Jaded is the term that describes some people's encounter with the still growing worship resourcing industry. I think this group of people look much more like Brett McCracken, who's blog I have linked to here, than the masses they point to.
I saw Chris Tomlin last weekend. As I looked at the crowd I laughed at the fact the closing, 'Headlining' band for this festival was a worship leader. All day long bands were on stage; but for that evening, the biggest deal all day, was a worship band. Is this bad? Doesn't this simply mean that our church values corporately connecting through the art of music with God? I don't want to make this about Chris Tomlin. I don't personally know Chris and I could care less about your interaction one time back stage with so and so and all the crap they did to you that destroyed your faith. Quit being a freaking baby!
At this concert event there were words on the screen. Students were more interactive during this segment than any other band I saw all day. It was God focused. We were all quoting lots of scripture together. These were the only songs all day long that my 4 year old son knew . . . it's not because I am a worship leader either, I listen to country music at home. I'm using this as an example because while I watched the cultural experience I was aware of the unity we were all sharing. As youth groups from different churches and even in my own family.
I agree with much of what Brett McCracken has said in his blog. I am just sensing a flinch in my stomach in the form of a push back because this seems a bit to close to a crack on the church. It is the church that is purchasing and perpetuating the movement in the worship industry. Perhaps the church copies the wrong things in an effort to re create some experience. Some of these leaders may have motives that are wrong. Perhaps, just perhaps, is there more good here than bad?
Before we all heave a ton of bricks on the those dirty marketers who ruined true grass roots worship . . . wait. I think about the 4 couples in our small group. I think about how Sunday morning touches them. Walking away I could discuss in detail the transitions and nuances in the production. Our small group friends really don't care!
With that small push back, Brett McCracken says some great things including a long list of artists who are kicking it! Ha! Here's a great list from Brett's blog:
Here are just some of the reasons why I’ve become so jaded with what modern evangelicals have come to call worship music:
* It’s 90% crappy, knock-off Keane or secondhand U2 (i.e. it is usually very predictable and unoriginal)
* It’s an industry. How bizarre and kind of disgusting that branding your music as “worship” and selling it as an “experience” earns the most money in CCM.
* It’s a very fickle, trendy industry. Every month there’s a new “it” song that eventually filters down to every evangelical church across the world… only to be replaced by a new “it” song a month later. No more standards, no more canons.
* It turns its nose up at good writing. Most worship music wallows in bad water imagery, fire metaphor, or pseudo-sexual verbiage (“Jesus your love is ravishing, intoxicating, orgasmic, etc).
* It’s more about creating an emotional response than eliciting a profound spiritual reflection. The measure of a good worship leader is often how many in the audience stand up or raise their hands out of their own volition.
* It’s much too happy and self-satisfied. “Make a joyful noise” does not mean “don’t worry, be happy.” Some of the most beautiful (and yes, joyful) hymns have come from places of sorrow and brokenness (e.g. “It is Well With My Soul”)
* It’s much too focused on the words. Can’t the music be worshipful on its own? Could not an all-instrumental song be just as worshipful as one with lyrics?