Does Contemporary Worship Focus Too Much On Me?

Have you heard this question before? Is it a valid complaint?

Let me say first that I am rapidly growing tired of all the complaining going on among Christians. Have you noticed that an entire industry has grown up around complaining? Entire books, blogs, magazines, and radio programs have centered themselves around what they view as wrong. Megachurches are wrong. Joel Osteen is wrong. Fundamentalists are wrong. Liberals are wrong. Evangelicals are wrong. Their theology is wrong. Their practices are wrong. Emerging is wrong. The Shack is wrong. Postmodernism is wrong. Music is wrong. Intentions are wrong...

"Can't we all just get along?"

This idea that modern worship songwriters have written too many lyrics about themselves seems to me just another boxcar in a long train of criticisms voiced by Christians about other Christians. As a songwriter myself, I understand how personal songwriting is, and I am not overly concerned about it being "too much so".

I take my cue from David, who wrote many Psalms and who wrote extensively about himself and his encounters and experiences with God. The Psalms are full of personal pronouns. Did David use the word "I" too much? Of course not. It would be silly to accuse David of that. It is silly to accuse ourselves of that.

The human experience is universal. David's experiences relate to us, just as our experiences relate to others'. They are shared, even if at times on a metaphorical level. Still we draw great meaning from them and understand them deeply as they apply to our lives today. If we think our worship leaders are singing too much about themselves, perhaps we should strive to make the words our own? Should we be willing to sing the songs personally, and make them mean what they need to mean for us, to understand what is shared between us, and glorify God for it? Perhaps it is our own self-centeredness, not that of the Psalmist, that stands in our way?


Anonymous said...

Blame complaining on Luther. He started it. :)


Ken said...

Good point. Perhaps all the complaining today is really just a continuation of our proud Christian heritage? Jesus complained about the Pharisees. Paul complained about Peter. Luther complained about the papacy. Mark Driscoll complains about everyone.

And I complain about the complaining!