I just finished listening to a podcast from The White Horse Inn (Michael Horton and his boys) that might interest some of you. It’s called “Happy Clappy Worship” and they discuss what they take to be the current status of the music and singing in most churches today.
It’s a good discussion to listen in on and think through Biblically. Their main critique (which I think is a valid one) is that most churches feel the pressure to put up a front of happiness because this is what people want and will draw them to the church.
They are not against joy, but just feel that most churches in their singing do not reflect the whole range of Biblical emotions that should be present.
I talked to our congregation about this same issue a few weeks back and underlined the fact that we want to be a community of people that is honest with our emotions, but honesty is not an end in its self. If our emotions terminate on God then they can quickly be twisted into sin and navel gazing, but if our emotions are taken to and confessed to God (like David in the Psalms, etc), there can be hope for real healing. Our singing at DSC should provide a context for this as well.
I agreed with much of what the White Horse guys had to say, but had a couple critiques. I wish they would have offered some solutions rather than just identified a problem. I also think that painting with such a wide brush with sweeping generalizations can be dangerous. I hear some tones of judgment in their discussion that make me a bit nervous as well. Can we really pin point when someone is being superficial, or when a church is being superficial in terms if their emotions?
It’s hard to know how all this really applies in one’s immediate context. Maybe that’s the point. Just get the issue on the radar and try and flesh out the application for yourself with an open Bible. I also think it’s important to note (and I think they would agree) that we shouldn’t be against clapping or great joy in our singing and worship services. The Bible is clearly not. Don’t let the title mislead you. We simply need to be open to a full range of Biblical emotions (and real life emotions) in our church singing and in our church interacting.
You can find the podcast here.
If you are not a podcast user you can download the MP3 here.