Congregational Singing: “It’s not about ‘you’ or your preferences”

"The argument that worship, especially music in worship, is just a matter of taste is spurious, and it needs to be retired, just like the pop worship trend." - Patheos

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Bert Perry's picture

....what William Booth ("Why should the Devil have all the good songs?") would have thought about this argument, as it was, at its heart, being argued against the Salvation Army 150 years back or so.  The author's national anthem at a hockey game story merely proves that people will sing along when they know the tune. You'll see the same thing at heavy metal concerts, really.  

And then if you carry the argument to its logical conclusion, would we ever be able to introduce a new song in any genre?  Wouldn't we be stuck with (often heretical/Mariolatric) Gregorian Chants or some such thing?  "Well, we cannot sing along instinctively, so we'd better discard black Gospel, southern Gospel, songs of the Salvation Army, Fanny Crosby's hymns, the Geneva Psalter....."

If the author had gone a little deeper into his musical training and explained what is going on when we sing along, he would have been on much firmer footing.  He could have described the hints that a good musician gives to the singers, what kinds of poetic devices are used to make a song singable (try to sing along to Executive Order 13423, to use an example from Common Core), how the poetry and music can and ought to work together, and finally how lyrics ought to have a basis in good theology.  Sure, you can have emotive parts of songs (e.g. Psalm 42, "as the deer"), but those are drive by a basis in reality.   One's love for Christ is driven by the many things He's done for us--why not name them like the Psalms do?

I really do appreciate the author's point that yes, it does matter how we organize music in the church, and yes, there are differences between how traditionalists give these cues and how it's done today--or in the case of much CCM, how it's not done today.  But let's go to more specifics instead of painting with that really broad brush, please.

Aspiring to be a stick in the mud.