Tag: praise music

How Lame Is Our Awesome God?

 

“When He rolls up His sleeves / He ain’t just puttin’ on the Ritz” must be one of the least promising ways to begin a worship song ever. Nobody rolling up their sleeves is “puttin’ on the Ritz.” The rolled-up sleeve-position used for manual labor is the opposite of the sleeve-position used for an old-fashioned fancy night out. And yet, that’s how Richard Mullins’s best-known song, Awesome God opens. Mullins himself considered Awesome God something of a failure, remarking, “the thing I like about Awesome God is that it’s one of the worst-written songs that I ever wrote; it’s just poorly crafted.” And yet it’s a song many of us remember fondly. Why?

To be fair, the lyrics get better from there: “There is THUNder in His footsteps / And lightnin’ in His fists.” Although not by much. Awesome God alternates patter in the verses with an expansive chorus, and the patter is hardly scintillating prose, much less verse. (“Eden” rhymes with “be believin’” — really?) The patter does, though, address themes often left out of “Jesus is my boyfriend”-style worship songs. God as Judge. Sin and its wages. God as God not just of happy, shiny, fluffy things, but also of the storm. And, when the song is sung at proper tempo (no slower than Mullins himself performed it), the rapid-fire, syncopated sixteenth-note patter creates an effect that surpasses its individual words. Especially when the worship leader delivers the patter in a half-snarled, half-whispered mutter, as if he’s letting you in on the secret of something dangerous — which he is: Aslan’s not safe, after all, just good. Notice I called the worship leader he. That’s important. Awesome God is made for a masculine musical delivery, and the difference between liking the song and hating it can simply be the difference between having learned it as masculine and driven, or crooning and wimpy.

Member Post

 

There has been a lively discussion going in regarding The Divisiveness of Church Music and I discovered the thread before it blew up and felt unable to throw my two cents in. I have a lot of thoughts on this, greater than the 250 word limit my Coolidge account affords me. So I wanted to touch on that […]

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The Divisiveness of Church Music

 

shutterstock_96110261For the past few decades, churches have lamented the exodus of young people. Their answer has been uniform: Make the service more like a rock concert through praise music, and the young people will flock to church in their skinny jeans and hipster vests. Nowadays, it’s more common to find special music consisting of electric guitars, drums, and lighting effects than traditional choirs and organs. But has turning church into a dressed-up version of Bonnaroo really helped bring the coveted Millennials back to church?

I am vehemently against praise music, though I thoroughly recognize that this is a matter of personal preference. The pervasiveness of praise music has made finding a church I like very difficult. It has made it difficult to attend church with friends, because I just stand there with my hands folded in front of me while everyone around me sways their hands in the air, singing with their eyes closed. The difference in worship style preference has even made dating difficult in some instances. Still, I was interested to see how many of my fellow Ricochet Millennial contemporaries have a similar bias towards traditional music. They may not be as militantly against contemporary worship as I am — I will turn and leave if I walk into a sanctuary and see it looking more like a Red Hot Chili Peppers concert than a church service — but they still seem on the whole to enjoy the traditional worship style.

In short, I contend that this:

Member Post

 

This is something of a sidebar to Vicryl Contessa’s post about modern church music.  It is relevant to the post, but something of a long tangent, so I’m putting it out here instead.  A church’s music often reflects the underlying health of the institution.  When the congregation is singing, and especially when the congregation is singing […]

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