Monday, January 02, 2006

the stories behind the songs

As I stated in the previous blog, one of the reasons I started doing this was to be able to tell the stories behind my songs. This is because it is my belief that one of the major flaws of modern worship music, in comparison to ancient hymns, is that many of the songs seem to be too simple, too universal, too trite. It is as if the song simply plopped down out of nowhere, completely un-rooted in any real life circumstance or thought. The themes are often very common and the lyrics, worn and overused. It is like the writer sat down and said, "Hmm, well God certainly is good. I guess I'll just say that for the chorus. And the verses...umm...I'm sure David wrote something somewhere that rhymed. We'll just repeat that a few times." I know that this is not the case, but if often seems to be. Now, let me clarify...I am a minister who leads worship congregationally using many modern worship songs. I am also a songwriter who tries to write some. So, I am in no way demeaning the songs or the people who write them, nor am I overlooking the blessing that these songs can be to the Church. Everything under the sun contains many good aspects and some bad. Congregational church music is no different. While most hymns are beautifully poetic and rich in theology, the melodies are often not easy to grab onto unless you were raised in the church. Many good aspects and some bad. So this is not a discussion about one side verses another (and really...I believe that discussion actually ended sometime in the late 1990's, but people are just slow). Rather, I am simply sharing my belief that we, as songwriters in the church, need to make sure that our songs are rooted in something personal, something real. If God wanted to drop a song out of the sky that was completely disconnected from any human touch, He would. And it would be infinitely better than the stuff we are writing. But that is not the way God works. For some odd reason, God likes to accomplish things by working along side of us. Like a father, who could hammer in a nail with one blow, patiently holding the weight of the tool as his son slowly taps, taps, taps away. God chooses to use us. He chose to use real people, in real places and real times, with real thoughts and real ideas about real things to pen the books and letters that make up our Bible. If He wanted to make a cut and dry 'how-to' book that told us all about Him and His ways, and needed no human fingerprint to do so, He would have. And I'm positive it would have been a whole lot easier understand. But I don't know if it would have moved us, I don't know if it would have spoken to our souls. The gospel is the story of a God who is infinite, yet chooses to also be intimate; a God who doesn't need us, yet....for some reason...desires us. It is the story of God and man. So let us write songs only as we are stirred and inspired by our God. Let us work hard at making them the best pieces of poetry, art, and theology that we are capable of. And let us be sure we tell our stories. Because as we do these things, God will be there holding our hammer...making sure our every tap connects to the nail-head and thunders deep into eternity.

1 comment:

Jake said...

It's amazing how a God who reveals himself to us does so in a manner that is so revealing. What I mean is, he couldn't have just written a 'how-to' because that's NOT God. Communing with the imperfect somehow is so very God. Maybe that's why it's so important for us to do it too. The more we interact with imperfect people, the more like God we become...