I have been worshipping the Lord for many years, in different cultures, alone and together with other believers. I admit that, in the last 15 years or so, I have found it increasingly difficult to participate in corporate worship in most of the congregations with which I have worshipped. Some of this I attribute to the “generation gap,” and the increasing speed with which new generations arise. I appreciate the time and energy that many leaders of “praise and worship,” as it has come to be called, put into their ministry. I am reluctant to speak from the perspective of a “grumpy old man,” so I rarely venture into the “worship wars.” I sympathize with church leaders today, whose desire to provide a venue where people with widely differing musical tastes is very difficult to fulfill.
All of that being said, I resonated very deeply with the sentiments of James Smith (Professor of Philosophy at Calvin College) in his “Open Letter to Praise Bands.” Jamie is a fair bit younger than I, so he does not risk being dismissed as a grumpy old man. He is also a much more astute student of culture than I am, and he has attended more carefully to the theology and practice of Christian worship. For all of these reasons, I commend to you his thoughts in this blog post, and in the postscript to which he links at the end of the post, to address some of the response that his original expression triggered. I’ll not clip anything from his post here because it is a well written piece, and you are best to read it all, if my own reflections have aroused your interest in it.