Sunday, November 29, 2009

Performance and participation

Some thoughts about congregational singing from Sarah Flashing at Evangel:
.... Visiting a church last weekend in Wisconsin, I discovered that I was unable to participate in very much of the singing portion of the service. .... This isn’t something inherent to visiting a church, sometimes I experience this in my own church. There are times when I can’t participate even a little in some of the songs because I’m given only words by projector, I have no access to any of the musical notation–unless it happens to be in a hymnal, which is rare in my experience.

.... I recollect as a child that before I knew how to read music, I closely examined the musical notation in the hymnals. Worship was something I was always able to participate in because at the very least, I could follow the directionality of the notes. I knew when to sing higher or lower….and after more experience with the notation, I was able to determine which notes moved faster than others. Once I did learn how to read music, participation became even easier and, in my opinion, more fruitful. ....

...[C]orporate worship requires the involvement of each of us as individuals. I am left to wonder if, not only has the seeker movement or other similar phenomenons proved damaging to the church by adding the hi-tech aspects to worship in order to make it entertaining or friendly, [but] does the inability of the individual to participate reinforce the idea of the worship-performance team? ....

Another, only tangentially related, related thought of my own: What is often thought of as contemporary worship music attractive to those "seeking" is really just a Christian music subculture, bearing little relationship to what is actually being bought and listened to in the culture at large. Consequently, its primary appeal is to those looking for a new church rather than to non-Christians.

Worship in Silence » Evangel | A First Things Blog