Thursday, March 5, 2009

Congregational Song

It seems the topic of the songs Christians sing on Sunday mornings is getting some discussion again in my circles (see Shelley, Goodyear, or Stackhouse ), and it's come to my attention that I've never really weighed in on the subject online.

I don't think I'm going to now either.

What I will do is throw a few questions out there which I hope can bridge a bit of the gap between the increasingly fragmented camps.

Please note, I'm not a fan of framing things in an "either/or" manner, but in this case I think it helps in highlighting the two "sides" of the discussion.

My hope is that in asking such polarized questions we'll see how complicated a unified corporate expression through song is and realize just how rad it is when our songs actually succeed in bringing us together before and in praise of God.

And with that said...

Is the music we sing a reflection of who we are? Or is it a reflection of who God is?

Are the songs we sing to be personal expressions of subjective praise? Or a corporate exercise in proclaiming objective truth(s)?

Do we sing a reality we wish to live? Or one we so desperately desire to escape?

Are the lyrics we pen lines of authentic self-expression? Or do they aspire to "sing into being" the re-fashioned selves we long for?

3 comments:

michael said...

Do we really need a unified corporate expression (everyone LOVES Hawaiian Pizza) or can we all different people to connect with God in different ways at different times?

Is the music we sing a reflection of who we are? ... Yes

Is the music we sing a reflection of who God is? ... Yes

Are the songs we sing to be personal expressions of subjective praise? ... Yes

Are the song we sin to be a corporate exercise in proclaiming objective truth? ... Yes

Do we sing a reality we wish to live? ... Yes

Do we sing a reality we so desperately desire to escape? ... Yes

Are the lyrics we pen lines of authentic self-expression? ... Yes

(Are the lyrics we pen lines of marketing to designed sell our brand of faith? ... Yes)

Do the lyrics we pen aspire to "sing into being" the re-fashioned selves we long for? ... Yes

So what's the debate? Perhaps a distraction from making pancakes, playing with the kids, helping people move, shoveling your neighbors sidewalk, etc?

James Kingsley said...

ah michael - i would've put money on you being the first to see through the ruse! you can smell a false dichotomy from miles away can't you.

the point i was trying to come at sideways is that when you're dealing with subjective expression you're hardly ever going to be in perfect harmony.

that said, i do think there is something wonderful that happens when we do land on those corprately shared authentic expressions - of which song is but one.

michael said...

I guess that begs the question: is authentic comm(on)unity something that can be designed or does it only truly stem from an organic process (i.e. baking vs gardening)?