Right now, I should be working on a story. I wrote the prologue this January, and now that I have a group for class counting on me, I need to get two more chapters finished. This shouldn't be too hard, but I'm struggling with what I want to happen combined with what works well.
So, to clear my head and get my writing mechanisms working, I want to write about something I've had problems with for a long time: worship.
I've always gone to pretty conservative churches, and as far as church music goes my family takes a conservative stance. Consequently, I have a hard time thinking of what is basically pop music in church as worship. Taylor plays lots of popular Christian music in chapel, and I've come to enjoy it for what it is: a large body of young Christians singing Christian music. Most of the songs I would consider very worshipful. My transition here was difficult, though.
I love to sing, and I'm pretty good at it. However, I'm used to singing in choirs. I'm also analytical and critical, which means that if one of the really off-key people happens to be standing behind me during chapel, I get very irritated and soon find myself in an attitude definitely not conducive to worship. I'm learning to get over this.
Today in chapel we had lots of prospective students, so chapel was all about Taylor Youth Conference this April. They opened with a Relient K song. I bristled.
And I really like Relient K -- but not in church. To me, there is a definite difference between Christian pop music and worship music. If we started singing Jesus Take the Wheel in church, I would leave, nice though it is to belt in the car. I doubt that lots of churches do this, but sometimes I think we're not that far off.
I strongly feel that the church doesn't need to advertise with music. We should not try to get people to like us because our music is just like the stuff everybody listens to. That's not how the church is supposed to be. But if any work can be an act of worship, which is also something I believe, what's the difference?
People doing what they are meant to do is glorifying to God. But does this mean that poorly-written, watered-down rock music is okay for a church setting of worship? Or am I just being a snob because I think "let love explode" is a terrible lyric? (I also really dislike the song How He Loves... poorly thought out word choice for the sake of being "poetic" and too much repetition for me.) Am I biased simply because I love the old hymns?
To use Christianese, it's a stumbling block for some people, me included.
Right now, I'm working at the front desk of my dorm. On the other side of the room, about ten people are gathered, sharing prayer requests and singing. There are two guitars and a variety of voices, some beautiful and some less than so. But they are indeed making a joyful noise. Every week, we sing many different songs. I like some more than others, but when I sing with these people, I do so with a worshipful heart.
It's one of the reasons I love my dorm. I'm thankful God has given me these nights of hall worship to look forward to. I think it's helping me approach corporate worship with a better heart. Will I ever reach conclusive answers? I don't know. But I'm learning much more about it here than I would have back home.
How do you approach worship?