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...