Sunday, June 26, 2011

Retriever On Praise Songs

I have written with some irritation about praise songs in the past, but it has been unfair criticism. They aren't all Jesus-is-my-boyfriend music, and I perhaps got too bothered by praise choruses in the 70's and 80's, then a lot of Christian school and childrens choir music - which one shouldn't expect to be complex or sophisticated. I am making my peace with the genre, because it actually does accomplish, when done well, an emotional response that remains tethered to doctrine rather than mere mystic or ecstatic experience. that's a good thing.

Retriever's post helps here. From The Inside Out.
But for everyday get me through real life, I want rollicking music, emotional stuff. Evangelicals brought me back to God, loved me, held me, comforted me in the darkest days of my life. Reminded me that God cared, God was in charge, God had great plans for this world and all of us critters. Brought me hope. Reminded me that this life isn't all about us, but about reaching out to Him, and following Him. And that life isn't about chasing happiness and toys, but struggling towards holiness. No matter how often we fail.
As out-of-touch as I am, I did not immediately thing of Hillsong from the title, but a childrens song From the inside out
God's working on me...
Okay I'll spare you that. not so moving as the Hillsong tune.

But here's another, a video Ben did for Good Friday service this year. It has that slow build that only works if you are singing along, not just watching. So at least hum.

(I'd love to visit my son during Christmas or Easter weeks to experience first hand what he does for work at this church, but traveling 1500 miles to be there while he works 80+ hours those weeks seems sorta beside the point.)


Kitten said...

I thought of you the first time I heard "I Love the Way You Hold Me" on our Christian station. It's the first straight-up "Jesus is my boyfriend" song that I've noticed. I have to admit to getting a big grin every time it plays though.

Retriever said...

Thanks for the link. I'd gag at Cheesy Jeezy boyfriend songs. But I've had some touching conversations over the years with older Catholic nuns about their feelings as they first made their vows, young girls in love with God, and the phrase Bride of Christ means a lot to them. Without any nasty imputations.

Erin said...

We sing both songs at our church, and they're two of my favorites. Having grown up conservative Baptist, I have an appreciation for the complexity of story and doctrine that hymns such as "It Is Well" or "Amazing Grace" bring. But I also love the contemporary songs that, as you say, " emotional response that remains tethered to doctrine": the songs that settle my overbooked, overstimulated mind on a simple biblical truth. I see it as a kind of community meditation.

For the second song, I personally prefer David Crowder Band's version, with the slightly altered lyrics of "heaven meets earth like an unforseen kiss" rather than "sloppy wet kiss". Brings it more into the startling metaphor realm and further away from the "Jesus is my boyfriend" realm.