Saturday, April 05, 2008

Coming up: Aesthetics & Worship

Sorry for the lull in blogging, been kinda busy. To round off the mini-series on beauty, I thought I'd touch a little on aesthetics, which is according to faithful Wikipedia is, "the study of sensory or sensori-emotional values, sometimes called judgements of sentiment and taste", or more broadly "critical reflection on art, culture and nature."

Indeed. What reflection and contribution to art and culture can Christianity give today?

First stop: music. I love music, as I'm sure many of my readers do. One particular topic which always arouses controversy is worship music, that is, music which has been written to facilitate songs of praise, adoration, thanksgiving to God. I love good music, and I love worshipping God with words and song. So why is worship music so often a joke, musically and aesthetically speaking? Or even if its not, why is worship music so often a very narrow category/genre, compared to the awesome variety of music we are blessed with today?

A friend of mine always cautions me when I bring up this subject, saying that "worship must be a spiritual affair, not a soulish one", implying that the desire to have good sounding and even ground-breaking sound is not something to be yearned after in worship music. What's important is the spiritual matter of offering one's heart to God. This argument is often heard in charismatic circles. And its not one I can easily dismiss, because essentially there is a lot of truth in what my friend says. And I suppose that some churches get so carried away with the sound of music that they cease to place God first (Cf. the story behind Matt Redmond writing Heart of Worship).

So lots to think about. Actually I need to think more before writing further. So I leave you with a fantastic band I just discovered - Pendulum, whose trademark sound is a cross between Drum & Bass and Punk Rock.

Also, ever wanted to hear Jonny Cash mixed with punk? Ok, maybe not...


Anonymous said...

Once again you've touched on a topic I'm constantly wrestling with Alastair!

Would I listen to worship music if I wasn't a Christian? Well, I guess I did...but it wasn't because I liked the music itself in terms of the rhythm or whatever. It was something about the atmosphere and spirtuality of it that drew me in, and somehow drew me close to God before I even really believed in His existence.

I love the story behind Matt Redman's song 'The Heart of Worship', and I constantly remind others (and myself) of it.

I think I probably struggle not so much with the outward 'worship music' - I'd never go to an event because 'Matt Redman' was would be going to an event because it would help me focus on God.

That's why I probably struggle with events which are like concerts (but the bands playing are all Christians), as opposed to events where I can focus on God. I guess because there is a subtle difference...or at least I find there is.

Servidores said...
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Sensuous Wife said...

You seem to be busy lately, Alastair, and when you post, I enjoy reading what you write. I thought maybe this short little meme would jump-start your creativity. Hey, it'll give you a post with a May dateline! :)

I've tagged you for this meme:

a. Link to the person who tagged you.
b. Post the rules on your blog.
c. Write six random things about yourself.
d. Tag six random people at the end of your post by linking to their blogs.
e. Let each person know they have been tagged by leaving a comment at their blog.
f. Let your tagger know when your entry is up.

Alastair said...

Yes, life is busy and its hard to find time for blogging! I'd love to do your meme but even that takes time...Hopefully I'll get a post out before the end of the month :-)