Tastes like chicken

Posted: April 28, 2007 in Happenings, Perspective

Had a good time tonight up at the Spooner’s grillin’ (chicken), pickin’ (guitars), and yappin’ (hanging out, doing life with friends).  We’d invited some people who couldn’t make it, but the turnout was good nonetheless.  I can’t think of a better way to spend an evening than outside on a deck, enjoying the spring weather.

Part of the time, we were re-visiting old worship songs we’ve (thankfully) retired.  Songs that contain words like “panteth” and odd lines like “we can play football and eat food” (football?  in a worship song?  As Will put it, that song makes Christians look like southern rednecks.  Google the lyrics to “Big, Big House” by Audio Adrenaline, and laugh away).  After spending this brief moment on memory lane, I’m glad to know that music has evolved since then.

Last night at Wal-mart (don’t ask why I went to Wal-mart on a Friday night…but, apparently, everyone else does, too), there was a band out front playing worship songs.  Wow, it was so cheesy.  I don’t mean to belittle what they were doing (Really, I don’t), but playing 10-year-old worship songs on a stage in front of Wal-mart on a Friday night just doesn’t strike me as effective outreach.  Oddly, when they quit playing, the music they put on was stuff by Daughtry (much more relevant).

Witnessing that AND strolling down a horrific memory lane of Christian music tonight made me realize that we – as Christians – are often far more out of touch with culture than we want to admit.  That doesn’t mean that certain things aren’t valuable to us.  I can see why many churches stick to singing old hymns, complete with choirs and pews and stained glass.  It has worked for them.  They’ve got a history built upon it.

Likewise, I can celebrate things that have worked for us in the past.  Songs like “As the Deer” used to really bring an emotional response back in the 90s.

But, it is 2007.  Our world has changed.  Our culture has changed.  Churches are shrinking at the local and denominational level.  People are turning elsewhere for answers.  And in a world dominated by YouTube, MySpace, MTV, Sirius satellite radio, iPod, RSS feeds, Hollywood ‘elite’ idiocy, and a smothering amount of news sources, churches built on structures stuck in the past seem to me like Model T’s in a world of Toyota Hybrids…  Nostalgic, certainly.  Deliberate?  Maybe…maybe some pastors think that in a fast-paced world that’s ever-changing people might be looking for something long-lasting and traditional.

But people in the culture we’re trying to reach don’t turn on their satellite radios to listen to “As the Deer” or “Big, Big House.”  Jesus just isn’t as famous as Anna Nicole Smith (who is ironically more famous in death than in life) or Tom Cruise and his scientological antics.  At least not today.

So why do we pretend that old methods/styles are still effective?  I will not deny that it’s effective in many places.  Nor will I deny that God can work through many mediums.  But I will argue that blind devotion to antiquated style and methods (music or otherwise) is to place more faith in human institution than God.  How can I say that?  Because I don’t think God is idle.  I don’t think God is interested in preserving the status quo.  I think he’s interested in shaking up his people.  History is replete with examples of God raising people up who challenge the status quo, and the world is marked with the change. 

I think he’s about the business of drawing people back to him.  And I think it’s important that we follow him, rather than follow attitudes of resistance to change.  Basically, if we don’t step up and get serious about the business of being relevant and willing to do whatever it takes (without sinning) to reach people, someone else will.

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Comments
  1. Carrie says:

    There’s a whole bunch of internet sites and social networking sites for the Christian market nowadays. There’s godtube, zigvid, shoutlife…

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