There, I said it. I think a lot of people suspected I was, but it’s somewhat cathartic to say it out loud in this circle of friends… and complete strangers.
I first became acutely aware of my condition in the (late?) 90′s while attending a missions conference in Noblesville, Indiana. The speaker for a particular morning session was a Cedarville University professor, enlightening the audience about the counter-productive tendency to export culture along with Christianity (he made some folks unhappy, by the way).
Among several examples offered to illustrate his point, he noted that missionaries sometimes bring the music of their particular sub-culture with them, with the ill-advised idea that it should become the music of the people they are attempting to reach with the gospel.
Not being on furlough from Siberia, I had a different take-away. I love the great hymns of the faith, those few that (in my opinion) are strong both lyrically and musically, and typically focus on God and not me or my feelings about him. And I’m strongly opinionated about contemporary worship songs – those written in the last few decades. I think most of them should remain on an obscure website, un-downloaded forever, or perhaps buried in some worship leader’s stack of unused charts and song attempts.
But what does it matter what I think? Who am I to judge what is good songwriting and what is inferior? Who died and made me the arbiter of what songs are best for this church, or that group, or people in another country? What about worship leaders who write out of their experiences, and the life of the local body of believers – should they continue to use songs that seem to me (and probably to most of you as well) third-rate?
I would like to hear your opinions before I continue…