Thursday, September 06, 2007

No sad songs allowed

Thanks to Len for pointing to this amazing (for a number of reasons) article....Sally has picked up the shift and is re-forming :

But by 1998 something had shifted. ...

As I pulled my Sacramentis site off of the Web, I posted this
statement: "Sacramentis has been a pioneer site on worship and culture for seven
years. From the beginning, it has been a gathering spot for the most helpful
worship ideas and resources we could find. Sacramentis has also been a place
where church leaders could go deeper into what classic Christian worship is and
does, and where they could re-imagine worship for communities where churchgoing
is no longer the norm. But as culture has become incessantly more spiritual and
adamantly less religious, we at Sacramentis have become convinced that the
primary meeting place with our unchurched friends is now outside the church
building. Worship must finally become, as Paul reminds us, more life than event
(Romans 12:1-2). To this end, we will be focusing on the radically different
kind of leadership practices necessary to transform our congregations from
destinations to conversations, from services to service, and from organizations
to organisms." by Sally Morgenthaler

Perhaps the most striking part of the whole article for me is:

Breathy or wailing, vocalists drench their lines with emotion, but only
within strict confines. There are no sad songs in a megachurch, and there are no
angry songs. There are songs about desperation, but none about despair; songs
convey longing only if it has already been fulfilled..

No sad songs. No angry songs. Songs about desperation, but none about despair. Worship for the perfect. The already arrived. The good-looking, inoffensive, and nice. No wonder the unchurched aren't interested.

Mark has asked why no "worship choruses" built upon "My God, why have You firaken me?"
(Why not?) Maybe we need more "Praying with Pink Floyd " and "Praying with Chester at the House of Blues"

Beth Maynard has called attention to U2's use of the lament genre of biblical
literaure (The unchurched ARE droves)
Brian McLaren has long addressed this, and in his new music video (!) follows up,

Steve is on a very different page, and has asked:

Do we need a song to express anger? How does expressing anger in a song really give G-d praise? each and every time I have gotten mad at G-d, after reflection and prayer, it has been because of my self-centered ego. I wanted something from G-d and was mad because I couldn’t have it…. I would love to see other people express why they became mad at G-d and how expressing anger through song or any other way help them get over it.. Steve

I have preached:

Surely you have noticed that many psalms begin with inscriptions, denoting for
example that they are to be put to music for liturgical and prayer use.
Sometimes even naming the tune it was to be set to is named. Have you ever
noticed the suggested tune title to the Psalm 22? The psalm Jesus
prayed…uncut...on the cross? It rings amazing, sounds ridiculous…and makes
perfect prophetic sense.

It’s…you could never guess this, but look at it
yourself in your Bible:

“Doe of the Morning”

Excuse me?

Doesn’t that title conjure up the happiest, most peaceful serene scene
imaginable? What’s more beautiful than a doe? Or uplifting than a new morning?

What gives, O God?

Can you imagine a melody by that title as
anything else but upbeat, uplifting? And maybe in God’s…and the
psalmwriters…ironic and irenic sense of holy humor, it was! And maybe it was.
Some of U2’s most droning laments lyrically are set to very positive music and
major chords. This is not denial; or an attempt to hijack pain and make it land
prematurely as unfettered joy. It’s acknowledging irony, faith and doubt as a
package deal…especially while hanging on crosses. Jesus, no doubt in more
excruciating pain anyone in history endured it all, Hebrews 12:2 claims, because
of the….fill in the blank… set before him?



“Doe of the Morning”? On Good Friday? Go figure.

I have a hard
time living, singing, praying in the beautiful tension, dreadful and healing
paradox, and ruthless reality.

Picture “My God, My God, Why have You
forsaken Me” sung to the tune of “This Little Light of Mine”?!

again Psalm 22 in the Message:

“God, God . . . my God! Why did you dump
me miles from nowhere?

Doubled up with pain, I call to God all the day
long. No answer. Nothing”

Now set it to the tune of “Shine Jesus Shine”.

Ridiculous? Perhaps. Revelatory? Just maybe.

Bono, as
you know by now has been, sometimes rightfully, accused of being too real and
rough with his language, prayer and theology. So you won’t be surprised to hear
him say in an in interview which we’ll now listen to (Now, don’t worry…no salty
words ahead, but don’t let your musical preference trip you up so you miss the
point; he may be overstating, but he is speaking truth in love to say):

"God is interested in truth, and only in truth. And that's why God
is more interested in Rock & Roll music than Gospel... Many gospel musicians
can't write about what's going on in their life, beacuse it's not allowed ..If
you can't write about what's really going on in the world and your life, because
it's all happy-clappy... Is God interested in that? I mean, 'Please, don't
patronize Me! I want to go the Nine-Inch-Nails gig, they're talking the truth!"

Jesus Christ prayed, at least implied, the whole gamut of emotion in Psalm 22.

So can we.

So must we.

If we are interested in truth, and only
truth…wherever it takes us



  1. That's pretty much why I don't listen to Christian music anymore. I do listen to a lot of U2 though. :)


Hey, thanks for engaging the conversation!