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Source: (consider it) Thread: Fuck off, popular Christian music
cliffdweller
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totally agree with Lamb, but have to say in my experience the preachy-overspeaking thing is found more in modern hymnody than in contemporary praise songs.

It seems to stem from a misunderstanding of the place of music in the worship service. It just isn't the place to parse out long, elaborate theological treatises/rants-- that's better done in teaching or preaching. If you have to unpack what you mean by something, better to do that elsewhere. When I have to stop in mid-verse to ask myself "wait... what do they mean by that? do I agree with it?" that's not a good thing-- whereas if a sermon is causing me to stop and ask those sorts of questions it might be a very good, thought-provocing (rather than safe) sermon.

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"Here is the world. Beautiful and terrible things will happen. Don't be afraid." -Frederick Buechner

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Karl: Liberal Backslider
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Perhaps I'm the only one who likes them then. They mean something to me, whereas 'O God you are so big, so absolutely huge, we're all pretty impressed down here, I can tell you!" leaves me cold. I don't understand what God gets out of our apparent toadying.

[ 06. May 2017, 20:10: Message edited by: Karl: Liberal Backslider ]

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Gamaliel
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Yes, some of the stuff on the liberal side of things is equally as bad as the bollocks on the CCM and contemporary worship song / chorus axis.

All the more reason for the Psalter.

All the more reason for liturgies as well as congregational hymn or chorus singing.

This ain't just about style but about content.

If it was down to me we'd all follow some kind of Calendar and lectionary that made sure we covered as many bases as possible and thereby introduced some variety and balance despite the predictability.

As for CCM - as opposed to worship music - well, listen to it if you must - but I can't see the point when the secular models they are mostly trying to echo or copy tend to do things a whole lot better.

This ain't about classical music versus pop, folk versus grunge, metal versus hip-hop. It's all about whst's bollocks and what's worth listening to.

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Let us with a gladsome mind
Praise the Lord for He is kind.

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cliffdweller
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quote:
Originally posted by Karl: Liberal Backslider:
Perhaps I'm the only one who likes them then. They mean something to me, whereas 'O God you are so big, so absolutely huge, we're all pretty impressed down here, I can tell you!" leaves me cold. I don't understand what God gets out of our apparent toadying.

I'm all for expressing a wide range of emotion-- lament, anger, wonder along with our praise. It's the overtalking in a musical medium that grates for me. The short theological treatise awkwardly set to music:

Lord we yearn for the inauguration of your Kingdom
-- not the futurist eschatology of dispensationalism
that yields isolationism
fa-la-la

not the accomodationism of futurist eschatology
no, that denies the reality of suffering
fa-la-la

no we proclaim the Kingdom now & not yet
fa-la-la

we work toward that end
but don't overtake your sovereignty
fa-la-la


*tambourine optional.

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"Here is the world. Beautiful and terrible things will happen. Don't be afraid." -Frederick Buechner

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Mudfrog
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Please can I quote this somewhere?

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SvitlanaV2
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This idea that some churches are offering ´bollocks´ instead of worship is interesting. We might well ask why we´re in this state after centuries of supposedly the finest examples of church music and worshipping practices that any religion could wish for.

If the old ways were best why didn´t people just stick with them?

[ 06. May 2017, 20:46: Message edited by: SvitlanaV2 ]

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Mudfrog
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Well, I woukd say that 'worship' is not a stylef music at all. There is no such thing as 'sacred' music - especially now that Radio 3 is fll of 'sacred' music that is listened to and appreciated 'merely'as, erm, 'music' by a majority of people who couldn't care less what Spem in Alium, Miserere or a theme on Thomas Tallis is all about.

In the 19th Century The Salvation Army wrote spiritual words to the profane music hall melodies of the day simply in order to reach the unchurched masses who were not interested in singing hymns.
Eventually copywrite law put a stop to those shenanigins...

And, don'tforget, Wesley used securalr tunes and so did the writer of OSacred HeadOnce(sore or now) wounded - that's a German love song entitled My Heart is confounded by a pretty maid'

So, it's not a recent phenomenon.

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G.K. Chesterton

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Lamb Chopped
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quote:
Originally posted by Karl: Liberal Backslider:
Perhaps I'm the only one who likes them then. They mean something to me, whereas 'O God you are so big, so absolutely huge, we're all pretty impressed down here, I can tell you!" leaves me cold. I don't understand what God gets out of our apparent toadying.

If it is toadying, I expect he loathes it. Wouldn't any decent person?

But not all praise is toadying. A lot of it is simple enjoyment. You'll have heard this when people are talking about something they're passionately into--a new girlfriend, a sports team, some place they went on vacation (and then there are the Apple users).

They aren't toadying, but they say a bunch of stuff that could be interpreted that way if you didn't know better. And some of them are simply nuts, but nobody doubts their pleasure in whatever-it-is, even as we all head for the opposite side of the room at a party.

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Er, this is what I've been up to (book).
Oh, that you would rend the heavens and come down!

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Mudfrog
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quote:
Originally posted by Lamb Chopped:
quote:
Originally posted by Karl: Liberal Backslider:
Perhaps I'm the only one who likes them then. They mean something to me, whereas 'O God you are so big, so absolutely huge, we're all pretty impressed down here, I can tell you!" leaves me cold. I don't understand what God gets out of our apparent toadying.

If it is toadying, I expect he loathes it. Wouldn't any decent person?

But not all praise is toadying. A lot of it is simple enjoyment. You'll have heard this when people are talking about something they're passionately into--a new girlfriend, a sports team, some place they went on vacation (and then there are the Apple users).

They aren't toadying, but they say a bunch of stuff that could be interpreted that way if you didn't know better. And some of them are simply nuts, but nobody doubts their pleasure in whatever-it-is, even as we all head for the opposite side of the room at a party.

But is not a classic hymn like O Worship the King, All-Glorious Above, also toadying, but in a more poetic form?

What do you think hymns are, if not praise of God?

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"The point of having an open mind, like having an open mouth, is to close it on something solid."
G.K. Chesterton

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Lamb Chopped
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Mudfrog, I don't think you got my point. Either that or we define "toadying" differently.

Toadying is saying flattering things, mostly insincerely, to a powerful person in order to manipulate him/her (even if the manipulation is just "Don't hurt me").

Praise--real praise--is a natural human reaction to something wonderful, pleasurable, cool, awesome, desirable, or any number of other positive adjectives. It tends to burst out spontaneously--"Whoa! Did you see that? What a batter," and so on and so forth. That is not toadying. The person saying it is expressing pleasure and enjoyment; he would say it whether or not the object of his pleasure could hear him (and in most cases, the object can NOT hear him, but God is a bit of a special case); and he gets pleasure out of saying it, in fact it would drive him crazy not to be able to express that praise (as when you see a spectacular sunset or waterfall and can't say a word about it because you're hiking alone and you live with people who don't give two hoots for natural beauty and will simply say "hmmmmmm" if you describe it).

Just for grins, turn it around mentally and consider what it's like to be on the receiving end of toadying vs. real praise. "Oh, Mrs. LC, you're just the best teacher ever! I always understand the lesson so much better when you explain it to me!" --well, most of the time you can taste the manipulation, it's so thick in the air, and particularly if it comes right before a request for an extension on a due date. Just nasty.

But true praise--where the person clearly enjoyed whatever it was you did, and couldn't refrain from telling you so--that's the sort of thing that lights up your day and you remember it lifelong.

ETA: This means, of course, that one and the same song could be toadying from one person and real praise from another. So much depends on the motive, and also the attitude of the heart. Do you enjoy God (to put it crassly)? Or are you just trying to get something out of him, and think praise is the shortest way to that goal?

[ 06. May 2017, 22:04: Message edited by: Lamb Chopped ]

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Er, this is what I've been up to (book).
Oh, that you would rend the heavens and come down!

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Albertus
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quote:
Originally posted by SvitlanaV2:
...If the old ways were best why didn´t people just stick with them?

A question that some of us frequently ask ourselves, in some bafflement, and not just about church matters.

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Brenda Clough
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How do you know what is the best way, unless you try them all? So it is good to try new things, discover they're sucky, and then discard them. Every now and then you do hit solid gold, and then you keep the innovation.

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Science fiction and fantasy writer

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Gramps49
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You know, there was a time when a psalm would have been contemporary music.

Luther and Wesley were contemporary Christian Music writers in their day.

I agree while much of what passes for CCM is trash, every so often there a gem will shine through.

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anoesis
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quote:
Originally posted by Schroedinger's cat:
quote:
Originally posted by Martin60:
Is it just me, foul mouthed hypocrite that I am, very mainly when alone in a very inner Tourettes unleashed manner, and occasionally here, but I baulk at the Anglo Saxon title in a public Christian space? Where our best wares are on show?

Yes.

Mudfrog - I do have a copy of "Awesome God" - which is a trite piece of drivel - done in a metal style - complete with growling vocals. Far better than the original.

It would cause most people in churches I have been in to have heart attacks.

Where can I get it?! I have, for very many years, helplessly wished that someone out there would notice how ripe for metalising a whole load of classical hymns are, with their fantastic braggadocio and so on. I'd particularly like to hear 'Crown Him with many crowns' done like this...

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When you listen to Bruce's music you are [no longer] a loser. You are a character in an epic poem...about losers.
- Jon Stewart on Bruce Springsteen -

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Lamb Chopped
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quote:
Originally posted by Schroedinger's cat:
quote:
Originally posted by Martin60:
Is it just me, foul mouthed hypocrite that I am, very mainly when alone in a very inner Tourettes unleashed manner, and occasionally here, but I baulk at the Anglo Saxon title in a public Christian space? Where our best wares are on show?

Yes.

Mudfrog - I do have a copy of "Awesome God" - which is a trite piece of drivel - done in a metal style - complete with growling vocals. Far better than the original.

It would cause most people in churches I have been in to have heart attacks.

I'd love to hear this too.

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Er, this is what I've been up to (book).
Oh, that you would rend the heavens and come down!

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Karl: Liberal Backslider
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quote:
Originally posted by Lamb Chopped:


ETA: This means, of course, that one and the same song could be toadying from one person and real praise from another. So much depends on the motive, and also the attitude of the heart. Do you enjoy God (to put it crassly)? Or are you just trying to get something out of him, and think praise is the shortest way to that goal?

Neither. Which might be why I don't get it.

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Might as well ask the bloody cat.

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Stetson
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quote:
Originally posted by Lamb Chopped:
quote:
Originally posted by Schroedinger's cat:
quote:
Originally posted by Martin60:
Is it just me, foul mouthed hypocrite that I am, very mainly when alone in a very inner Tourettes unleashed manner, and occasionally here, but I baulk at the Anglo Saxon title in a public Christian space? Where our best wares are on show?

Yes.

Mudfrog - I do have a copy of "Awesome God" - which is a trite piece of drivel - done in a metal style - complete with growling vocals. Far better than the original.

It would cause most people in churches I have been in to have heart attacks.

I'd love to hear this too.
Here is a metal version of the song in question. Not sure if it is the one that SC was referencing.
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Curiosity killed ...

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That metal version is awfully nice and polite, I would suspect the Forerunner version is more what Schroedinger's Cat was referring to.

Although this becomes very polite and nice 4 minutes in.

[ 07. May 2017, 07:22: Message edited by: Curiosity killed ... ]

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Gamaliel
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No, using contemporary tunes and so on isn't a recent phenomenon, neither is it confined to Protestantism.

Russian Orthodox chant was often based on Russian folk melodies. The tones used in Orthodox chant today are probably no more than 150 years old for the most part, although Byzantine tones are certainly much older.

The issue I'm getting at is less about worship or 'sacred music' as such - although give me Bach, Byrd, Tallis and Allegri any day of the week ... but more about contemporary Christian pop and rock - the whole CCM thing.

The point I'm trying to make is that if I want to listen to U2, I'll listen to U2 - not some sub-standard CCM approximation.

If I want to listen to Coldplay (I don't) then I'd listen to Coldplay, not to some sub-standard CCM approximation.

If I want to listen to Gospel music I'd listen to the real thing - not some kind of sub-standard secular approximation.

See what I did there?

I'm sure there are good examples around of Christian pop, rock, heavy-metal, hip-hop and whatever else ... but by and large a lot of CCM is dreck ... simply copying secular trends and doing it very badly indeed.

I'm not making a value-judgement on the Salvation Army's use of music-hall tunes and so on back in the day - or of the Iona Community or Vaughan Williams using folk tunes for hymns. Fine. I don't have an issue with any of that.

As it happens, although a lot of it isn't my style, I do think the Salvation Army has a rich musical heritage and a wide range of genres at its disposal - it's certainly not all oompah-oompah brass band stuff ... not that I am 'against' that either ...

Of course, a lot of this is going to be subjective and down to individual taste - no 'right or wrong answers' as it were ...

But I think we can all generally tell when something has that spark of authenticity and integrity about it.

A lot of CCM lacks that.

That doesn't mean that every single Christian heavy-metal band or hip-hop group or whatever else has been dire. I'm sure there have been some very good ones around and still are.

I've seen some otherwise lack-lustre performances of all manner of forms of music that have somehow been 'lifted' beyond the mediocre by a sense of commitment and integrity.

That applies right across the board.

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Let us with a gladsome mind
Praise the Lord for He is kind.

http://philthebard.blogspot.com

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Mudfrog
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Can someone tell me what genre CCM is please?

Is it country?
blues?
Rock?
soft rock?
Jazz?
Bluegrass?
Heavy metal?
Electro?
Garage?
Nu-metal?


Something tells me that some of you don't actually know what you are talking about.

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"The point of having an open mind, like having an open mouth, is to close it on something solid."
G.K. Chesterton

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SvitlanaV2
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quote:
Originally posted by Gamaliel:


The point I'm trying to make is that if I want to listen to U2, I'll listen to U2 - not some sub-standard CCM approximation.

[...]

Of course, a lot of this is going to be subjective and down to individual taste - no 'right or wrong answers' as it were ...

But I think we can all generally tell when something has that spark of authenticity and integrity about it.

If ´we´could all tell that then this music wouldn´t exist because there would be no demand for it. But there clearly is some demand, even though it most certainly doesn´t come from you!

Personally, I don´t really care what music, authentic or otherwise, other people listen to at their churches. But the real issue here, ISTM, is either that many of us can´t find churches which play the kinds of music we find to be authentic, or else we feel exasperated that when we leave our own church bubble, we realise that our understanding of authenticity isn´t shared by many other Christians that we meet.

In your case, your ecumenical interests put you in the company of many Christians who tastes you deem to be ´bollocks´. That´s unfortunate for you. Whether it is for them is debatable.

I´m inclined to think that the solution to the problem (if it is indeed a problem in need of a solution) of bad Christian music lies less in excoriating the people or groups who produce it and more in promoting and praising the churches, organisations and musicians who do what they do really well. The good stuff surely deserves to be better known than it is.

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Gamaliel
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SvitlanaV2, did you actually read my post?

I wasn't talking about the music played or sung in churches. I was talking about CCM which is music recorded for entertainment purposes not necessarily or primarily for use in church ...

Meanwhile, @Mudfrog ... Well CCM encompasses most or all of the genres you've listed and isn't necessarily a genre in its own right ... It's a kind of sub-genre that derives from secular equivalents for the most part.

So there's Metal and there's CCM Metal ...

And so on.

And most of it is bollocks. By anyone's standards.

Sure, there'll be some CCM around - across all the genres you've listed and others besides - that isn't bollocks. Good. I'm happy to acknowledge that it exists and that it has a following.

Do I want to listen to it? No, I bloody well don't. I'd rather stick needles in my ears and tin tacks in my eyes.

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Let us with a gladsome mind
Praise the Lord for He is kind.

http://philthebard.blogspot.com

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chris stiles
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quote:
Originally posted by SvitlanaV2:
This idea that some churches are offering ´bollocks´ instead of worship is interesting. We might well ask why we´re in this state after centuries of supposedly the finest examples of church music and worshipping practices that any religion could wish for.

If the old ways were best why didn´t people just stick with them?

Well, firstly you are talking about music used in church rather than CCM - which I imagine was the focus of the original post.

But a fair amount of the thread could be summarized with the single phrase 'survivor bias' - sure you can critique the modern hymns which end up as theologically treatises, but I doubt if things were any better when Wesley and Toplady were writing hymns at each other.

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SvitlanaV2
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quote:
Originally posted by Gamaliel:
SvitlanaV2, did you actually read my post?

I wasn't talking about the music played or sung in churches. I was talking about CCM which is music recorded for entertainment purposes not necessarily or primarily for use in church ...

OK, so you´re talking about music that you don´t have to sing, listen to at church or even pay good money to listen to in your own home if you don´t want to.

That being the case, why is it worth getting so cross about? I´m sorry for being ill-informed and failing to get the point, but isnt´t this stuff totally easy to ... ignore? If it´s not easy to ignore I genuinely want to know why. I´d like to understand why there are Christians who want to escape this stuff but can´t.

Otherwise, it´s like me railing against hardcore techno. Why would I want it to ´fuck off´ if it has nothing to do with me or my life anyway?

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Gamaliel
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Sure, I do ignore CCM for the most part. It's fun to have a go at it on here though.

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Let us with a gladsome mind
Praise the Lord for He is kind.

http://philthebard.blogspot.com

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Enoch
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quote:
Originally posted by chris stiles:
... But a fair amount of the thread could be summarized with the single phrase 'survivor bias' - sure you can critique the modern hymns which end up as theologically treatises, but I doubt if things were any better when Wesley and Toplady were writing hymns at each other.

That's a very good point. If you look at a nineteenth century hymn book, you'll find a huge number of hymns that are completely forgotten today. If you look at a songbook of modern Christian songs from 1970, most of them are unknown now to those that didn't sing them when they were the latest thing. Each generation thins out what it receives from the previous generation, and throws away the dross. That hasn't happened to the current generation's kack yet - but rest assured. It will.

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Gamaliel
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Of course and it is perfectly possible to avoid CCM or various forms of contemporary worship if one wishes to. It's not compulsory.

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Let us with a gladsome mind
Praise the Lord for He is kind.

http://philthebard.blogspot.com

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Horseman Bree
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Question, just for fun: is the purpose of church music to allow the congregants to sing, or is the music provided as performance which the congregants watch/listen to/are entertained by? Very different sets of assumptions.

Music for groups of untrained voices will always seem dire and unprofitable to people who like hearing organ recitals or choir-singing, while performance music will drive the people who want to take part bonkers.

Which are we talking about here?

The "metal" Awesome God" is clearly to be performed, not sung by the congo, for instance, even though it was written as a piece to be sung by untrained voices. (I personally dislike it, since the lyrics imply that there must be several more than One God, which is NOT a Christian concept - but that is tangential)

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Nick Tamen

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quote:
Originally posted by Horseman Bree:
Question, just for fun: is the purpose of church music to allow the congregants to sing, or is the music provided as performance which the congregants watch/listen to/are entertained by? Very different sets of assumptions.

I would say the purpose of church music is to enable the church gathered to worship. Sometimes, the congregation does this on its own, just as it prays on its own. Sometimes, the choir or other musicians do this on behalf of the congregation, just as clergy or others may pray on behalf of the congregation.

A choir should attempt to do its best because we should attempt to do our best in all of worship. But what the choir does should never be a performance for the congregation. The choir's role is to lead the congregation in making music, not to replace the congregation or to perform for it.

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The first thing God says to Moses is, "Take off your shoes." We are on holy ground. Hard to believe, but the truest thing I know. — Anne Lamott

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Gamaliel
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Sure. I think we are conflating two things here:

CCM which isn't 'worship music' as such but Christianised versions of popular commercial music - be it pop, rock, nu-metal, alt-country or any of the genres Mudfrog listed ...

Music played or sung in church as part of Christian worship be it hymns, plainchant, Psalmody, contemporary worship songs and choruses or whatever else ...

The OP addresses the first, ie the stuff played on Christian radio stations in the USA and, to a lesser extent, on Christian radio stations in other parts of the world where they don't have a Christian entertainment culture or 'scene' to the extent that there is in the USA.

However, people keep crossing the line to discuss what's sung in church rather than what's played on radios or what people download to their phones or play on CDs if they still buy them ...

Which is understandable as the musical styles - if not the songs themselves - do overlap in some settings - and as there's been a long tradition of folk tunes and popular tunes being adopted or adapted for Christian worship.

I would say that there was a difference in the pre-radio or even pre-Moody and Sankey era ... It might have been a similar principle with Luther introducing popular German folk tunes into worship - but having listened to an interesting Radio 3 programme on Calvinist chant as part of its current Reformation season, I was struck by how regularised and 'controlled' that was in comparison with later more pietistic developments in hymnody.

Sure, I can understand why Watts and others sought to add more variety but it strikes me that with the prevailing tendency in popular music to be towards individual trills and 'self-expression' then it is inevitable that contemporary worship styles in some quarters is going to follow suit. However, in some of these places the wheel has turned full circle with highly stylised 'worship bands' emulating the style and delivery of those at large rallies and festivals and synthetically trying to create the same 'vibe'.

This tendency is inevitable. I like black Gospel music for instance but the whole thing is very stylised - it's become a 'performance'. That doesn't mean it's not authentic - but neither is it completely spontaneous.

Anyhow, I've strayed into worship music territory rather than CCM ... but the point I'm making is that any act of worship is socially-conditioned and operates within particular 'rules' and within a cognitive and traditional framework of some kind.

That applies equally to Calvinist metrical Psalms as it does to cathedral worship or alt-worship or what has become the 'tradition' within so many charismatic-lite churches of the repeated chorus medley.

There are assumptions, expectations and a degree of social control going on in each case.

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mr cheesy
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quote:
Originally posted by Nick Tamen:


A choir should attempt to do its best because we should attempt to do our best in all of worship. But what the choir does should never be a performance for the congregation. The choir's role is to lead the congregation in making music, not to replace the congregation or to perform for it.

In practice, though, "led worship" is almost always a form of performance, which is why in low Charismatic and Evangelical settings there is such a direct cross-over between music which is made for listening to (CCM as discussed above) and music made for church.

I've been loads of times to choral services at Canterbury Cathedral, and there are significant proportions of the service which are performance by the choir. One service I recall had a setting which was supposed to sound like church bells.

Of course, there is a level at which there are at least some in the congregation who are entirely familiar with the purpose of the various parts of an Anglican (and presumably in a similar way a RCC or Orthodox) choral service and truly are using it to lead their worship. But I don't think it is any less performance for all that.

If we say that the drum-and-guitar model of church is a complete contrast, it isn't much less a performance for all that. Those playing are often on a stage with the congregation watching and participation may be not much more than singing along with their favourite track at home.

Even the great organ and hymn tradition is so often about loud noises and performance.

I don't think performance should be considered a dirty word with regard to church - and it seems to me that there is a lot of finger-pointing going on from different traditions which have exactly the same benefits and drawbacks as the thing they're criticising.

As a footnote, I know reasonably well a congregation which sings a range of songs in their church vocabulary, apparently "unled" and acapella. But it isn't any less performance for all that.

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beatmenace
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quote:
Originally posted by Gramps49:
I do note that anytime I have listened to CCM I do not hear anything concerning the plight of the poor or the oppressed.


Have you encountered Gungor? Maybe not CCM these days as they have been (more than a bit) ostrasised by the folk who like CCM.

https://relevantmagazine.com/slice/watch-gungors-powerful-video-about-refugees/

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mr cheesy
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ISTM that the problem with much of CCM is that it is fake. Whilst acknowledging that there are sincere people involved, it feels so often that there are many who are just in it for the money, who would not survive in the wider "music scene", who play out massive sell-out arenas for captive audiences and who otherwise would struggle to fill a front room.

Although there are obviously various styles, it mostly sounds the same and the lyrics are combinations of the same tired thoughts.

It is almost (or perhaps even deliberately) hypnotic.

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Gamaliel
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Yes, I agree with all of that, mr cheesy - both your comments on CCM and on the 'performance' element within public worship of all kinds.

ISTM though that people have a tendency to recognise the performance elements in other people's traditions, but not in their own ...

I'm reminded of the incident in one of Hardy's novels where the fiery non-conformist preacher practices his 'moves' and delivery in front of a mirror at home ...

Or am I mixing that up with an incident in one of someone else's novels?

So, for instance, someone who favours a worship-song medley approach might well scoff at what they see as more formal cathedral-style worship whilst failing to recognise that there are just as much of a performance element going on in their own congregation - only they are so accustomed to the 'cues' and 'conventions' that they don't even recognise them for what they are ...

Coming back to the CCM thing ... I'm sure the same applies to ghetto-ised music of any kind. Some of the Red Wedge trendy lefty music back in the '80s was pretty predictable and a lot of it was dreck ...

I'm sure there are plenty of decent CCM bands around but most of them aren't going to get air-play on the sugary commercial Christian music channels.

I won't name names but my pal who is a CCM DJ finds it highly frustrating in his current post that he no longer has the freedom he enjoyed in a previous one to play somewhat more edgy - or even more interesting - material.

But then, I am firmly of the opinion that the current charismatic-lite evangelical scene is bland to the nth degree and nowhere near as 'relevant' and radical as it thinks it is.

Not that any one else is doing any better in that respect.

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beatmenace
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quote:
Originally posted by mr cheesy:
ISTM that the problem with much of CCM is that it is fake. Whilst acknowledging that there are sincere people involved, it feels so often that there are many who are just in it for the money, who would not survive in the wider "music scene", who play out massive sell-out arenas for captive audiences and who otherwise would struggle to fill a front room.


This was pretty much confirmed by the jailed frontman of As I Lay Dying, Tim Lambesis (jailed for trying to hire a hitman to kill his wife), who previously had identifed as Christian ( he no longer does). Full interview (from jail) at

http://www.altpress.com/features/entry/tim_lambesis_world_exclusive_interview_as_i_lay_dying_singer_breaks_silence

"There are bands out there right now, playing Christian festivals, cashing the Christian checks, selling CDs in the Christian stores, who are not Christians. Maybe one or two guys are, but most of them aren’t. They will rationalize it either by saying, “I want this check,” or “Well, one guy still is” or worse, I know of one band who says, “Well, we don’t want to let our fans down, because we love them so much.”
We toured with more “Christian bands” who actually aren’t Christians than bands that are. In 12 years of touring with As I Lay Dying, I would say maybe one in 10 Christian bands we toured with were actually Christian bands. I actually wasn’t the first guy in As I Lay Dying to stop being a Christian. In fact, I think I was the third. The two who remained kind of stopped talking about it, and then I’m pretty sure they dropped it, too. We talked about whether to keep taking money from the “Christian market.” We had this bizarrely “noble” thing, like, “Well, we’re not passing along any bad ideas. We’re just singing about real life stuff. Those kids need to hear about real life, because they live in a bubble.”

If its true for Alt-Metal i bet its also true for all the other genres.
The US is big enough to sustain a living from the Christians pockets. Wouldnt fly in the UK, as there just isnt enough money floating around, but also here, the group of people you network with is so small, someone would talk.

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"I'm the village idiot , aspiring to great things." (The Icicle Works)

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mr cheesy
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quote:
Originally posted by beatmenace:


If its true for Alt-Metal i bet its also true for all the other genres.
The US is big enough to sustain a living from the Christians pockets. Wouldnt fly in the UK, as there just isnt enough money floating around, but also here, the group of people you network with is so small, someone would talk.

I've heard similar. The thing is far smaller in the UK, but is obviously taking the lead from the far bigger scene in the USA.

I've known musicians who briefly became a "thing" in British CCM who showed no sign of Christian commitment before or since. I strongly suspect in at least one case they saw it as an opportunity to cash in on an untapped market and then got out of it when the expected profits didn't start rolling in.

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cliffdweller
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quote:
Originally posted by SvitlanaV2:
quote:
Originally posted by Gamaliel:
SvitlanaV2, did you actually read my post?

I wasn't talking about the music played or sung in churches. I was talking about CCM which is music recorded for entertainment purposes not necessarily or primarily for use in church ...

OK, so you´re talking about music that you don´t have to sing, listen to at church or even pay good money to listen to in your own home if you don´t want to.

That being the case, why is it worth getting so cross about? I´m sorry for being ill-informed and failing to get the point, but isnt´t this stuff totally easy to ... ignore? If it´s not easy to ignore I genuinely want to know why. I´d like to understand why there are Christians who want to escape this stuff but can´t.

Otherwise, it´s like me railing against hardcore techno. Why would I want it to ´fuck off´ if it has nothing to do with me or my life anyway?

This.
[Overused]

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Brenda Clough
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But this is a problem all professional bands have. Should Bruce Springsteen hire the bass guitarist who's his best buddy in high school? Or should he hire the one who can actually play? (There's a reason they call him the Boss.) So, you can envision the established Christian band now ISO a rhythm guitar. Maybe they'll just go with the really good player and not apply a religious test on top of that.

And, as to playing new and more edgy stuff: this too is a common problem in the arts. Over in one of the pastoring threads the same complaint is noted: the new pastor arrives and the flock demands new, but all they actually want is what they knew before. Do you play only your hits? Or do you try out new stuff which your audience will yawn at? It's easier for musicians to balance this (sprinkle in the beloved oldies among the new stuff, conclude by blasting out "Born to Run") but when the art is longer, a play, a novel, a ministry, then it's difficult.

[ 08. May 2017, 13:38: Message edited by: Brenda Clough ]

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cliffdweller
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quote:
Originally posted by beatmenace:
quote:
Originally posted by Gramps49:
I do note that anytime I have listened to CCM I do not hear anything concerning the plight of the poor or the oppressed.


Have you encountered Gungor? Maybe not CCM these days as they have been (more than a bit) ostrasised by the folk who like CCM.

https://relevantmagazine.com/slice/watch-gungors-powerful-video-about-refugees/

Not because of their music though, but mostly because of Michael Gungor's frank struggles with faith in general and the institutional church in particular. I love that about him, but can also see why that's a problem for some people who are looking for a simpler, less ambiguous approach to faith in their worship leaders.

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"Here is the world. Beautiful and terrible things will happen. Don't be afraid." -Frederick Buechner

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cliffdweller
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quote:
Originally posted by mr cheesy:
ISTM that the problem with much of CCM is that it is fake. Whilst acknowledging that there are sincere people involved, it feels so often that there are many who are just in it for the money, who would not survive in the wider "music scene", who play out massive sell-out arenas for captive audiences and who otherwise would struggle to fill a front room.

Although there are obviously various styles, it mostly sounds the same and the lyrics are combinations of the same tired thoughts.

It is almost (or perhaps even deliberately) hypnotic.

Although this is true of pretty much all church music. All of us have encountered classical musicians who play traditional sacred music for precisely the same reasons.


aside: beatmenance: thank you for the link to Gungor's video. It's really quite lovely, and something that might be incorporated into our church's work with refugee resettlement.

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"Here is the world. Beautiful and terrible things will happen. Don't be afraid." -Frederick Buechner

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Barnabas62
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With SvitlanaV2 and cliffdweller. Why should any of us want to throw rocks at other people's windows?

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Who is it that you seek? How then shall we live? How shall we sing the Lord's song in a strange land?

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Helen-Eva
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quote:
Originally posted by cliffdweller:
quote:
Originally posted by mr cheesy:
ISTM that the problem with much of CCM is that it is fake. Whilst acknowledging that there are sincere people involved, it feels so often that there are many who are just in it for the money,


As a famous composer (I think, Stravinsky) said: the musical scale begins and ends with dough. Artistic integrity doesn't buy many sandwiches.

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I thought the radio 3 announcer said "Weber" but it turned out to be Webern. Story of my life.

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mr cheesy
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quote:
Originally posted by Helen-Eva:
As a famous composer (I think, Stravinsky) said: the musical scale begins and ends with dough. Artistic integrity doesn't buy many sandwiches.

For sure - I don't know the history, was Stravinsky writing exclusively for a Christian/church audience?

I absolutely believe composers have extorted the church through the centuries. I'm not sure where we are disagreeing.

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cliffdweller
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quote:
Originally posted by mr cheesy:
quote:
Originally posted by Helen-Eva:
As a famous composer (I think, Stravinsky) said: the musical scale begins and ends with dough. Artistic integrity doesn't buy many sandwiches.

For sure - I don't know the history, was Stravinsky writing exclusively for a Christian/church audience?

I absolutely believe composers have extorted the church through the centuries. I'm not sure where we are disagreeing.

When it's framed as a slam against CCM it sounds like something that is unique to CCM. Whereas it really is a problem with all sacred music.

And of course, the reverse is true as well-- churches have exploited their musicians (and graphic artists and teachers and web designers...) pressuring them to give their labor for free in the interests of the gospel and/or the dubious "exposure/ portfolio building".

No easy answers on either side of the equation, but being aware of the dangers of exploitation on both sides is helpful imho.

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goperryrevs
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quote:
Originally posted by Schroedinger's cat:
quote:
Originally posted by Martin60:
Is it just me, foul mouthed hypocrite that I am, very mainly when alone in a very inner Tourettes unleashed manner, and occasionally here, but I baulk at the Anglo Saxon title in a public Christian space? Where our best wares are on show?

Yes.

Mudfrog - I do have a copy of "Awesome God" - which is a trite piece of drivel - done in a metal style - complete with growling vocals. Far better than the original.

It would cause most people in churches I have been in to have heart attacks.

I know where you're at! Skalleluia, right? Though I disagree with the original being a trite piece of drivel. Like I said earlier in the thread, Rich Mullins was one of the few shining lights in 'Contemporary Christian' music. For example...

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The wuv of God was satisfied.

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SvitlanaV2
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quote:
Originally posted by mr cheesy:
quote:
Originally posted by beatmenace:


If its true for Alt-Metal i bet its also true for all the other genres.
The US is big enough to sustain a living from the Christians pockets. Wouldnt fly in the UK, as there just isnt enough money floating around, but also here, the group of people you network with is so small, someone would talk.

I've heard similar. The thing is far smaller in the UK, but is obviously taking the lead from the far bigger scene in the USA.

I've known musicians who briefly became a "thing" in British CCM who showed no sign of Christian commitment before or since. I strongly suspect in at least one case they saw it as an opportunity to cash in on an untapped market and then got out of it when the expected profits didn't start rolling in.

The professionalisation of religion (which may or may not mean being paid) always creates this risk. Church choirs and organists aren't always Christians. Even the clergy aren't always Christians. We hope the latter at least start off in a position of faith, although in the past, when the job was a more convenient and obvious choice than it is now, you have to wonder about that.
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cliffdweller
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It's always a dilemma, though-- when to pay/ not pay those who contribute to our shared worship/life together. On the one hand, there is a reasonable expectation that everyone-- clergy & lay- will give freely of their gifts & abilities, to contribute something toward our shared mission/life. But then there is a point where we do expect compensation for our time & professional abilities, if only to free someone up to devote themselves to the work on a more professional level then they can do on a volunteer basis. But it tends to be a bit haphazard-- in practice, the paid work tends to be either the most skilled work (preaching/ musicians) or the least desirable work (cleaning toilets). Even within the skilled category it can skew in favor of the visible work (preaching) over the less visible (running the sound booth). All in all, the haphazard nature of compensation is part & parcel of the whole problem with musicianship (and perhaps deserving of it's own thread).

I find it particularly fraught when the task involved is one I'm unfamiliar with and therefore have no idea what I'm really asking. Lots of tech stuff is like that for me-- is what I'm asking a quick 20 minute task that's enjoyable or at least easy? Or am I asking something that will require 20 hours of highly skilled, tedious labor? Often I have no clue, which makes the asking much more difficult. I imagine these dynamics are at play with volunteer musicians as well.

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"Here is the world. Beautiful and terrible things will happen. Don't be afraid." -Frederick Buechner

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mr cheesy
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Yes, but it goes far far beyond that with CCM.

The musicians there are directly marketing their products to Christians on the basis that they are also Christians, not on the basis that it is nice and uplifting music.

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SvitlanaV2
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mr cheesy

Well, organists and chorists don't necessarily go around telling everyone that they're atheists either. But I admit that they wouldn't go around insisting on how Christian they are. In traditional, historical congregations it's not the done thing to go on in this fashion.

The clergy, of course, have the floor every week, so they do have to give the impression in their own words that their faith is somehow a real thing.

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Gamaliel
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quote:
Originally posted by Barnabas62:
With SvitlanaV2 and cliffdweller. Why should any of us want to throw rocks at other people's windows?

Because it's fun?

Because these people behave in a way that invites us to throw rocks through their windows?

Because this is the Magazine of Christian Unrest and it's an unrestful thing to do to throw rocks through people's windows?

Because I'm a bastard?

Or a combination of all those things and much more besides?

[Devil]

But seriously, yes, CCM isn't alone in having its problems. There are indeed issues around classical musicians playing 'sacred music' without having any faith - and the same applies to cathedral choristers and so on.

No tradition is immune to any of that.

I once heard of a Greek Orthodox Church in London which didn't have a choir or anyone who could act as cantor - so they paid a Male Voice Choir from London's sizeable Welsh community to come and do the honours ...

They were given the music and the words were written out for them phonetically. So each Sunday these Welsh fellas would turn up and intone the chants using the pronunciation they were given and without the first idea what it was they were singing ...

Of course, that's an extreme example but I deploy it in the interests of balance.

Before I bend down to find myself some more rocks ...

[Snigger]

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Praise the Lord for He is kind.

http://philthebard.blogspot.com

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