Last night I was driving and turned on the radio, which is rare for me to do. I found myself surfing through the Christian radio stations because I was having difficulties in finding a song that distinguished itself apart from the secular stations. Sadly, after five minutes, I turned the radio off. This morning as I was running some errands, I repeated the process, and I had the identical results. Upon returning home, I sat in my driveway listening to a Christian radio station that is broadcast from a local Christian college…my alma mater. I listened to two songs, one of which had a catchy beat, the other being strange to me. I can’t explain why, but it was just strange in its music and in its presumed message. Neither song ever mentioned the name of God, His love, His mercy, His grace…nothing that identified the song as “Christian”! Not one single time!
As I listened to the music, I was reminded of several things. First, Christian contemporary music seems to have constantly evolved to parallel secular music, often under the notion that if the music sounds secular, someone surfing the radio may stumble into a Christian song and listen to it rather than their traditional favorites. In that regard, I can see the merits. Where that falls through the cracks, though, is when the “Christian” music mirrors the songs I heard last night and today where God is never glorified nor is what He did for humanity. The song, then, is just making noise. More on that in a moment.
The second thing I was reminded of is something I learned last year while in seminary. For one of my classes, I was required to read Real Worship by Warren Wiersbe, and at first I was skeptical that I was going to really learn anything new given that his ideology of canonical worship is heavily influenced by Scandinavian structured worship services. Don’t get me wrong because I am not suggesting that that type of worship is either wrong or bad. I am simply saying that my own personal beliefs of worship are heavily influenced by my own culture. I believe in worshipping God with raised hands, for example…something not typically seen in more traditional worship settings. So, I went into the book thinking that the two ideologies would clash more often than overlap.
I was pleasantly surprised, though, as I read it. Wiersbe spoke more on the concept of worship, that while it was flavored with his own religious background, he addressed it with broader strokes. He made great attempts to let his book speak about worship in such a way that people across all religious beliefs could glean something powerful and applicable to one’s own worship of the Father. It was while reading this book that the Holy Spirit spoke to my heart about the exact purpose of the ministry that He had given me the vision for in late 2013.