Saturday, October 27, 2007

Reformation Day Lectures, Part One


Bethany College, Mankato

Wednesday night, Prof. Joseph Herl of Concordia University, Nebraska spoke to a group of about one hundred. His background is church music and liturgy but his topic this night was "Thinking Theologically About Church Music". He produced a list of the Top 50 Worship Songs According to CCLI.
These include such bunnies as "Here I am to Worship"; "Blessed Be Your Name" ("Every blessing You pour out I'll turn back to praise");
"Shine, Jesus, Shine"; "Our God Is An Awesome God"; etc. Suffice it to say there are no Paul Gerhardt hymns in the top 100.

His major point was that in critically evaluating these things, Lutherans have been making the mistake of focusing on the music: its sweet, sugary, happy-clappy mood-making effects. What we ought to first evaluate is the theology in the words: what is it saying, what effect does it have? In my next post I'll go into this in quite a bit of detail, but for now: my Top Two Most Schlocky Praise Songs as taken from the list. They are:


I love you Lord
And I lift my voice
To worship You
O my soul rejoice
Take joy my King
In what You hear
May it be a sweet sweet sound
In Your ear.

and our winner is:

I am free to run
I am free to run
I am free to dance
I am free to dance
I am free to live for You
I am free to live for You
I am free
I am free

There is more to these two tunes, but there just really really is no excuse for this sort of thing.

For a gentler, more kind-hearted and generous but critical evaluation of the practice of mixing these sorts of songs into the liturgy, please see The Rebellious Pastor's Wife recent blog posting.


Anonymous said...

I love you, Lord
For you first loved me.
You found me
When I was lost in sin.
You picked me up
And you carried me
Through all dangers
To your dear Father's house.

I love you, Lord,
For you are my Life,
My Strength, my Shield,
And My Righteousness.
And so I sing
This song of joy,
May it be a sweet,
Sweet sound in Your ear.

Bruce Gee said...

Your point, schwartzerd?