“the song that everybody knows” isn’t good enough

Here’s what a lot of people hate about “contemporary worship”:

Contemporary worship parody

Wasn’t that awful? Wait, what was awful? The fact that there’s a commonly used style, which can be made fun of? That’s true of any religious service — it’s called “liturgy”. What’s awful is to think about sitting through 90 minutes of something like that without any more content than that.

The video reminds me of a comedy routine I heard a long time ago (and can’t remember any other details about), where a couple are arguing by describing the type of comment they would hurl at each other, rather than saying the actual words. Along the lines of

She: “Acid comment about time he’s spent watching sports.”
He: “Avoid responding by bringing up recent shoe shopping.”
She: “Angry rebuttal!”
He: “Ill-considered insult!”

It’s funny to hear them speak analytically about their argument, but it wouldn’t be funny if they were really saying those ugly things to each other. If you put a meaningful message into that video’s worship template, one that touches you or encourages you or heals you, would you have the same reaction? What if those songs were your favorites from “Singing the Journey”? Or if the sermon lifted a cloud from your heart. Is it still funny? No, it’s a worship service, then.

The moral of the story, I guess, is for us worship musicians to hold in our minds that it’s the content that’s important; the container is much less so. When we choose music for worship, it should have a lot more depth than just “this is the song that everyone knows”.

About liberalreligiongetsloud

Contemporary Music and Worship Director (retired), First Unitarian, Albuquerque NM
This entry was posted in contemporary worship. Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to “the song that everybody knows” isn’t good enough

  1. Beth says:

    And that is true regardless of the style of song or the liturgy.

  2. Yeah, well and that’s why my opening and closing comment is to say, “Thanks for the closed captions!”

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