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Worship Rant

Far be it from me to not say what I think.

I’m going to rant. I know it’s a rant. But I think it’s fair. Its definitely my opinion.....

The problem I see is with worship songs that have the potential to be great and enduring creative works, but are ruined by a single phrase or even a single word, rendering them, for me, unsingable. I’m going to take on four, perhaps five, with the recommendation that you watch carefully the words you sing, because they become your doctrine. 

1. Reckless love. I’m not going in order of magnitude of error or disagreement here particularly, but this is a big one and quite contemporary at the time of writing. For me I would have to change that word to sing the song. It’s a great song but God is in no way reckless. Look at the words that describe the definition of that word and none of them are attributes of the Living God. I heard that the writer, Cory Asbury, explained it in terms of extravagance. Okay, so you have to redefine a perfectly good word in order for the song to be true. He then made the claim, so I am told, “God bankrupted heaven to save us.” No! He did not. God is not and never was and never will be bankrupt. You’re just making it worse. God is not reckless. He does everything intentionally and according to His plan. The cross did show the depths of His love, but use the right word that actually means what you think you want to say. Use, “faithful”, “gracious,” or “perfect” or something else - ‘Cos God is not reckless.

2. “It’s Your breath in our lungs.” No, it’s not. Its air in our lungs and the Spirit of God on the inside. And that is very ugly poetry. I can’t bring myself to sing it. The rest of the song is fantastic, especially the bridge, which I could sing all day, over and over. 

3. So will I. Have you seen that amazing mega-media production of that song, with the 3D projection set and the massive crowds and massive band. It’s really quite something. But better is when the World Race team came to our base in Eastern Europe, and sitting around our table we heard the six ladies singing it accompanied by a cheap guitar and a ukulele. That made me cry. But why does evolution have to come in to it? Many people will balk at the concept. Why ruin the whole song over such a controversial and completely unnecessary topic?

4. It Is Well. There’s a new version of the song, combined with some old lyrics. The live version by Bethel music is great. But when I look up the lyrics in preparation for singing it on a Sunday it became a writer. I can’t get past the very first line..... “Grander earth has quaked before.” What? What on earth (grander or not) does that mean?
The writer explains that she was trying to convey poetically that earth and nature have gone through trials greater than we see now. Something like that. Whatever the explanation the lyrics are an absolute fail. I can’t bring myself to lead people, grown, intelligent people in singing gibberish. So that’s another write off. Unless I re-write part of the song. I.e., the first line, and give myself a composer credit with the original writer, like Kristene Dimarco did....

This all started for me, I seem to recall, with “Jesus be the centre.” It’s a new age concept. According to mindtools.com, not a Christian site, “Centering is an ancient visualization  technique that is popular in Aikido – the Japanese defensive martial art of ‘spiritual harmony.’”

I don’t want to mingle that strange fire on the altar of my worship. You may counter that it is redirecting the term to focus on Him who is the actual centre. Okay, but it’s for Chritians to sing. It’s not an evangelistic song with a life lesson for the lost. Further, you can’t implore Jesus by any means to be something. “Be the centre” is asking Him to be what? And is it by His actions that Jesus will become your main focus? No. The onus is on you to make Him the centre of your days. It’s a very poor song I never liked.

My concern with this recurring aggravation is that it will cause false doctrines and concepts about the Living God to be introduced into the everyday thinking of Christians, who are already being pulled in every direction by politics, media, advertising and ideologies foisted on a gullible population who have no moral or spiritual compass. We are influenced by those with whom we spend time. Let’s worship.

 

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