Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Worship Leader

I just had a great couple of days showing international worship leader Graham Kendrick, with Mark and Andy from Furious Records around the island. They where here doing a photo shoot for Graham's new album.

Back in the 70's and 80's Graham wrote "Shine Jesus Shine" and host of other tracks. He is still a prolific song writer and has had wonderful opportunities to lead worship all over the world. His most fascinating place for me was the Gobi Desert in Mongolia!

I chatted with Graham about dance music and asked if he felt it could be used in a worship context, he made a very interesting observation. Most worship songs including the Psalms communicate truth.

Can dance music communicate truth?

I know it can, but it did make me think that using forms of electronic music in worship, has a way to go.

It was really great to get around the island and reconnect with the beauty of this place. We have flamingos down by the salt flats, they stop off en route to Africa, Went to some great white washed churches, watched the sun rise and set. A really excellent couple of days.

By the way I have been told by someone that I always get my "where" and "were" mixed up, sorry if this has offended you gramatically, I had a difficult childhood.....


eric said...

Don't worry I get my your and you're mixed up.
As far as the music thing goes. I have worked in the music industry for 11 years and I have come to a conclusion, that it all comes down to your heart. What was the heart behind the music when written or what is your heart when you encounter the music. If your heart is in a place of wanting to connect with God then you will find him on the dance floor in San Antonio or in a drum circle in Charlotte, NC. I was at a show for one of the bands I manage and I was side stage with a member of one of the other bands. I look over and he is crying. He was so overwhelmed by the music that he came under conviction. This from a band that loves God but are not a Christian band. From talking with this guy, his heart was in a place of seeking and he found God back stage of a music hall while smoking a cigarette. Sorry to ramble I am just passionate about people connecting to God through music.

William ( said...

My opinion is that it is not so much a matter of the style of music itself, but the state of the heart and the context in which the "worship" occurs (e.g. in Spirit and in truth). When the words used are explicit in conveying the undeniable truth about God the Father or Jesus then all the worshippers (sp?) are clear about the intent and focus of the song. Clearly if a song has no, or very few, words then this clarity of focus isn't there and an increased number of the participants may "miss the point" (note even when singing hymns and contemporary choruses there are always a few....)
The context is important too. I personally don't believe that God shares his Glory and if 90% of the group are worshipping the band and/or the "groove" itself (worship of music) then the other 10% will either a) interpret the collective false idol-worship buzz as an experience of God (bad), or b) recognise the effect in a) and thank God for good music, etc. and not try to pass their experience off as "worship" in the specific sense (non-blanket 'in all I do' sense - there is a difference in scripture...).

To answer the question in the specific context of dance music is more problematic as dance is mostly (but not exclusively) identified with overt and deliberate sexuality for hedonistic self enjoyment (a non-sexual example of hedonism is me watching Battlestar Galactica!) - worshipping in the specific "giving God glory" manner is therefore in direct conflict with this. I don't have the answer yet, but while I remain open I don't want to swallow a camel and go down the same sort of compromising route that has caused so much problems in the whole "emerging" conversation where the desire to be culturally relevant has caused much error, particularly in relation to the core of the faith, the gospel of salvation through Jesus alone.

Sounds like you are doing God's work in San Antonio - keep it up but only do what the Father would have you do through the guidance of the Holy Spirit.
Yours in Christ.

lisa said...

Mark Twain said, "Show me a man who can spell and I will show you a miss-spent youth." So glad you didn't waste your youth on grammar lessons :-)

Anonymous said...

I love music, always have, always will, but in my youth I used to listen to a lot of punk rock and the like which was basically depressing. eventually I had to be delivered from it. God created music and there is something special about worshipping Him in song. I still listen to a lot of music but after a while listening to it (non-Christian stuff) I find I've had enough because it's worldly and I feel it dulling my spirit. I then need to stop altogether or put some worship stuff on and get my heart back into God.
I think any form of music can be inspired and godly but there has to be a focus on God and not the music to make it spiritual.


dave wiggins said...

music is obviously a massive influencer on the world. it's flippin' amazing the way it effects us. i think it's spiritual wethe it is 'Christian' or not. God creates humans, humans create music ... music comes from God?

William said...

Dave, you are completely correct, music is spiritual regardless of it's origin or purpose. It opens us humans to the spiritual "realm" or to spiritual influence. Now, the question is do you want to be open to unGodly influences??? As Christians we have the protection of the Holy Spirit but we still need to be on our guard, so to speak. That is my point. Music is the opener (the key if you like) - it is what is coming down the pipe, what we are receptive or prone to that is important. [obviously the words if there are any here make a significant difference as they will influence the mind and spirit - see my earlier comment].

Lastly, regarding "God creates humans, humans create music ... music comes from God?"

This is an extremely flawed argument. E.g. God creates humans, humans create sexual perversions, sexual perversions come from God?" Insert atomic bomb, capitalism, war, whatever you like. Creation is a fallen creation. We need redeemed. Creativity is god-like but it is not exclusively "from God".

Peace and love.


Mark G said...

I was a bit concerned about Graham K's modernist interpretation of "truth" as if it was something that can only be transferred through words. That might apply to some other faiths but our faith has a living person (a heartbeat) at the centre, who said "I am the Truth.." Truth is relational and something you can feel (& dance to) - yes it can also be celebrated in words, but let's not just reduce it to that!

Brian Heasley said...

I think Graham was reffering to our learning of truth, yes it was modernistic, but after all he is in his 50's and it doesn't really concern me that he has a modernistic approach, after all there is more than one right answer and Grahams is valid.

dave wiggins said...

fair point willian (i think), none the less i couldn't be arssed thinking long enough to answer back. peace bro.