Complaining about Worship Songs
I’m going to come right out and admit that as great and thought-provoking as this article is, I did not write it. I actually stumbled upon it via a friend’s twitter link and it was just too good not to pass along and share. Make sure you click on the links or you may not get it. What follows is from “Rant about Worship Songs” by Jeremy Pierce
Here are some of the things I really hate in a worship song.
1. Too simplistic, banal, lacking in-depth, shallow, doctrineless: Consider that one that just talks about unity among brothers that only mentions God in passing at the very end.
2. It’s so repetitive. I mean, come on, how many times can you repeat “His steadfast love endures forever” before you start thinking the song is going to go on forever? Examples: here and here
3. For some songs, the focus is too much on instruments, and the sheer volume leads to its seeming more like a performance than worship and prevents quiet contemplation.
4. There might be too much emphasis on too intimate a relationship with God, using first-person singular pronouns like “me” and “I” or second-person pronouns like “you” instead of words like “we” and “God”. This fosters a spirit of individualism, and it generates an atmosphere of religious euphoria rather than actual worship of God. Worship should be about God, not about us. Or what about the ones that use physical language to describe God and our relationship with him? Can you really stomach the idea of tasting God?
5. Some songs have way too many words for anyone to learn.
6. It patterns its worship on experiences that not everyone in the congregation will be able to identify with. If you’re not in the frame of mind or don’t have the emotional state in question (e.g. a desperate longing for God.) Then what are you doing lying and singing it? Worship leaders who encourage that sort of thing are making their congregations sing falsehoods.
7. Then there’s that song with the line asking God not to take the Holy Spirit away, as if God would ever do that to a genuine believer.
8. Then there’s that song that basically says nothing except expressing negative emotions.
At this point I’m so outraged that people would pass this sort of thing off as worship that I’m almost inclined to give in to the people who think we shouldn’t sing anything but the psalms. Oh, wait…
For those who may not know, the book of Psalms was essentially the songbook for the Old Testament church. Think of it as the B.C. Hymnal. Many consider the psalms to be the most ancient and pure songs of the church. They still play a very important role in worship for many different denominations – some where the psalms are still chanted each week. Psalms form the basis of many hymns and are some of the most well-known portions of scripture – even to those who don’t go to church (Think Psalm 23 – who hasn’t heard that in at least one funeral in their lifetime…). Thanks, Jeremy, for a great, thought-provoking piece!