Desiring the Kingdom

Since I’m in the process of moving, I haven’t been able to give my reading and reflection the time it deserves.  My review of Jamie Smith’s “Desiring the Kingdom” is forthcoming, but in the meantime, I thought I’d share an excerpt from it.  For more of a discussion on “mushy worship music” visit http://michaelkrahn.com/blog/2009/10/20/genre-jesus-is-my-girlfriend-hillsong-u-and-kutless-fans-please-read/#comment-3347

“While we might be rightly critical of the self-centered grammar of such choruses (which, when parsed, often turn out to be more about “me” than God, and “I” more than us), I don’t think we should so quickly write off their “romantic” or even “erotic” elements (the Song of Songs comes to mind in this context). This, too, is a testimony to why and how so many are deeply moved in worship by such singing. While this can slide into an emotionalism and a certain kind of domestication of God’s transcendence, there remains a kernel of “fittingness” about such worship. While opening such doors is dangerous, I’m not sure that the primary goal of worship or discipleship is safety…[Such a view] suffers from a “quasi-rationalism that sneers at such erotic elements in worship and is concerned to keep worship “safe”. From James K.A. Smith “Desiring the Kingdom”.

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5 thoughts on “Desiring the Kingdom

  1. Its not the romantic language that bothers me. Its the shallow, insipid lyrics – lyrics which don’t even express an appropriate depth of emotion for a human, let alone God.

    We can do better.

    1. It is undeniable that much modern “praise and worship” music is rather shallow. Although I sympathize with Smith’s comments about the “erotic” side of worship, I still don’t feel comfortable singing words that echo what I say to my wife.

      One of the chorus’ yesterday we sang (over and over and over and over) was simply “I love you Jesus”. While I certainly do love Jesus, it just doesn’t feel right to sing it repeatedly because it ends up ringing hollow (and it doesn’t help that the worship leader’s face is reminiscent of Adam Sandler’s old bit “Sex or Weightlifting”, in this case I suppose it would be “Sex or Worship”). By repeating it that many times are we looking for “multiples” in worship?

      One question, Micahel – what counts as “an appropriate depth of emotion” and who gauges this depth?

  2. Hi Jason,

    I have a low tolerance for awful modern music. I’m roman catholic, and there’s this hymnal in some parishes called Gather, and it is chock full of stuff by Marty Haugen, and also includes horrors like “Ride On, Jesus, Ride”. We actually sang that last sunday. My ears were bleeding.

    Warren P.
    [same last name as you. Hey cool.]

    1. Another member of the world-wide Postma clan, eh? Cool!

      I love the Colbert video – Priceless! Is it from “Strangers with Candy”?

      As a youth pastor and musician, I’ve started a youth worship team at my church and I’ve found it interested that they have a low tolerance for “bad” P & W music. That isn’t to say that they are clamoring to sign hymns all the time. However, that they are able to gauge the depth (or lack thereof) or lyrical content at 15 years old is quite remarkable. Furthermore, I’ve found that the well written contemporary hymns strike a happy balance between young and old (I’m thinking here of Stuart Townend’s stuff).

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