How to “label” worship music

Though not a South park fan, my husband is. He occasionally makes me watch an episode, and I confess, I have laughed. No harder have I laughed at an episode though than Christian Rock Hard. In it, the boys try to start a band, and Cartman decides to start a Christian band; because Christian music is easier to break into, and because it’s easier to write Christian songs. He then takes a pop song and plugs “Jesus” into the lyrics. Voila. Instant Christian classic.

This makes me wonder… does a song have to mention Jesus to be a worship song? I have heard discussions on Christian radio where people have tried to remove certain songs from the station because it didn’t mention God or Jesus. Never mind the positive, encouraging message it was communicating. Apparently that’s not enough.

I confess, I used to be of this mindset. I didn’t really want to listen to a song unless I was sure that it was talking to or about Jesus. My intent was to protect my mind from some of the crap that is communicated through much modern music, but I took it to the extreme. All of a sudden my music tastes became incredibly narrow-minded. Even my pastor encouraged me to branch out.

Now I’m discovering that worship music doesn’t have to be so limited. I just read this article on Relevant Magazine’s website and was impressed by the band interviewed.

This was my favorite quote:

Writing music, you can write any sort of music, and that can be a sacred act; it doesn’t have to be Church music. That was a theological shift for me, personally, seeing it wasn’t about me having to put enough crosses in every painting I paint, enough Jesuses in every song I write. Not that you don’t ever do those things, but it broadened the scope of potential human work that could be sacred.

More than praise and worship music can be sacred. That’s a freeing thought for me. The simple act of writing a song from the soul is a sacred act. It doesn’t need to mention Jesus.

This song doesn’t mention Jesus, but I challenge anyone to say this isn’t worshipful.

And what about instrumental pieces? There’s no mention of Jesus’ name, yet there are so many that are mysteriously worshipful. Granted, this one is based on a classic sacred melody, but the way he plays with such passion just screams worship to me.

My mind is open to so many other musical options, and I think it’s opening wide the avenue for worship again.

9 Replies to “How to “label” worship music”

  1. I just purchased my first Gungor album yesterday after reading a blog post on their website (and sampling their music, of course). I actually thought of this blog when I was reading what he wrote. I’m so excited to see Christian musicians trying to actually create art with their music. The christian music scene is severely lacking in this area. I plan to get together with a co-worker to attempt create some music soon (hopefully). It will be Christian music, but I hope we can have the same mindset these guys have. I hope we can do something musically interesting.

    1. I so agree…. so much Christian music is so predictable. It’s refreshing to see people really making art. I think I will be buying a Gungor album soon.
      Good luck creating your music! How cool. I am an aspiring songwriter and I hope to be able to create some meaningful worship songs through this experience.

  2. I have heard similar conversations regarding entire albums from a Christian artist. Take Third Day. I heard complaints that their “Revelation” album was trying to be secular because there were no blatant references to Jesus, unlike most of their other albums. Whether they say it or not, I think we are all pretty clear that the guys in Third Day are still disciples of God, whether their lyrics actually say God or not.

  3. Worship is not always going to look the same to everyone- and it shouldn’t. Worship involves the heart- so it’s a personal thing. It doesn’t matter what others think (obviously easier said than done).

    1. So true. I’m coming to grips with the fact that it’s okay if I’m not into my church’s worship, as long as my heart is doing other things that allow it to worship. But then I see others getting into worship on Sundays and I think there’s something wrong with me. It’s a continual process…

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