Thursday, March 19, 2009

Strange Fire: Ramblings on Rock Music and Worship

Can music that is not intended to create an atmosphere of worship still be worship?  Can music that is meant to entertain people still be offered as a sacrifice to God?  After reading the most recent musical musings of Ms. Ahrens, I feel compelled to do a little ruminating of my own.  A well-written, thought-provoking post deserves some kind of response from those it engages, even if it is not as well-written or thought-provoking.


If all of life is worship--a concept I deeply believe--then the truest sacrifice is bringing every aspect of oneself under the authority of God.  Entertainment is certainly one area of life that needs to be given to God.  What does this mean in a practical sense?  Does it mean that we should not enjoy or participate in art or entertainment?  Does it mean that all of the entertainment/art that we enjoy should be kid-friendly?  I think the examples given in the Bible demand a more nuanced answer.


But for some reason, when it comes to music, the overwhelming AP expectation is that it create an atmosphere of worship.  The expectation, sometimes becoming as strong as a demand, is that listeners feel uplifted or feel like praising.  The idea of a Christian producing music purely for entertainment, or even music that is not kid-friendly doesn't sit well with many APs.


Sometimes the proverbially tortured artist needs to express his emotions through his guitar.  Sometimes she needs to pour her heart out in song.  And such music may not always be uplifting.  Consider the bitter and hate-filled Psalm 137, the offensively violent celebration of Moses, or the explicit and sexual love song of Solomon.  Can such powerful emotions be musically expressed by Christians today?  Is there room in the Church to receive these expressions of worship, even if they do not create an atmosphere of praise?  If so, maybe musicians will feel more comfortable giving these feelings to God through their music.


josh r

1 comment:

aahrens said...

Just to clarify, I was specifically talking offering a sacrifice that is meant to bring glory to God, but instead is done in such a way as to bring glory to the person OFFERING the sacrifice. I think that is a bit different.

By the way- I understand your points. I have, many times, played classical music that is meant to entertain, but that is how it was billed. This specific point is why the concert I blogged about disturbed me so.