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February 21, 2008

Priorities and Worship

One well-known worship group he had spoken with was asking over $35,000. $35,000! To play worship music! I have a family of four, and I donít make that much money in 2 years, let alone 2 hours of playing music that is supposed to be for God. I could send 467 goats to Kenya for that much. I could provide a monthís food and clothing to 1,000 AIDS-affected orphans in Africa for that much. I could just pay off all credit card debt for 10 families in America, totally changing their lives forever, for that much.

Whatís wrong with our priorities when weíll pay $35,000 to have a worship band come and play music to bring us closer to God, but we wonít give a couple extra bucks to the waitress to show her that God cares about her hard work? Are our priorities so out of whack that weíll let orphans die, widows waste away, and working class parents work night and day just so we can enjoy a relaxing couple of hours in the presence of God?

Iím less ticked at the bands than I am at ourselves for allowing them to be made into rock stars. Iím sure Chris Tomlin doesnít want to be your idol. Iím sure Matt Redman doesnít want your worship. Why are we giving it to them?

From The Blah Blah. Go there and read that one, if you can without feeling completely convicted. Especially if you're in a band.

Why do we idolize people who have talent that 's been given to them by God? Why don't we give the praise to God, from whom the talent comes? If there's anything I really hate about Christian music, that's it. We've got people in music with rock-star attitudes, expecting rock star treatment (not all of them -- I agree with Jake that there are some who are really in it for God). We shell out a bunch of money to listen to their music. And we say they're in it for the ministry.

Yet we condemn pastors who do the same thing. We condemn the "rock star" lifestyles of high profile mega-church preachers -- and rightly so. Why do we expect less of our "worship leaders" than we do of anyone else in a ministry position?

We also make it tough on the ones who are interested in ministry. It's a lot easier to rely on God and consider your vocation a calling if you're not making a six-figure salary each year between performances and CD sales. I'm sure a lot of guys who once wrote penetrating, spiritually focused lyrics are now writing pablum because it sells better. "People have to buy the CD for it to minister to them," they rationalize. And we get music like SCC's "Dancing With Cindarella." A good song, don't get me wrong, it's cut straight from Bob Carlisle's "Butterfly Kisses" cloth, but there's nothing Christian about it. Same with "Rawkfist" from Thousand Foot Krutch, to pick on a genre I like a bit better. People are writing watered-down sentimental lyrics with not spiritual content and we are eating it up. Which means, of course, that they're going to write more of it. And that, in a nutshell, is why the Christian music scene is so .... meh. That's why I listen to more independent music now -- they still write the lyrics that are on their hearts, and not just on their wallets.

We have to either admit that Christian rock is an industry and not a ministry, or get back to the ministry attitude that Jesus music had in the very beginning. But let's stop kidding ourselves -- we can't have it both ways. Seems I remember someone mentioning something about God and mammon before.

Posted by Warren Kelly at February 21, 2008 05:45 PM | TrackBack
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