Thursday, November 15, 2007

Perpetuating the Myth

I've been thinking a lot lately about Christian music...specifically worship music. (Which only makes sense, since I'm a Christian musician and a worship leader.) But you may not like, or at least not agree, with some of the things I believe...and have to say. You see, one of my pet peeves about Christianity in general, is how we (yes, myself included) tend to perpetuate this myth that once you accept Christ as Savior, you don't struggle with the things of this world anymore. And one of the ways we perpetuate this myth is through our music. Let me give you an example. There's an old hym that says:
"Every day with Jesus is sweeter than the day before."
Is that true? Does life just get sweeter every day after you've accepted Christ? I don't think so. Now, if you're talking about the sweetness of knowing, everyday, that you are one step closer to heaven, maybe so. But my life experience has been that, since accepting Christ, my life has had ups and downs...good days and bad days. So I have a problem with that song. I think it's misleading. I think people who don't know Jesus may get the wrong idea from this song.
Here's another example, from a contemporary Christian worship song:
"Every move I make I make in you,
You make me move Jesus...
Every step I take I take in you."
Really? Every move? Is that even possible? It's a fun song to sing. Heck, I've even performed it in the past. It was originally written by David Ruis, and published by Vineyard Publishing. And it's very popular in churches across the country. But I have a problem with it. And here's why: what about that sin you committed this morning? Was that a move you made "in Jesus?" What about that lustful thought about the girl you saw behind the counter at the department store? "In Jesus?"
I understand what the lyricist is trying to say. I just don't believe it. Or maybe he's on a spiritual plain that I am nowhere close to achieving. Regardless, for those who don't know Christ, this is a good example of why we're called hypocrites. We can't claim that "every step we take is in Jesus" then sin. The two contrast. And when an unbelieving world sees that, they discount Christianity as a religion of liars...people who say one thing and do another.
I realize I'm going to draw some criticism for saying these things, but it's just something I've been dealing with lately. It's the reason I am recording this new album, So Human: Because I believe there needs to be more Christian music out there that reflects real life...the valleys as well as the peaks...the good days as well as the bad. We need to be deliberate about meaning what we sing...and singing what we mean. I fear that too many congregations these days sing along without paying attention to what they are saying.
I'm getting close to finishing this album. Maybe it will be ready for release sometime early Spring 2008...God willing.
In the meantime, I would challenge you to think about the songs you're singing in church. Do you really mean them? Do they truthfully reflect your experience as a believer?
Something to think about.


Jezla said...

Tim, you make a good point. If you look at the Psalms, in any number of them the psalmist is dealing with issues of doubt, fear, sin, even though he has a relationship with God and knows Him as his savior. I agree not many worship songs reflect this.

On the other hand, much of the purpose of worship music is to focus all of your being (heart, mind, soul) on God, to the exclusion of all else. Thus, it does tend to be idealistic. I think we get into trouble, though, when we start believing that the songs we are singing are an accurate reflection of ourselves, rather than the ideal we strive for.

Good luck with the album. I like your music!

Tim Glenn said...

Wow...some great observations, Jezla. You're right...the problem is when we "start believing that the songs we are singing are an accurate reflection of ourselves, rather than the ideal we strive for."
I like that.

I think part of the problem, too, is with absolutes. When we say "Everything I do, I do for you, Lord"...that's an absolute and just not impossible.
I prefer songs that say "I want to do what's right... "I'm trying to walk in your footsteps", etc.

Tim Glenn said...

oops...meant to say "that's just not possible."