Monday, May 14, 2007

Music wars

Is anyone else tired of the war of music. I mean since coming to work at Bismarck I have been trying to understand this war. At college there of course was no obvious signs of the war. of course it was probably there some where. at the churches that I went to wail at college there seemed to have been a cease fire, compromises, even treaties. the war was over. at my parents church where i attended during Jr. high and High school we had our skirmishes but peace has come due to the compromises made by both sides.

Here at cornerstone community Church it is a different story. there is a treaty in place but it is not doing well in keeping the peace. Since coming here i have taken the time to put together my observations plus what has been learned through experience and a class called church music and worship Plus insights gained through discussions with my mother who is a worship leader and My boss.

First off there seem to be three armies in this war. the first is the hymn only people. This is Generally in the older generation. they have this belief that curtain music is holy and other music is sinful. often times these are also people who refuse to listen to jazz, hip hop or rap. some of these people have been fighting this battle for a wail as they also did not approve of their children listening to the Beatles, Bod Dillon, or the Who. now there are others in this camp who are in our parent's generation, those who grew up in the 60s and 70s. these people either agreed that only curtain music should be played in church or due to associations they have with styles of music and their sinful past they now are in this camp. these people also have no intention of compromise, it is their way or the high way.

the second side of the war is the side that says we should only play modern music in the church. this is mostly in the twenty something age group. from my observations this army is actually is the smallest of the armies. they are also people who have not been exposed to the stories behind the hymns and so their stance is one of throwing out the old and bringing in the new.

the third army is a group that is in the middle of the two extremes. this army is made up of people of all ages, the majority being somewhere in the up coming generation to that or our parents, those who grew up in the 60's and 70's. this army believes that there is no musical style that is more holy then an other, and that all music belongs first to God. they also believe that there is great truth in the hymns and in the new songs that are being written today.

the third army is where i find myself. I love the hymns, at least most of them. there are very few songs that will ever replace the Old Rugged Cross, or It Is well With My Soul, or Amazing Grace, or (one of my personal favorites) Crown Him With Many Crowns. I also love the new stuff because it is written in the music that i grew up listening to. and the lyrics are just as powerful. Songs like Beautiful one, or Blessed be the name, or As I Wait, or I Yearn

Te last couple of months I have come to understand why this war is so violent, and the soldiers in it are so passionate. Music is powerful. God speaks to people through music. so for people songs that God has spoken to them through are part of their spiritual journey. so when someone says that a curtain style of worship song is out of date, or not appropriate, it is personal. to say that the song that spoke so emphatically to a youth kid wail they were at camp is not appropriate for Sunday worship is to say that God could not have spoken to them through that song. To say that a song is out of date that was a song that helped a grandma though a troubling time is to say that the problems she went through are out of date.

at the same time people sometimes think that because God used a certain song to speak to them means that He will speak to everyone through that song. lets face it some of the imagery of the hymns is lost to the new generation, and some of the lyrics of the new songs don't make since to the older crowd. we can't force a song down someones throat any more then we want someone forcing something down our own throats.

this had been my conclusion and I had decided I would live with the treat that was in place at the church in which I now serve. but this Sunday I was almost draw to tears because of wall I felt the music choice was making between me and worshiping God. each service our worship leaders choose two hymns, now one of the genital men in charge has decided that we will sing threw the whole hymn book in the year so we sing everything and many of them I don't know and I don't understand. this Sunday the hymns chosen were two I did not know. that is not a bad things I am good with new. we also do some contemporary songs. those this Sunday included one that I loved in college, Let it Rise. I could hardly contain myself, and then they started to play and sing it. our musicians are very talented, they play with excellence. It was not the talent involved with the playing that turned a song from a way to meet with God into a cacophony of sound but they way they played it. they played it as if it was a hymn.

any more I hate the way I feel during the singing part of worship. I feel very selfish and as thought I am trying to make the service all about me and my needs. I will remind myself over and over again this is about God. not me, this is about worshiping God corporately. if the song does not speak to me then sing anyway because it is speaking to the people around me.

But that doesn't change the fact that the music chosen places a box around me and makes me feel cut off from God. So what do I do? I don't know. I've thought of trying to find a way around this, maybe by sketching during the singing or journaling, letting God use the songs to maybe speak to me in other ways.

However this leads to another serious question, what do I do for my youth? they have not come out and said it, but from the few things that I have been said I think they are going through the same thing. how can I help them know that this singing thing is just as much for them as it is for the older people?

I am at a loss as what to do. especially in keeping with the treaty that stands by a thread to keep the peace.

1 comment:

Lindy said...

Tough question Glo- especially sense you are a pastor at the church- you can't be seen as being devisive and your words carry more weight than they have in the past.

Do you have enough musicians in the youth group to have your own band during youth group? It would give your kids the worship they need without upsetting the apple cart at all- even the most dogmatic hymn-onlyist will usually give the youth a free pass to do whatever they want as long as it dosn't slide over into their "territory". You could also talk to you pastor about doing a contemporary service aimed at evangalism. Again I can't see people imposing their views on something that they don't have to be a part off. Let me know what you do.