I am tired of being Swept Away and Madly In Love. Maybe you are, too, if you worship at a church which uses mostly songs written post-1990. There has been a gazillion blog posts written on how awful modern church music has become, so I will spare you the re-hashed critique. I will share with you some discussions my husband and I have had recently regarding the cotton-candy fluff called sacred music. Jeff plays the guitar and has a good tenor singing voice. He used those talents to lead modern worship for a ministry not-too-long ago. These are his ideas [with which I heartily agree!]
- Music and lyrics are written to illicit an emotional response from the congregation. Not that becoming emotional from a song is bad, but singing as to feel an emotion as the goal is bad. Jesus is My Boyfriend type of songs.
- Little quality theological content, which leads to little educational value through music.
- Modern songs also pull to perspective away from “We” to “Me”. “We” could mean the congregation or the Christian body all-told. Again, its okay to sing to God out of the first person, but if every chorus has “I” in it, why show up at church to sing it?
- Complex, full-band melodies. What if all we got is an old piano? Or just our voices? How would this song sound?
- Almost no connection to the Church year or holy days or even times of the day. Notice that most of our non-pagan Christmas songs are over 100 years old.
We were left to the conclusion that, a.) we desperately need modern music writers who are grounded in theology and solid musical ability, and b.) we should learn some hymns from the past to fill in the gap.
We want recommendations for quality hymn recordings, either a cappella or instrumental (with/out voices) so we can learn to sing hymns together. I can play piano, but have no instrument at my regular disposal. Cyber Hymnal is an excellent resource, I’ve discovered. We would like some other accompaniment besides a midi.