Friday, January 9, 2009

Relevance! Catch the fever!

When a church is looking to be "relevant", there are few ways it can better accomplish this than through its music. Many such churches believe the ultimate in relevance is achieved by singing secular songs as praise, but others choose a different route: taking the same songs but changing a word here or there to "Christian them up". When the latter method is chosen, you often get a true masterpiece of 'worship'.

As you might expect, I have a few comments on this.

1) If you're going to take an atrocity and pretend it's worship, at least don't imitate the exact plot of a South Park episode ridiculing the practice (and since this church is clearly hyper-relevant, certainly someone on the 'worship' team has seen this episode - come to think of it, maybe that's where they got the idea). According to one plot synopsis, Cartman forms a Christian band that "rocketed to the top of the Christian rock charts, with Cartman simply tweaking the lyrics of love ballads, changing words such as "Baby" to "Jesus". While effective, the band eventually comes under some scrutiny when one of the songs involves more passionate lyrics. Cartman manages to manipulate his way out and the band continues in its success."

If you're familiar with the original tune by Dead or Alive, you'll note that there was exactly one lyric change - from Baby to Jesus. Yeesh. Also, you no doubt see that the changed lyrics make this song a lot of things - sickening, sacrilege, disgusting, creepy, disturbing, and blasphemous come to mind - but worship is not one of them.

2) What was the deal with the socks? Spinning socks = praise? Alllllrighty then. I did think of one potential use for the spinning, though. If you were to place a heavy object in the sock - say, a cue ball, or a big rock, or maybe a stadium or quarry - you could spin it, release it, and hit one of the people responsible for this atrocity.

3) It can often be difficult to know when exactly to walk out of a church. When in doubt, you can't go wrong leaving at the first mention of the "Holy Spirit Hoedown". Although I think Spurgeon might've used that phrase a time or two, and John MacArthur uses that as a sermon title every other week, so maybe I'm jumping the gun here.

4) Isn't the point of "relevance" to make the gospel "more appealing" to the lost? Who, exactly, is this going to appeal to? Dead or Alive plus a square dance plus the O'Jays, all with swirling footwear? Sounds great! I'm so impressed, I need to hear more about Jesus!

HT: Luke MacDonald, who is one of our worship leaders at Harvest. Thankfully, we can be certain he'll never subject us to anything like this.


ben said...

hopefully we can keep away from this mudslide in the future -- i don't want to come back to Westgate in a couple years and see Don up front singing Peter Frampton's classic, "Oooooh, Jesus, I love Your way...every day, yeah"...i may just spit and walk out...well, i think that pink carpet needs to go, anyway, so i might be doing them a favor...

Tha Deuce said...

The Bible clearly outlines how we should worship: "in spirit and in truth." So many people say those two things in a generic way, but never seek the meaning or "relevance."

1. Worship creates a sort of sprirtual connection to God. Not like a channel of energy or anything new-age-ish like that, but when our bodies, minds, and emotions are all caught up in worship; the Bible tells us that God is listening. Our worship is like a sweet-smelling perfume to him.

2. Worship Him in truth. When you speak words; they have power. So when the words of worship are lies; we are giving power to a lie. Add ot that the fact that false worship means nothing anyways, and you've got yourself a pretty big predicament. Essentially you're lying to all of those around you and trying to lie to God. Copying someone else's songs is not exactly from our hearts, and reeks of false worship. Especially when the intent of the copied songs has nothing to do with God...

So if worshipping God in spirit and in truth is sweet-smelling perfume; what is false worship? I think if we're not genuine in what we're saying/singing when we're worshipping; God would rather us just be silent...