Sunday, April 27, 2008

Church hoping in Vermont ...
The nice thing about extended business travel is getting to meet new people from around the country. This is Vernon Advent Church. They were nice and friendly while the worship service had much that was familiar. It started with a praise team with a very wide age range. My ears perked up when I heard "Turn Your Eyes Upon Jesus", but was badly disappointed when they followed the usual praise team pattern of singing the refrain half a dozen times and skipping the song. Sigh. The memory of
Lilias Trotter's story comes back to me. How appropriate this would have been for the missionary speaker that was on today, but I doubt they knew what they were doing. I cheered up again with "O For A Thousand Tongues To Sing". The hymn phase made me cringe when they chose "O Master Let Me Walk With Thee" by Washington Gladden. Gladden seems to have been a typical universalist. "Master" in the song could refer to Zoroaster, Guru Nanak, or Ann Lee and the song would work just as well. Fortunately the speaker and others clarified that they were talking about Jesus. Time was short and I needed to get back on the road. More clarifications on their theology will need to wait for another time.

UPDATE: I just checked and found that that "O For A Thousand Tongues To Sing" is a poem by Charles Wesley in 1739. No wonder I like it so much. There are a number of additional verses here.

6 comments:

Delirious said...

What is a "praise team"?

Livingsword said...

It can be fascinating to visit various Churches; I am often struck by how friendly and warm people can be…

As I didn’t become a Christian till my late 20’s much of “Christian music” as far as style goes is rarely something I am comfortable with. It is usually adult contemporary (sometimes horror of horrors with a country touch), now as much as I like the best of that genre (Elton John, keep in mind I am speaking of style here) I am rarely singing a style that comes from my heart. Then there are the lyrics which often are more like a Celine Dion song (sorry for that Canadian export), sappy romance that often smothers good theology. Often the words are ambiguous, and/or misleading.

However this does not get in the way of genuine worship, God flows the words from my heart and my mouth….One of the things that bothers me is how often people consider music the only form of worship…My greatest outflows of worship are during communion and in studiously growing thru a sermon just as this past Sunday…

It seems much “Christian music” is effeminate; most men I know do not like to sing in Church but will sing rock songs….

I actually prefer many of the old hymns to most of the modern sappy stuff….

Of course music is probably the hottest button to push in most Churches….

Looney said...

Delirious, a "praise team" or "worship team" is basically a high school amateur rock band style group that leads the music during the worship service. This is probably something that hasn't afflicted the Mormons yet and might be one of the best proselytizing methods! Hymns, choirs, and content have systematically been pushed out of churches in favor of the praise team format. I don't know that any church has chosen this route voluntarily, but every church seems to have some determined worship leaders who forces the change.

Looney said...

LS, thanks for those thoughts. I usually try to tune out style and focus on the lyrics, which seems to make me the greatest annoyance to the worship team. They are used to people yelling at them for skipping out to Jack-in-the-Box during the sermon and returning to give a final song. But if I ask something like "what does 'dancers dancing on injustice' mean?", things quickly go crazy. Otherwise, I could probably take Handel's Messiah done by a Caribbean band.

I like the country style, but the lyrics also grate on my nerves so that I can't really listen to it much. "I divorced the wife, got drunk, and kicked the dog ..." Certainly country has more content than pop, but I still find it difficult.

Livingsword said...

Hi Looney….

Just so you know when I was speaking of worship music it was a general statement about most of the Churches I have attended.

The local Church I am part of does a mix of newer music and hymns. The vast majority of the time the lyrics are very good and are theologically sound. I have never seen anybody yell at another at our Church, however as I very good friends with those that sing and play the music I often give my input… in a quite subdued pleading manner….LOL

Most of our morning worship team is there in the pews for both morning services. I often like to go to Sunday night Church as there are more young people and the music is a little louder and has a bit of an edge to it….

I would love to have a Caribbean band do Handel’s Messiah! However I also like classical…

The sound of country music kills me….but the themes of divorce, drink, and dog kicking could probably be well addressed in the sermon…. :)

Delirious said...

You are teaching me all kinds of things Looney. Having been raised in a Mormon environment, there are many things to which I haven't yet been exposed. It's interesting to see how the rest of the world worships.

I doubt we would use popular music in our worship services, but I do think that some of the LDS artists that sing popular music have been succesful. However, I do think the Mormon Tabernacle choir's proselyting efforts have been somewhat successful. ;)