Tuesday, May 19, 2015

The Problem with Worship Music

Before anyone applauds or rolls their eyes at my title, let me add... I can say that with a deep, truly felt confidence, the only problem with it is that there is one!  (The roles have suddenly changed, huh?) It is an extremely safe bet to say that there is a whole group of people who firmly disagree with me... but they really don't know why.

Of course, they think they do.

I've heard it all, I believe. It confused me then, it kind of annoys me now... to be quite honest. It seems rather silly that anyone of the Christian faith would make it a mission to discourage people from listening to... Christian music. But, oh... I forget, it's not real "Christian." How a song that solely lifts up Jesus Christ can be labeled as anything different makes absolutely no sense to me. But, apparently some have had divine revelation. 

There's this: "The lyrics may be good, but what about the music?"
I want to say, "Yeah, what about it?" But I already know the response.
"It's worldly." 
Ok. What classifies it as such? Is it the keyboard, the guitar, the drums? Because if that's the case, don't read Psalm 150. Maybe it's the melody those instruments deliver? Yep. I've heard that one.

The vast majority of those who bash Contemporary Christian music are in full support of Southern Gospel. Contemporary is a problem because it somewhat resembles, and I quote, "pop, folk, or rock-n-roll." Yet, the Southern Gospel realm sounds identical to the Country genre. I know tomatoes will be thrown now, but even most secular music can't honestly be classified as unnecessary. If the song promotes sin, sure, Christians should have a problem with it. But if your lyrics are pure and clean, why does a Country sound trump Jazz? Who picked which one was acceptable?

Before I continue, please let me say, I'm not looking to stir anything up... other than a little intelligence, and I truly don't mean that hatefully. I just don't understand it. People have said that they refuse to sing anything other than "old-fashioned hymns," because they hold true power and anointing. I don't doubt at all that they do. We listen to and sing them quite often. On the other hand, I do not downplay the truth that God inspires His people of today to pen incredible, sacred words for us in this day and age. If we limit our homes and churches to only music written 50+ years ago, are we saying He is unable to anoint now? That's putting Him in an incredibly small box.

How can we deny the power in these lyrics:

"Oh, the blood, crimson love!
Price of life's demand.
Shameful sin, placed on Him,
the hope of every man.
Oh, what love! No greater love!
Grace, how can it be?
That in my sin, yes, even then
He shed His blood for me!
Oh, the blood of Jesus washes me!
What a sacrifice, that saved my life.
Yes, the blood, it is my victory!" - Kari Jobe

"Spirit, lead me where my trust is without borders,
let me walk upon the waters, wherever You would call me.
Take me deeper than my feet could ever wander,
My faith will be made stronger,
in the presence of my Savior." - Hillsong

"The mountains shake before You.
The demons run and flee,
at the mention of Your name, King of Majesty.
There is no power in hell, 
nor any who can stand,
before the power and the presence of the
Great I Am." - Desperation Band

And forever my favorite-

If you think I'm missing the point, let me ask you, "What is your real, Biblical reasoning for deeming it wrong?" Just because something is new does not make it so. If that's your foundation, shouldn't churches stick with psalms? Why was it okay to advance to the early 1900's but never go beyond that time? Did God's Spirit suddenly vanish? Did the entire world literally lose the ability to progress in an acceptable way? Some stricter movements want to avoid people who "look like the world..." (I honestly don't understand that phrase.) Either way, Kari Jobe looks no different than Sonya Isaacs and Chris Tomlin dresses an awful lot like Jason Crabb. (I find nothing wrong with any of these artists, but I know some have found something to take offense at.) My point is... Why can you sing, "Through the Fire," but not "How Great is Our God?"

I've heard people say that churches that bring in "new music" are just trying to entertain. I take a small amount of offense to that. My church sings new songs, and the anointing falls every time. People fall to their knees... on their face. Tears pour from their eyes. People run to the altar. Elderly women do little jigs in their pew. Teens gather together with raised hands. Pastor weeps as he cries out for God's leading. This scene sounds so out of touch with His will, doesn't it?

Worship "entertains" no one, except the One in which those songs were written for, and I'm okay with that.

Until you've had the privilege of attending a service in which you are given time to sing about Him... not about Heaven, not about our trials, or understanding why we faced them one day... but just taking time to bask in His greatness... you will never understand why people hunger and thirst for it. He inhabits the praises of His people, and it's no one's right to determine how one should praise. All that matters is that it comes from the heart. 

I feel for the precious people who poured their love and admiration for the Savior out on paper to bring a glimmer of hope to this world. The very ones that should be standing in their corner, supporting such courage and faith, are their biggest opposition. Maybe that's a big factor in why the world is like it is today. If teammates don't work together, the common goal is simply in vain. We should be entirely grateful that people in this generation make it their living to add a positive message to the music industry. I love that people who walk this earth with me today are using their talents and abilities to write and sing praises to the One I love more than anything.

"He's everything to me, more than a story...
more than words on a page of history.
He's the air that I breathe, the water I thirst for,
and the ground beneath my feet. He's everything.
He's everything to me." - Avalon

When these words come out of my mouth, I think about Him. I don't think about dancing or what outfits they wore for the front of their album. I don't feel rebellion rising up in me. It doesn't put a desire in me to listen to perverted lyrics, and it doesn't at all make me want to leave the faith. It makes me realize how desperately I need Him. It makes me want to... worship.

While Christians are not of this world, we are in it. Right now. Why do we neglect so many of the blessings and beauty God placed here for us today? Why are the testimonies not as powerful? How come we feel the need to stay away from anything our grandparents didn't witness first? Is your relationship so rocky that a Christian song without a steel guitar and banjo could rip you away? He is just as present today as He was when He inspired our great grandparents' peers to scribble down sentences in their day. He is still doing great things today! He continues to use people today! There are amazing abilities and talents running through our land... that He is pleased with... today.

Let people use the talent God gave them. Don't encourage them to bury it in the ground. 

As much as I would rather write about something that felt more relevant, and although I would have loved to open up about another topic that people leery of church wouldn't laugh at, this conversation has been brought up so many times. It's foolish for Christians to reject Christian music. That line alone makes me look it over and over as if it shouldn't be sitting on this page... 
If you don't prefer it... so be it. But don't classify it as wrong. I mean, really... that's nothing short of crazy. There are much bigger wars that need to be fought. We don't need friendly fire. 

He adores when young people and old alike sing His praises. Do you truly, honestly, wholeheartedly believe He is leading someone to stop them from listening to music written about Him? Do you think He sheds tears over the fact that someone likes a more "modern" melody with those lyrics, rather than a bluegrass? I find that impossible to believe. We update everything from our wardrobe to our homes, our hairstyles to the cars we drive. Why must we never update and give Him the best we have in our world today? Let's just worship Him in spirit and in truth... however that is expressed! That's all that He's concerned with.  so, why concern ourselves with petty, insignificant issues?

Really take time to pray about this "issue." Don't just go by opinions you've blindly supported thus far in your life. If you make this younger generation, who wasn't raised up under your grandparents, feel condemned about Christian music today... If you force them into listening to what your mother and father liked in their time, you're going to hinder them, not help them. They WILL get tired of it... and if they've been told there is no difference between songs that uplift Christ and songs that encourage riotous behavior... who knows what they'll go to. You know deep down that there really isn't a problem with it... You just have to.

So, sing unto the Lord a new song!

"It's in the process of being worshiped that God communicates His presence to men." - C.S. Lewis

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