Church Music Musings, Part 2

:::Update::: Wonderful teaching from Dean Taylor on Music.

When you boil down all the thoughts I shared yesterday about church music, it comes to this: I want to sing and I do not sing. My life is empty of genuine musical expression.

Looking back on the last two years of God’ Life Ruination Plan for our lives, I can see how He has weaned us off many less-than-helpful things. One of those things [prepare to be offended] is mass-produced music. We hardly ever pop in a cd any more. The last time my husband purchased any Christian music was on his birthday last August. I do turn on NPR for news in the evenings sometimes and for classical music during the day. Christian radio? Uh, nope. The desire is just not there to find out who put out their latest album.

The desire, however, we have steadily seen growing in our souls is to reclaim our God-given ability to worship and daily rejoice in song. People used to do that regularly when working at chores together. They even, gasp, wrote their own songs.

See, innovation is not the enemy. I love and support local music talent. My brother-in-law is part of one of those semi-famous Pacific Northwest Indy Rock Bands. But when our focus becomes so far-sighted in musical preference, we trample the diamonds at our feet. In the Plain Reader, Mary Ann Savage describes her engagement with her vocal capacity by letting go of even the radio. She and her children learned to sing all sorts songs together, more than just worshipful ones.

Our voices are our offering to God. May it be pleasing to Him!


5 Responses to “Church Music Musings, Part 2”

  1. 1 karen May 20, 2008 at 10:32 am

    iTunes has some instrumental Hymn CDs. Some of them seem sing-along able. Down load a song here and a song there. Or even better (if you drink Pepsi) use the bottle caps to get them Free from Amazon. 🙂
    and keep your eye for a used keyboard and hymn books 🙂

  2. 2 alana May 20, 2008 at 1:46 pm

    I totally get what you are saying, and I also agree with you. I write music and sing to myself, and my family and a few close friends. Most people don’t appreciate my music, but it’s an offering to the Lord, such as it is.

    I think something great has been lost in that nowadays people have the idea that music has to be published in order to be worth listening to or worth having been made. And so the back porch fellowship and human community of singing together has been lost to us, both culturally and as Christians. Although I do think that in parishes that have a choir, or afford the congregation opportunities to sing where there’s not this “big production” type of worship band, music can be more accessible to the “common man” than it is pretty much anywhere else in our society.

    Personally, my favorite music is live and homegrown. Jam session, anyone?

  3. 3 Evonne May 21, 2008 at 8:20 am

    You know, I have a very difficult time singing in church. I think people are watching me. I spend most of my time in church worrying about how I look to the people I think are watching me. And eventually, I develop a bit of envy for the people who sing in church without inhibition and a bit of resentment at the idea that many of the people who are singing in church are doing it for appearances. I have a hard time talking to God in church. There are too many people in there trying to look like they’re talking to God.

    In the car, I sing. I sing joyfully, and the music I sing joyfully to is rarely “Christian” music – in the sense of the genre, not the sense of the doctrine. Most popular Christian music, with the exception of real gospel, is, admittedly, bad. Often a ripoff of the higher-quality music of other genres. A cheap imitation. Shallow mimicry. More of the same. Which leads me to believe that it’s about as insincere as trying to look like you’re talking to God in church.

    I fully understand the importance of church and community on Christian lives. I understand that church is a vessel for finding and supporting fellow Christians and for helping others come to God. I understand that the church helps us to find the tasks that we are supposed to accomplish in the Lord’s name. I understand that church is for worship. But I also know that worship ought to last all day, every day, and that God is in the tiny grasses and the curl of flower buds and the patterns of feathers and the little hairs on the legs of bees and the glimmer of quartz in pebbles and the iridescence of dew. And I find that worship is not very difficult at all when I’m not surrounded by folks who are putting up the appearance of worship.

    I also sing joyfully in my kitchen, in my shower, in other safe places. Often the songs are near-nonsense; almost always they’re silly. Some of them are pretty clever, if I do say so myself. I enjoy the serendipity of silly songs finding meaning, of certain sounds and syllables merging together and demonstrating the complexity and un-graspable intricacy of the human brain. I am so thankful that I finally have a husband who appreciates – and will sometimes even sing along with – my silly songs. Many of them are for him. I sing them when I’m at my most loving and my most loved. That is joyful. And the Lord knows why.

  4. 4 cbrunette May 21, 2008 at 8:36 am

    Oh, Evonne! I’m finding myself heartily agreeing with you! Wow….thanks for sharing that. Especially:

    “I find that worship is not very difficult at all when I’m not surrounded by folks who are putting up the appearance of worship.”

    I rarely have a “shared experience” in a large group gathering. The kind of experience where you walk away with your friends, saying, “Did you see/hear/feel that? Wasn’t that amazing?” Difficult to describe…but I think I am on the same page as you.


  5. 5 Evonne May 21, 2008 at 10:26 am

    Yeah. I *appreciate* the “shared experience” and certainly believe it happens for a lot of folks, but I often find that I’m the exception to *most* common experiences. I still haven’t decided whether that’s the result of a quantifyable difference in my “me”ness or the result of me just being . . . difficult, or something. And because of that I struggle with guilt during common worship, and I wonder if it’s just my pride or something that’s keeping me from “letting go” and “giving in” to the Lord. It’s touchy. I know the Lord knows I appreciate him in private . . . but I’m not supposed to be ashamed to appreciate him in public, either. I’m just not quite sure whether or not being externally “obvious” about my worship really counts as worship.

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"I can't say I don't believe in your God, but I don't believe He meant the world to be as it is." ~Nicholas Higgins. North and South.

"I wanted you to see what real courage is, instead of getting the idea that courage is a man with a gun in his hand. It's when you know you are licked before you begin but you begin anyway and you see it through no matter what." No idea where that last quote came from, but I like it!

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