Monday, November 17, 2008

Lecherous Worship

A trend has come to my attention recently in a most disturbing way. I was reading the lyrics to a song that I had heard a number of times and often found myself singing along to. It is a sweet and gentle song of surrender to the Lord. But with the change of one word, or a change of focus, the song went from worship to a syrupy love song that would blend in seamlessly at a Journey concert. If the phrases directed at God were directed at a boyfriend (or girlfriend), they become almost pornographic.

Chuck Colson wrote an article a while ago lambasting a popular song for its cotton-candy substance and syrupy consistency. While his view of contemporary worship is lamentably low, he caused me to think on the nature of some of the music I present for times of corporate worship. Whether hymn or praise chorus, there are thousands of songs that have been written that are not worth hearing beyond the 4 walls of the author's residence. Yet many of these songs are performed, recorded, and distributed throughout the world without even a cursory analysis to determine if it is fit for consumption by God's people.

When it comes to lyrical content, I look at 3 categories:
1. Is it Biblical? Do the lyrics reflect the Truth found in scripture, or am I presenting a false understanding of God to the congregation?
2. Is it helpful? Do the lyrics make sense or are they confusing? Is there a clear message or is it simple to a fault?

3. Who is it focused on? Does it magnify God and his attributes, or is it about me, what I think, how I feel, and what I do for God?

The good news is that there is an abundance of songs that meet these criteria. There is no excuse to be lazy and select a song just because it is catchy, and it is the job of each Christian to evaluate what they are singing. If you ever see me singing a song that fails to meet these criteria, please make sure to ask me about it.

I will expound further upon the 3 categories listed in the coming weeks.

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