Hah got your attention didn’t I? Right of the bat I gotta be honest with you, the tittle is slightly misleading, but if you were expecting to be offended I’m pretty sure you will be so stick around why dontcha. Don’t want to let that click and loading time go to waste huh? It’ll be worth your while!
Before we dive into this a few facts about me to set the stage. I’m someone who “became christian” after a life lived far and away from church culture for way more then half of it so far. I studied and graduated in arts and after that music. I’m wired for raw expression and esthetical beauty. I can’t believe I’m going to use these words because they always have sounded so extremely “ladidah” and artsy fartsy to me but here it goes, I’m a searcher. I’m convinced there is a God and Jesus has a big deal to do with him. But I will distance myself from the idea that christianity as we have it today is the way. There’s lots of excess fat to be cut off. And that’s where I search, what is from God and what is cultural nonsense.
So back to the porn shall we? One person I have always taken interest in is John Carmack, for those who don’t know him, he’s one of the guys responsible for the video game Doom among many other endeavors. Here’s one thing he said that has become a pretty famous qoute.
“Story in a game is like a story in a porn movie. It’s expected to be there, but it’s not that important.”
It hasn’t aged well because of how video games have advanced and to be honest, I think it’s just one of those things he kinda blurted out at the time not really paying attention…whatever.
What I do want to get at with this is the following. Music in church…oh dang here we go…lets have it. When you go to most mainstream christian churches in europe (I’m speaking from first hand expierience only to be fair) as an “outsider” you’ll quickly find yourself bored. In daily life you think of music as something to dance to, something to be in awe of, something to celebrate, something to help you through all kinds of emotions from utter joy to complete despair. As you enter the teenage years you quickly identify with a style of music that triggers something in you, and if you were like me you adapt your lifestyle to it even. Music is a driving force for every human beeing as it gives shape, identity, hope, courage, comfort, …not only that it helps define what we can’t otherwise communicate. I can search for the right words to tell you how breathtaking a mountain is that I saw, as it emerged from the mist and pushed aside the clouds towering over and completely dwarfing the horizon. But you’ll never understand. But when I seek out the right sounds and textures and compose them into an expression of that mountain, suddenly you’ll be halfway to understanding my awe of it. It will almost be like you were there yourself.
Back to church, in “worship” music of todays church they only seem to know one modus => On/Go. Buildup, beauty, craftmansship, honed skills, sincere expression, dept, mystery, poetry, extacy…everything you know and love about music are things that are expected to be there….but in church nobody really seems to think they’re that important.
We’ve had Handles Messiah, we’ve had amazing grace and according to the bible we’ve even had music so powerfull it brought the glory of God down the earth. Where is it today? Yes ofcourse theres the few video’s of gemstones manifesting in some church nobody ever heard about during worship, or gold dust manifesting…leaving the authenticity debate aside, hey if it works for them more power to them. But that doesn’t satisfy my hunger. That doesn’t answer my quest.
Where is that music that makes my heart swell and tears run down my face? Where is that music that will have me weeping by it’s cheer majesty. By how it paint’s a portrait and tells of a God so vast and magnificent that it drives me to my knees embracing the ground with trembling hands from both fear and extatic joy at the same time? Where I ask you? If you put your hand on your heart and are completely honest you can’t tell me it’s in a church building. Yes you will have remarkable moments during worship but I’m convinced you brought yourself there for the most part. Which isn’t wrong by any means, call it prayer or meditation on music if you will.
But honest music to me seems to be an entirely diffirent thing. I can’t say it otherwise but for some reason I can’t help but see that the more overtly Christian music is, the less it manages to stirr my emotions….other then irritation. And this comes from a person who honestly loves Jeshua. I struggle with my faith, I doubt at times, I search…but all that aside I LOVE Jeshua. I love God! Why do I hate what people claim to be the music that comes with the package so much? It’s one of the main things that keeps me away from a church service…not even joking here.
I’ve debated this to death with pastors and churchgoers alike…and I seem to get little positive response. Only a few understand where I come from and are willing to agree to some extent.
Here’s a beauty of an argument “we want to use music that is accesible to the general public” this was said by the typical modern pastor in who’s church they play the typical acoustic guitar/piano duo. Ofcourse the songs follow suit by not going verry far outside of the hillsong united confines.
My parents, who are absolutely a good representation of the general public where I live, had this to say about the music: “we’d love to join you for this church son but the music is just horrid, it’s always the same”.
No I’ll tell you why you stick to the hillsong formula pastor, because it’s convienient. Because you’re afraid if you do something original you’ll lose the typical christian population and will have outsiders walking in who God forbid might mix things up a bit… or even worse…have an encounter with God. You’re afraid that if you give the music part of the service into hands of actual musicians people might actually have a bit of uncontrolled fun (can you tell I have something on my stumach here?).
Alright one more train of thought and I’ll let you go. Think of it this way, say an average small church has the president of the Usa visiting. Ofcourse they will do everything they can to clean the place up and to rehearse the whole service beforehand to bring nothing but the best the church has to offer.
Now take that and put it next to God, who shows up every week. Who died a hellish death of torment and agony to save your hinders from the lakes of fire
…ah don’t worry about it, we’ll put of rehearsal till next week just like we did last week…