September 17, 2008

Comment card I received

"It is hard to worship to the more poetic songs. I enjoy them but it is hard to worship. Why do we do those songs in worship?"

I have about 5 thoughts on this question. I think I know what you're asking, and I would love to ask you some clarifying questions, but as is often the case in church feedback, this card was unsigned.

1. Poetry is the heart of lyrical composition, whether put to music or not. The greatest example of musical worship we have in the Scriptures, the Psalms, are poetry. In the original Hebrew, some Psalms were even alliterated! Literary genius or nightmare, depending on who you ask.

2. Worship is both a time to praise God with things that are true, and encourage one another with truths about our God. I addressed this issue a few weeks back on stage. Some songs are written with the "audience" of the song being God, others with the audience being the room full of people. I do not see this as inherently bad, as long as the things that are being sung are communicating truth and the hope of the gospel. I run the songs that my teams play at Stones through this filter, and if somehow you were offended by my selection, I do apologize.

3. People tend to see "worship time" primarily about how they feel. This is dangerous and contrary to the Scriptures.

4. We play songs that are commonly referred to as "specials" that are meant for reflection (see #2). These songs are not meant for the congregation to sing along necessarily.

5. I appreciate your wrestling with these things. It makes me feel less crazy, because i think of these things often.

Thanks again for your question!

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