Thursday, October 18, 2007

Celebrity Worship

Christians (especially ones involved in worship ministry) love videos like this.

We should like videos like this because it reminds us that worship is truly about the creator and the cross. Sometimes our commercialized worship culture conditions us to, figuratively speaking, “admire those admiring the sunset” rather than admiring the sunset itself.

Here’s my problem. Today I was a guest lecturer to grad students at the University of Iowa who are in the Sacred Music program. My job was to teach them about the ins and outs of a contemporary music/arts ministry. All in all things went very well and it was a good learning experience (hopefully for them and me). I worked hard to set-up a solid biblical and strategic basis for some of the choices we make within the Evangelical church movement when it comes to communicating the gospel of Christ. Our main priority being to communicate this life changing message in a way that engages our culture. I also honestly talked about the dangers of a CCM industry that tends to make decisions based upon the bottom line of what sells. When I came to the point of the lecture where I began showing the class contemporary worship resources, I went to and Songselect and was totally surprised what I saw when I looked at those sites through the eyes of these students. On the main page of both these sites are pictures of “worship celebrities". Upon seeing these web pages some students actually laughed out loud while I said something like “yes, here are some of the worship celebrities”.

My concern is that we all get very excited about songs and media that proclaim our allegiance to the King while at the same time pandering to consumer culture by making worship leaders into celebrities. The outside world looks in and laughs at the hypocrisy.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

How to Look at Art

In this post artist Fred Sanders gives eight tips about how to get more insight in a painting. His goal is to help the "average person" maximize their experience (dare I say "enjoy their experience") when visiting an art museum.

(HT: Challies)

Saturday, October 06, 2007

Early Sunrise

These are some pics I took in front of my house the other morning. It's amazing how God can make an early morning sky ablaze with light.

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

20Somthings Care Less About Music Style

This is a pretty interesting post claiming that 20somthings are not as concerned about music styles as previous generations. Trevin Wax's thoughts don't really surprise me, but I do think they are interesting. My take-away is that we still need to uphold the values of cultural relevance, excellence, and artistic diversity, but that we also need to quit expecting music to be the magic bullet for reaching this new generation. It seems community and teaching may be their primary point of engagement. Of course, this is just one man's opinion, but I do think his view holds at least some nugget of truth. Here's a clip from Trevin's post...

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Music does not bring people to church. People bring people to church. At this year’s Southern Baptist Convention, I was distressed at how many times I heard pastors mention “updating our music” as a way to reach my hard-to-reach generation.

Sorry to burst the bubble. But changing the music is completely irrelevant.

I talked to a handful of 20somethings who dropped out of church for a few years and are now back and engaged. When I asked them about the worship style of our church (we’re a mix between blended and traditional), the answers were all different. Most of them indicated that they would rather we sing less and get to the preaching quicker. “That’s what we’re there for,” said one. Others mentioned how much they loved the organ. A couple mentioned that the “hymns” could be hard sometimes, but that they wanted to learn them anyway, as they felt they were important.

My generation is musically fragmented. Some of my classmembers like Country music. Others like P.O.D. and Disciple. Some are into soft rock. One loves anything Classical. The majority like folksy rock, but there’s no consensus. The Iraq war veteran in our class (tattooed and tough) has a soft spot for the Carpenters, Celtic chants, and the crooners of the 40’s and 50’s. iTunes and iPods. We are a generation of many styles.

The idea that a “contemporary” music service is going to reach my generation just makes me laugh. No one in my class is there for the music. They are all there for the relationships and the Bible teaching. Not that the music is unimportant… it’s just not central.

(HT: Vitamin Z)