Worship Music

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Let me say more about this topic (although I’d also suggest watching Southpark’s episode on Christian Rock as a fun supplement). I have no qualms with people singing about their love for God, my problem stems from the way in which it is articulated. From what I can see majority of this music fetishizes Jesus’ death and resurrection and how that will effect our life after death. Again, I believe Jesus’ role is merely functional, a problem that is ultimately theological and hence the music is merely a symptom of shitty theology. For instance, let me take a song that was incredibly popular by Mercyme, i Can Only Imagine. My kneejerk response to such a title is this: Just stop imagining! This song basically describes the singer’s joyful expectation of the life to come. Life on earth is devalued because it’s not our true home (also check out Audio Adrenaline’s Big House, apparently in Heaven we play football?). This bothers me mightily, and I believe Marx’s critique of religion as the opiate of the people rings especially true here.

Another common characteristic that concerns me is how little of Jesus’ life is sung about, save for the last 48 hours. Let’s be honest, no one followed Jesus because they were waiting for him to die for the forgiveness of sins. People followed Jesus because he offered apocalyptic news that was good for the poor and the ostracized. He brought genuine joy, but a joy that can only be met with fear and trembling (just ask the rich young ruler). So while my critique is not directed at the joy expressed, but the lack of emphasis placed on the challenge Jesus of Nazareth’s life poses for all of us (especially those making money off it by producing records). The admiration and wonder I have for Jesus’ life is always supplemented by serious fear and anxiety over how my life does not bear witness to his singular existence.

In summary, I have no problem with people singing about their love of God, but I suspect that this love is mostly based on what Jesus offers them instrumentally not what his example commands us to do for others.

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2 Responses to “Worship Music”

  1. dave Says:

    One of my favorite heretical hobbies is to insert swear words into praise songs.

  2. Jeremy Says:

    That’s really encouraging. I was worried I might be alone in this habit. I have a friend who is irreligious, and in English class he used to sing praise & worship songs in the most amazing Southern accent known to man. He would usually include hand motions (like in Lord I Life Your Name on High or Every Move I Make), which served to enhance the performance. I’ll never forget some of the looks he got for those impromptu songs. God bless him!

    An interesting study that should be conducted is to chart sexual activity versus the time spent with eyes closed during worship music. I suspect the correlation would be strong and positive.

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