Internet Monk on Contemporary Christian Music and Lament

Chaplain Mike at the Internet Monk on “How Contemporary Christian Music sanitizes the Wilderness”.

. . . Many segments of Jesus’ family have little or no acquaintance with singing laments. The entire idea of lamentation seems foreign to some, perhaps even contradictory to a Christian perspective. American evangelicalism in particular avoids laments. I suspect “avoids” is the wrong word. Do churches in the revivalist traditions even have a conception of this aspect of relating to God?

Contemporary “worship” music is especially weak when it comes to giving voice to the full spectrum of human experiences and emotions. Even when today’s songwriters make use of the Psalms they tend to transform the raw, earthy language that describes our complex, often messy relationships with God and others into easily digestible spiritual sentiments. . . .

. . . today’s church has largely embraced a theology of glory and resists the way of the cross. It shows in our worship and music. . . .

[Today’s Christianity] takes one image from a rich, profound, complex and realistic description of life and latches on to it because the image evokes a simple devotional sentiment that prompts an immediate emotion. We set it to music, and voila! — people get the idea we are singing “Scripture.” . . .

I am reminded of the words of the immortal Inigo Montoya: “You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means.”

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One thought on “Internet Monk on Contemporary Christian Music and Lament”

  1. I had an interesting reaction in church today when we closed worship with “A Charge to Keep I Have.” That last line about dying forever did not strike some as a suitably upbeat closing to worship.

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