I’m not a big country music fan, but I live in a home with two people who LOVE it. Kelly told me about the song “Changed” by Rascal Flatts and I think it’s a fantastic example of the transformation that Jesus Christ can do in our lives. And that we can stand up, raise our hands, or write that we’re changed. Because we are. Changed. Enjoy.
This means that anyone who belongs to Christ has become a new person.
I love music. I majored in it in college. And when I find the good stuff, I gotta’ share it. On a melancholy Wednesday this week, I found myself gravitating toward some flugelhorn jazz. I share some with you here for our Friday Fun post. Enjoy Mr. Clark Terry:
“Okay everybody,” shouted the leader, “It’s time to worship.” The 150 youth and young adults immediately jumped to their feet and focused on the video screens as the leader began to play guitar. Twenty minutes later, the group sat down and listened to a 35 minute talk given by another leader while a PowerPoint showed key points and a Scripture passage or two. The leader closed with prayer and then dismissed the crowd.
This is the standard form of “worship” in many Christian traditions today, especially in youth ministry circles. This routine form has almost became an established liturgy of what it means to be contemporary and relevant. I see this form all over America – and the songs are often played the same from coast to coast, near replicas of how they sounded on the latest CD. I’ve previously written that I think we’re headed toward a new shift in facilitating how people worship . The scene I open with was once thought of as a participatory form, but it has lost its uniqueness and often become a one-way experience where we ‘hope’ people are drawing closer to God… but we don’t really know. We hope the fact that they’re singing is shaping their understanding of who God is … but we’re not sure.
I was a child of the 1970s, when AM radio played the hot music, 8-track tapes kept the beat going, and we waited until the end of the year to hear what the #1 song was, as revealed by Casey Kasem and his “Top 40″ show. Since I will greet the New Year somewhere over the Atlantic Ocean, I thought I would celebrate here a bit early, just like we did in the 1970s.
In the early 1970s, there were few bands as popular as Three Dog Night. And Dick Clark (who is an American icon, for those of you who may not know) had them on for three “Rockin’ New Year’s Eve” countdown shows in a row. So, we youth would gather in Lavengood’s basement as our parents were upstairs. We turn off all the lights, except for the blacklights (so that the velvet posters would shine) and listen to Three Dog Night. So, feel free to turn off your lights and join me as we consider how we can participate in bringing Joy to the world in 2011:
I grew up a musician and graduated college with a degree in music theory/composition. I spent 3 years mixing sound for visiting Christian musicians in college and I still hold unusually strong opinions about mundane things like microphone placement and the role of keyboards in the mix. I’m not a big “worship music” guy because I find a lot of it pretty bland musically, its repetitive, and not as much about theology as rhyming. Though about worship, the music still has to “sell” to a wide audience to pay for production, etc. I love music and it means a lot to me.
Over ten years ago I was speaking at a college-aged retreat at a camp and the great Rob Schrumpf from Purdue Christian Campus House was “leading worship.” He played guitar and sang very well in the first session, but as I walked in early for the second one, the chairs were gone and newsprint and crayons were all over the floor. You can guess my skeptical but unspoken reaction.