Thursday, December 18, 2008

December 18, 2008

Kopp Disclosure
(John 3:19-21)


Music aligns the heart for better or worse.

Some for the better:

Some for the worse:


My tastes are eclectic.


Mozart:; and here are two from Wolfgang that peek into my soul (and don't take the bait for the obviously pejorative): and








That sampling explains why shrinks stand no chance with me.


Tastes differ; causing collisions in the church called "worship wars."

Some churches approach the problem through education; reminding folks that God works through different styles in a 1 Corinthians 12 kinda way.

Of course, I recall the fellow who said, "Yeah, I've learned a lot about classical church music, learned I still hate it, and decided to change churches if you keep playing it."

Some churches acknowledge the differences and allow for different worship experiences every Sunday: monastic, traditional, contemporary, and, uh, whatever.

Of course, that can cause different constituencies who never really connect in the same church. For example, we had a great joint worship service last week for our annual chancel choir cantata with pretty good attendance and we're going to have a great joint worship service this week for our annual children's program and expect really great attendance; but at least half of our 7:30 regulars, about a quarter of our 8:30 regulars, and over half of our 10:30 regulars did not adjust their calendars or tastes to come together for, essentially, one style of worship. We'll see what happens this week.

Some churches, especially those with one service, try hybrid styles which means the same people are psyched or p___ during some parts of every service and often end up drifting off to a church with a more palatable style; and some churches, especially those with one service, change styles as often as they rotate leadership which means they're in a constant state of decline as the people who leave always exceed those who stay because the people who stay only stay as long as...

Or something like that.


Personally, I like most styles; and as long as Jesus is Lord in a Biblical kinda way, I can usually hang in for an hour or so even if I think the music is really awful.

Prophetically, I've always believed we must endure different styles as long as the substance is consistent with Biblical Christianity in cognizance of one inspirational source.

Practically, people come and go...


I asked some worship leaders to comment.


From California: "The style of worship music is a reflection of the attempt by the church to balance the reverent and the contemporary. As a result, polar examples abound including really meaningful or really terrible music."

The studied San Diegoan continues, "Traditional hymn worship is essentially linear, meaning it tells a story...Contemporary worship music is essentially circular, meaning it often uses one basic theme and repeats it again and again..."

"What is missing," he insists, "in every church I have attended is worship education. There is no coherent explanation of worship from the pulpit or in adult education classes..."

He concludes, "What is also missing is a dedication to eclectic worship. There is room for all styles of worship - as long as they are reverent...In all cases, worship should be sung from the depths of your heart. Timid or tepid worship is a reflection of the lack of a believer's fire."


From Missouri: "We started a contemporary worship service which experienced strong growth in just four months. While it never outgrew the traditional service, the powers that be were determined to elimnate the service and did. Why? Their answer: 'We don't want that kind of worship as our musical legacy.'"

He laments, "That's the idiotic mindset of so many mainline churches. We lost all of our young people when the contemporary service was dropped. And where are the young people in the PCUSA? Smart, very smart."


From Oklahoma: "I see a lot of 'worshippers' exposing who they really are worshipping...themselves! You see that when 'performers' receive their inevitable praise and forget to give the glory to God!...Oh, can't forget this one! The war between the generations! The younger generation is always saying how the older crowd needs to get with the program, blow the dust and cobwebs away, and bring in fresh, new worship. The older generation often resists the changes in worship styles; calling the new stuff too disrespectful, too loud, and too hard to learn."

"Thankfully," she, uh, gives thanks, "we have bridged the generation gap in our church and our younger crowd loves to sing older hymns and our older crowd will worship with as much enthusiasm with the new style as the younger crowds do."


Near the Football Hall of Fame in Ohio: "Jesus wants more people to come into church to worship Him and learn how to love each other. Yet I suggested buying a bus to transport folks without transportation from a local rest home. An elder (?) scoffed, 'Sonny, you're crazy if you think we're going to do anything like that even for Jesus Himself!'"

After the preceding metaphor for "worship wars," he provides another, "I was asked, 'What are your ideas about changing the service, Pastor!?' So I said something about how the church where I was ordained always stood up for the reading of the Gospel Lesson. The patriarch of the church shot me down: 'All this is very interesting, Pastor, but you don't understand. The people of this congregation just won't stand for the Gospel!'"


From Chicago: "I heard Leonard Sweet talk about a church that wanted to reach young people for Jesus. So he asked these questions: (1) Would you be willing to give up your retirement years to see your grandchildren come to Jesus? All of them raised their hands enthusiastically!; (2) Would you be willing to give everything you own to see your grandchildren come to Jesus? All of them raised their hands without delay!; and (3) How many of you would be willing to change the music you use in worship to see your grandchildren come to Jesus? Only a few hands went up; and there was a great deal of rustling around and murmuring."

"Sweet," he reports, "told them that changing the worship music is actually the easiest and least sacrificial way to reach their grandchildren for Jesus. He said they should do it. He was not invited back."

"No wonder," he ends, "we have a problem being relevant."


Near Cleveland as in Ohio: "Worship wars expose people who worship themselves instead of God."


Speaking of music, Jeremiah Wright is really into it by all accounts; but a lot of subscribers aren't into him.

Except for a mentor and continuing inspiration in New Jersey, that's clear after mentioning him in the last edition.

A representative response from Washington (not D.C.): "Jeremiah Wright may not be 'as bad as crackers say he is' but he does have problems with history; which should cast a long shadow of aspersion on his other alleged qualifications to stand in a pulpit. He was invited back to his church on December 7; and, apparantly, he believes the US dropped the Hiroshima bomb to kill Japanese civilians. What a revision of history! That happened but it was not the intent! This man continues to show he is either a moron, a liar, or badly deceived...Didn't Paul advise that not many should become teachers; for as such they would incur stricter judgment?"

I don't think he receives McCormick Notes.



So many strong opinions; unlike me.

Be that as it's not, there's a friend in our family of faith who seems to know when I'm feeling kinda down; which I am about now after some of the preceding commentary.

Anyway, he came in to see me not too long ago and asked, "Who ministers to you?"

I said, "Well, I've got about four peers who care and bear and share with me; but just you asking brings great comfort and encouragement to me."

Then he sent something to me which I often use when my heart needs some holy alignment:


Blessings and Love!

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