotion found in worship music is an integral part of our walk with Christ. Music expresses emotions much more readily then words alone and allows a more intense visceral interaction with God then other forms of worship. Also music is such a part of popular culture as a whole that it just makes sense that expressions of that would find its way into the church.
I personally feel that the CCM (contemporary Christian music) industry is a corporate beast that is secular in nature and simply responses to the economics of supply and demand. But what is causing the upswing in demand for worship music these days? Well, I think it is all about peoples desire to touch the eternal. Music seems to have a way about it that expresses that desire in a way that really touches the heart of a seeker. I would even argue that music is the most practical medium for us to reach out to God and come in contact with the divine.
Does worship music have a story to tell? Well it has been the primary way that I, and many of my friends, have communed with God since we found Him. Heck I “got saved” at a Christian music festival. Because of the role that music has played in my life I could never divorce it from my walk with God, as I have said, it is an integral part. So, yes, there is a story to tell here. The creative spark that is in us is from God. He speaks to us through it and we to Him. The conversation is the story, I think.
As criticism, worship music can just be for warm-fussies too, a comfort to us, or a way to work ourselves up into an emotional frenzy, giving one the feeling of a spiritual experience. I think many get this out of what we are calling “worship music” but I do not believe it is the same thing as what I have been discussing in previous paragraphs. I mention this because I don’t believe that everyone is looking for the same thing when they listen to worship music.
Sometimes we seek the face of God, sometimes His hand. Let me explain what I mean by that. Seeking God’s face is the times we wish for nothing more then that connection, that relationship to God, the kind of relationship you have with a very few, if any, where you look into each other’s eyes and holding nothing back, you are naked before them and you are safe. Seeking God’s hand is like when we are little and we are hungry and need food. We go to our parents and they provide for our need. The same for our wants and desires, we go to the one who provides for us to receive that which will satisfy us. We look to the parents hand because that is where the provision comes from. The first seeks relationship and the second a fulfillment of need.
Some worship to connect with God some worship to receive from Him. There is a time and place for both I imagine, but I think you can tell which I value more.
Of course this is all just opinion based on my own experience, but that is what you asked for isn’t it? In the end I hope my rambling make some sense and is useful/helpful in some regard.
Thank you for your inquiry, it has allowed me to put to voice some thoughts that I have had bouncing around in my head for some time. I hope I have not been too self-indulgent in my response.
The Grace of God be with you,