Dear LGBT, female, non-caucasian, and all other friends,
As an white evangelical voter, I am embarrassed and apologetic.
A large portion of my demographic has made their chief end moralism through any means necessary and discovered that legislation is much easier than relationship. In seeking to influence the culture, they failed to love individuals by turning a deaf ear to devaluing and hateful speech. This is entirely inconsistent with a religion that teaches that all humans bear the image of God.
I am deeply grieved by the accepting as normal the devaluing of any person and the attacking the character of those with whom you disagree. I apologize for wanton abuse dealt you by some in my community, for their normalization of this behavior, and for my own failure to begin speaking publicly against it sooner than I did. We may have our disagreements, but there will always be a seat for you at my table met with respect and grace.
(And for the record, I did not vote Trump.)
To evangelicals going to the polls: vote for whomever you wish, but please do not pretend that Donald Trump is any more of a righteous choice than anyone else. He may claim to be against abortion. However, a candidate who has suggested that we kill the families of terrorists, has demonized Mexicans as criminals and rapists, has called for immigration restrictions based on faith, refuses refugees, brushes of talk of sexual assault as “locker room talk,” and attacks the character of dissenters is no way espouses evangelical Christianity which views all humanity as created in the image of God and therefore worthful.
By executive order, Abraham Lincoln declared slavery to be illegal as implied by constitutional law in 1863 and yet black suffrage did not occur until seven years later and their ability to vote was still marginalized until the mid 1900s. Jim Crow laws existed until the 1960s and we’re to this day working through a myriad of race issues.
So, legislation is not the problem. Our view of people and understanding of the gospel is, and Trump’s behavior is at odds with this. The view that legislation is the solution is as Russell Moore put it, “the kind of cultural nominal Christianity that can be quite good for restraining some aspects of over immorality but is worse than paganism if there is in fact a hell.” I could go on about his normalizing of abusive behaviors, but I’ll leave my statements where I have.
Recently, a worship leader I’m connected with in San Francisco posted this on Facebook:
It’s impossible to lead people corporately where we haven’t been privately.
Worship leader: if there is no essence of private worship in your life, then you have diminished your calling to playing music.
I think he poses an interesting point here which raises an interesting question: what is the point in the music in a worship service? To be clear, I think he has a strong point. My goal here is not to argue against him but to agree with him. My response is more of a follow up the the question of what it means to lead people and where they are being lead. I also want to be clear that this is not a post focused on the attendee. I’m looking at this question from the perspective of the leader.
While there is much more I could say here and perhaps will in a further post, I thought I would provide my own response to this question from the perhaps unique perspective of the audio guy who is largely perceived as “just making things come through speakers”:
I think that the “where are we going?” question is focusing too much on strictly the music here. During the music, we are proclaiming truths to God, each other, and ourselves. There is a large component of the music that is actually teaching. The music should be a communication and expression of truths in the same way as the sermon– it’s just a different form of communication that engages people differently. Consider all the way back to The Song of Moses (Deuteronomy 31). God’s command was to write his words in song and teach it to them, even to “put it in their mouths” (have them sing it) so that it would be a witness to the people of Israel.
So really, the music is a venue to teach Scripture in a way that is memorable and sticks with people. It is somewhat limited in its capacity to dig too deep into issues, but well written songs directly inspired by Scripture point us straight back to specific texts in the Bible to help us learn them.
So I argue that there is somewhere you are going and it is the learning, proclaiming and reinforcement of what is being taught in both song and lecture that morning. Perhaps the actual question we should be asking of music then is “what are we intending to communicate?”
From that, I then argue that every instrument’s part should be considered from the aspect of “how is what I’m playing helping communicate the emotion and feeling of the words” and the same question should be asked of the mix as the audio guy should also know the songs and arrangements.
Again, there is much more to dig in to here to both theologically and how I believe the audio guy can add to the process. If anything, this is just an introduction.No Comments on What is the Role of Music in a Worship Service?