Sunday, May 07, 2006

I Like What I Like - Southern Gospel vs. "All That Other Stuff"

This afternoon, I attended a most delightful service of music and worship that would best be described as "southern Gospel". I don't know why God made me this way, but I am glad He did - that "way" is that I really do love all kinds of music. I only care that it is presented with excellence (or to the best of their abilities), presented with great emotion, and those presenting it are authentic in their presentation. All were evident this afternoon.

I had the luxury of sitting out in the audience since I did not have any leadership responsibilities. Following the service, I had several similar comments from church members and (me being the "guy in charge of music" at my church), I figured I would receive such comments.......

"why don't we do more of this?"

"I was wondering when we were going to do more of this - after all, this music is the best music"

"there are plenty of groups just as good as this group - why not have more of them more often?"

I have learned that such comments "come with the territory". People are never more opinionated than in church (except maybe in politics), and personal musical preference certainly brings out the comments!

One of my personal spiritual "heroes" is Bob Kauflin. He wrote the following in his blog on Friday (regarding a recent conference where he led 3,000 men in worship!) -"The goal of our singing was simple, and in line with the conference – to incite our hearts to worship and our lives to godliness by painting a clear, compelling view of God’s grace in the Savior."

WOW - what a statement - using words like "incite our hearts", and "painting a clear, compelling view"....... oh, that that would be our goal whenever we gather to sing songs to Jesus and about Jesus......

Bob goes on to say the following -
"It seems that when it comes to worship, we tend to speak in polarized categories. Rock music or a cappella. Edifying or evangelistic. Planned or spontaneous. Reverent or celebrative. For God or for us. We determine who’s on our side, draw lines in the sand, and seek to discredit those who don’t see things our way. Rarely do we consider that God is so vast and our understanding so finite, that we often have to hold conflicting, or at least apparently conflicting, truths in tension. Or maybe we just have a hard time understanding how God made us different in some ways so that we might learn from one another.

In any case, humble, thoughtful dialogue in these areas may not change our view, but it will certainly help us become more like the Savior we worship."

I want to believe that those who made a point to come to me to tell me how much they loved this afternoon and wished we would do more of it would also be the very ones to embrace whatever it is we sing in worship so that "unity in our diversity" would be evident to all who observe our singing and our worship, but most especially be evident to the One we sing to and sing about......

Thanks to my "senior" friends for a beautiful worship experience this afternoon, and thanks to a quality southern Gospel group, Legacy Five for making me remember why I love southern Gospel music just as much as all that other stuff!