Critical reviews (by Lutheran pastors and church musicians) of books and other resources for Christian worship, preaching, and church music from a perspective rooted in Holy Scripture, the Lutheran Confessions and good common sense. LHP Quarterly Book Review asks, "Is it worth the money to buy, the time to read, the shelf space to store, and the effort to teach?"
LHP QBR has only recommended one of the following…
Feed: Pastoral Meanderings Posted on: Sunday, October 07, 2012 5:00 AM Author: firstname.lastname@example.org (Pastor Peters) Subject: The Top 25 God Songs
What's on YOUR Ipod? If you are evangelical, chances are what you listen to in the ear buds or from your local Christian radio station or what you hear at church include a healthy smattering of the CCLI top 25.
I know that my folks never encounter this in church on Sunday morning but I also know a healthy segment of the faithful Lutherans in the pews have this kind of music running through their eyes the rest of the time. Perhaps it is no different where you live.
October 1, 2011 and March 31, 2012). Report Period 1011 - United States
Tomlin, Chris\Carson, Daniel\Reeves, Jesse\Cash, Ed
In Christ Alone
Townend, Stuart\Getty, Keith
Your Grace Is Enough
Open The Eyes Of My Heart
Morgan, Reuben\Ingram, Jason
How He Loves
McMillan, John Mark
You Are My King (Amazing Love)
Holy Is The Lord
Tomlin, Chris\Giglio, Louie
From The Inside Out
Hosanna (Praise Is Rising)
Baloche, Paul\Brown, Brenton
Shout To The Lord
Come Now Is The Time To Worship
Lord I Lift Your Name On High
Glory To God Forever
Fee, Steve\Beeching, Vicky
If you are like me, you probably only recognize a handful but that does not mean Lutherans, Roman Catholics and others are not using these either at home or in the car or at church. In the Internet Monk discussion of the three new break out hits to make the list, a certain Miguel in the comments made this observation:
Reasons these songs are popular: 1. They're simple. Their chords usually only change on downbeats, and you can teach it to your church band quickly. 2. They're written by celebrities. I've heard far better songs written by the unheard of. 3. They're recorded with top notch production. Trust me, if it was up to the way YOUR church sounded doing these songs on Sunday to make them sell, they'd be going nowhere fast. 4. They get exorbitant amounts of radio play on the three big Christian radio stations. People have been brainwashed into expecting to sing their radio pop favorites on Sunday morning. 5. The musicians are usually the other extreme from ugly. (My wife has a crush on Joel, not sure if it's the accent or the hair, but she got irate when I suggested one of his songs for Sunday). 6. They are marketed like nobodies business. The machine behind these releases could rig nearly ANY song up to the CCLI top 25, and IMO, these songs prove this. 7. They are demographically targeted at youth. See "the Merchants of Cool" documentary: Cut and paste from the MTV playbook. 8. But most importantly, they don't require deep thinking or doctrinal commitment/understanding to sing.
I think his eight points are pretty fair. Church music is big business. Whether you are Hillsong or Hilldale (that is the church next door). It is no longer a hand maiden to the Word. It is a cash cow for the producers, an earthly measure of success for the musicians, and a feel good medicine for the listeners... That cannot be denied. I am glad that people are listening to this instead of the vulgar stuff that glorifies all sorts of evil (secular music) but I am not sure that this music is all the friendly to the cause of the Gospel. Music has become a personal expression of taste and less a medium of confession and truth. The sound of it is much more important that what it says. It is beat driven instead of Word driven (remove the percussion and you cut the heart out of this music).
I do not think it is fair to write it all off and smugly open our hymnals as if this other stuff did not exist but neither do I believe that this Christian pop rock has a place in the liturgy. We need new music, new hymns, new songs for Sunday morning -- this just ain't it! And, sadly, the reality it that for too many (especially the younger end) this is the ONLY thing they hear....