Like many of you, one of the things I do every week is choose songs for worship services. In my case, I pick them for a number of different contexts. So, to me this is a very important part of my role and how I help shape the wroship culture in my ministry. I don't take it very lightly. To varying degrees, people draw much of what they know of God and their faith from these little songs. And for many, it is more memorable during the course of their week than a sermon. So, with those things in mind, I attempt to pick a diet of worship songs that is theologically sound, accessible, Christ centered, and intellectually and emotionally engaging.
Having said that, I ran into a couple of songs at a leadership conference the other day that made me think "I wouldn't do that at my church. It paints to personal, specific and singular an approach to God." The song dealt with brokenness and how one can feel entirely unworthy and even ugly to God. Now I understand that we all feel that way at one time or another. But, my initial reaction was that most of the congregation would disengage with the idea.
I am rethinking this with you as I write. Doesn't it really depend on the congregation you are serving? Let me explain. In our emerging gen service they are very in touch with and vocal about the idea of brokenness in worship. So much so that the worship "climate" with them is darker, more somber and even depressing to some. Whereas, for our baby boomer congregation, the atmosphere is definitely more up, happy and victorious in nature.
The emerging crowd would say that the boomers are in denial of their humanity and are inauthentic in their worship; that they put on a happy, perfectly put together face even when their livers are fallen apart; that they deny the full journey of their humanity. The boomers, on the other hand, would accuse the postmoderns of being morose, navel-gazing, and wallowing in their own muck; that they are missing the joy and victory to be had in Christ.
Now, I think both of these perspectives are severely lacking, even if there is some very partial, very comical truth to both of them.
More on this tomorrow.