Thursday, April 10, 2008

Shout To The Lord & American Idol

Hello All,

I don't really want to talk much about this, especially as there are thousands of articles all over the net about this subject. You can see this article here, or here, or here or here for that matter! I definitely find myself caught between outrage over the omission of the name of Jesus, and ambivalence over the consistent Anti-Jesus bent of the world. I want to yell, "Let's boycott" while simultaneously resigning, "What did you expect?" This all being said, I have seen in some of these articles, the report that A.I. got it right on the second night, as well as on iTunes, putting Jesus back into the song in their performance. So, I'll leave that there.

But I felt that there were some points that warranted discussion. Some years ago, I read a book by Christian philosopher Francis Schaeffer called "The Church At The End Of The 20th Century." A point that he made, and I feel I will likely butcher it, carried the sentiment that the church would be filled with words and sayings that would be "god words" but be entirely innocuous in nature to the "secular" world. For example, there is no offense in the concept of the word "God" or the word "Savior" or "Lord." How about the "Big guy upstairs!?" I will always champion the cause of proclaiming Jesus Christ as the only hope for the salvation of mankind. I will always hold to the cross and blood of Jesus Christ as the sole means of man's justification. We soften the blow when we proclaim anything less!

So, we can have a worship song that works for the world if we remove just one word: Jesus! That's sort of interesting...I wonder how many songs in our current vocabulary could be just as acceptable to the world?

That being said, I must say that Shout To The Lord is one of the greatest worship songs in the world, at least in the sense of how many churches have been doing this song since it came out. This single song has brought people into a place of communion with Christ all around the world and in virtually every tongue. That is a pretty cool distinction. Darlene Z...well, the lady that wrote the song, has crafted a wonderful song, and she deserves all the credit in the world for allowing the Lord to inspire her with the necessary excellence and creativity.

Which leads me to another point about worship songs. They have really changed over the last 20 years! I remember a time in the church when a worship song was a verse, that you kept from being repetitive by singing in rounds and girl repeats! Remember "Humble Thyself!?" "...And he (ladies repeat, "and he"...) Then, songs progressed to a verse and a legitimate chorus. Today, the songs that we sing unto the Lord have come into full maturation musically, complete with intros, verses, and bridges. It's somewhat telling that Shout To The Lord is so well crafted, that the world cannot ignore it's musical excellence.

Now, can we marry the two: Musical excellence and scriptural integrity, so woven through the tune that no one phrase could be removed without doing violence to the meaning of the song!? What a world that would be!

Does this sound like I am leading to an "all hymns, all the time" mentality? Not really. I love hymns when they are done well. But what I would love more than doing the old hymns, is for the church to once again embrace deep theological truth, and be so inspired to write fresh expressions of truth that will display an honor to the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, and be RELEVANT musically! When will that happen? When the pulpits of the world and the pulpiteers...oh, don't get me started!

For now, our best attempts at worshipping God will for the most part be expressed at the level of where our Christianity defaults to. Is our Christianity "me-centered" or "thee-centered?" Our personal worship and the worship of our churches will be determined by the answer to this question. The more that the former is the truth, the more shows like American Idol will have inspirational tunes to draw from, but will likely wonder what makes the church and their worship so different.

Blessings...To Our Friends,
Frank Sanchez

13 comments:

Carrie Marie said...

"Does this sound like I am leading to an "all hymns, all the time" mentality? Not really. I love hymns when they are done well. But what I would love more than doing the old hymns, is for the church to once again embrace deep theological truth, and be so inspired to write fresh expressions of truth that will display an honor to the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, and be RELEVANT musically! When will that happen? When the pulpits of the world and the pulpiteers...oh, don't get me started!"

preach it brother!
but, I do want more hymns...

Chris Vacher said...

Hey Frank - thanks for the link. It's been quite a wild ride on the blog this week.

Frank & Lela said...

Whoa Cool!

Carrie,

I love hymns as much as the next guy (or gal) but my heart is not for the church to go back and capture what has been said. SAY SOMETHING THEOLOGICAL NOW! Hymns used to be sanctified versions of bar tunes, musically relevant and relatable in their day. Let's get that going today!

Chris,

Thanks for dropping by and saying hi! Cool! It seems that this has been a great topic around the blogosphere and yours was one of the first that I read.

I read your profile and until you said tea drinker, we were totally equally yoked! :)

Blessings,
F.S.

mhcowen said...

I am going to "hang up" and email yo right now...the Lord is speaking to me on this very thing...Bye!

Frank & Lela said...

Mike/Hannah,

Alright: Too much to contain in a comment! That's the passion I'm looking for.

Blessings,
F.S.

Chris Vacher said...

I'm Canadian - drinking tea is the law :)

Jeff and Aimee: said...

I have a sense of ambivalence about the whole thing. Part of me is glad that they sang the song simply because the beautiful and truth-filled lyrics could have planted or watered a few seeds. Another part of me wonders how many of those contestants actually meant the words that they were singing. In other words, were they prostituting one of our cherished songs? I suppose neither option automatically excludes the other. The Lord and the devil always seem to work side by side, just not for the same purpose---Aimee

Frank & Lela said...

Chris,

Rebel man, rebel...Though, I will say that I hit the "bucks" today and had a passion Iced tea lemonade. But it was sweetened, so it was more like candy!

Aimee,

I read on yet another blog (Josh Harris' blog) that there are several Christians in the A.I. band. As for the contestants, it's difficult to say. I wonder if the Lord ministered through this song to them, and that the "glaring ommission" might have made them even more sensitive to the name and power of Jesus. Who knows!

Thanks guys for checking in.

Blessings,
F.S.

Brad said...

Great post Frank, going to bed now so can't post a reply. Safe to say that I owe you a phone call in return to your voice message. I have (once again) been immersed in working on getting this house completed.... it seems a losing battle most times. Pray for us. I'll be in touch.

Frank & Lela said...

Brad,

I figured that you were waist deep in housing issues. No worries my brother! I'll look forward to a good discussion with you someday!

Blessings,
F.S.

Patty said...

I'm so with you on this post until you got to the worship in the church part. I am very passionate on my view of this subject (surprise, surpise.) My orginal response to your post is very lengthy so I think I'll just send it to you in an email. I do have a thought that I'd like to post here though. We are suppose to be one church in Christ and are urged not to be so judgmental of denominations as long as they are Bible teaching and Christ centered. So why are we being judgmental of the new generation of worship writers and how they are choosing to worship God. Is it because it is different from what we've had in the past? As long as it's not theologically incorrect I say let's embrace it. I know God does. I think He'd rather have us pray in a "me" lyric song than not pray at all.

I love it when you bring "hot topics" to the table.

see ya on the email. =D

bartlewis said...

Frank,

Sorry I'm but late with my response. Thank you for the link to parentsgeeksandgod.com.

I love your perspective...And when I saw Francis Schaeffer's name, I was pretty much hooked. I'm probably the only person on the face of the earth who misses those videos of him that I had to watch in school with the payne stewart/golfer type pants...

I'm enjoying reading the posts in your "ministry" category!

Bart Lewis
bart@bartlewis@org

John Dunn said...

Ha! I wrote recently to Pastor Chris about this very thing...sorry, I know this post is over 4 months old, but I am a little slow on the uptake. As our home fellowship was going through Missler's Psalms study, all of a sudden we would start humming the old tune we used to sing in the round! Amazing...I have more scripture memorized than I realized.