procrastination, heresy, and navel-gazing.

Monday, July 27, 2009

does music matter?

this isn't one of those posts where i pose a question about which i've already made up my mind. rather, in response to a chat tonight at another sydney-theoblogger-hang (sign up to justin moffatt's blog to keep updated for future meet-ups), i was wondering to what extent our theory and praxis meet in this area.

i know not a few who go to hillsong or oxford falls ccc on an alternating basis with their 'regular bible-teaching place'; they get their worship one week, their teaching the next.

of course, this has a few presuppositions: that worship=emotional singing; that being changed and responding to a deeper and/or corrected understanding of who God is and how he has acted in his world is not worship - of course this does not diminish the importance of teaching and led reflection, but it does say they're different things.

but as mooted, this post is the question of the meeting of theory and praxis. to explain - at my old church they have an awesome band, most of whom play most weeks of the year. music there rocks. but where i went this week, while not bad, was... lacklustre? in comparison?

now while i want to say with all my mind that this doesn't matter, my heart tells me otherwise. so the question is then why? and is it a right feeling or a wrong understanding (if you understand my distinction).

someone suggested tonight (not sure if i should use their name or not - if they contact me i can know one way or the other!) that we should understand the distinction and emphasis as not music but singing. i guess this is to say that the best music in the world with lacklustre singing is nothing, because music is a servant to the singing of praises to God. but something i have been a part of is the most heartfelt singing with at the most a guitar or piano or organ or acapella.

i don't really know where this post is going except to say i want to know how better to match my theory with my praxis. hmmm i think i'm out of the swing of this whole blogging thing.

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Blogger Sam C said...

Not sure I have any answers, but a few more thoughts to stir the pot :)

It's interesting to consider the contr

On one hand, you have churches which seem to be emphasizing the vertical, which leads to songs that are fancier and with more musical effort, but not so easy for the whole congregation to sing along with. Tentatively, this seems to be more focused on the emotional side of praise.

On the other hand, you have many Syd Ang churches which emphasize the horizontal much more. Thus, the focus is on edifying one another and singing songs which all can follow along with. Typically, with less concern about having a slick concert-style atmosphere.

Dunno where I sit myself. I feel like both approaches lean too heavily in their respective directions.

11:43 pm  
Blogger DanielS said...

This isn't the answer, but one thing I like about turning the question from 'music' to 'singing' is that it turns the problem back to the individual and away from 'the church' or 'the band'.

What I mean is that if you think the singing at your church lacks conviction/passion/heart, then the best way to fix that is to start singing with conviction and passion, so that you can express in song what you feel in your heart. You don't need to whinge about the quality of the musician(s), you can do something about it yourself, and the result will probably be good for your Christian sibling too.

6:37 pm  
Blogger psychodougie said...

yeah thanks dan. and i think that was my thinking.

one thing that was maybe different is the dispersion of people within the congregation - we were quite dispersed, noone was sitting too close to one another. that's never going to make for encouraging congregational singing.

6:53 pm  
Blogger DanielS said...

yeah, being spread out never helps. You feel isolated, and you think that everyone else can hear every note you sing; pretty confronting for most Aussies. However at 'We think we're Rock stars' church, you can't hear yourself sing, so you're pretty safe in thinking that no one else can hear you either, which gives you freedom to sing as badly/well as you like without fear of sounding stupid.

7:39 pm  
Blogger Pstyle said...

For me the role of the hymnal (i.e. "worship" songs) is not to somehow make God feel good. .. . hymnals are a way for the church to corporately share in the articualtion of common doctrine.

The worship of God occurs by imitating him (obedience to/in Christ), not by stating 'facts' about him over and over.

12:10 am  

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