Sunday, November 18, 2007

Content is paramount

A story I heard on NPR this morning may help to continue our conversation about worship. The thing that jumps out at me time and time again is the idea that our contemporary worship is thinning out. What I mean is, the content of the songs themselves, the praise, the lyrics, are becoming more superficial as time progresses. That's not to say that all new worship songs lack deep meaning; but are they more generally working towards a more shallow direction? I would argue they are, at least in comparison to many of the old hymns.

I think this country's celebrity worship (pardon the pun) has had a role in this. In our pop culture, we raise bands and stars to unbelievable heights. Record deals and tours, fame and fortune. Unfortunately, I think Christian artists are following suit. Instead of being theologians first and musicians second, it comes the other way around. Everyone wants to write a worship song that will sweep the nation and be cast with mega-church projectors. My bible college was full of this.

Maybe in a sense we've neutered what worship is and should be, by allowing it to become about the popularity of the song or the band that sings it. Chris Tomlin, Matt Redman, MercyMe, David Crowder.....if you're a Christian, chances are you've heard of most of those. And I'm not saying these guys are not genuine. I don't think the problem is them. It's that the church has allowed worship to be sold on the open market.

However, I realize that there is some gray area here: what may be an artistic piece to one person may be worship to another. And what may sound horrible to me on KLOV may move someone else toward a genuine relationship with God. These situations are sacred, and I believe God can work through many things.

It just seems like the contemporary worship scene is mimicking the entertainment stage. And worship is not meant to be simply entertainment. And maybe entertainment isn't meant to be worship.