This series was started right after my last year of seminary got underway, and then was quickly abandoned when most of my spare thoughts were redirected to my thesis. I’d like to spend some time thinking through the issues surrounding how we worship through song in church. Having been actively involved in that for the past 14 years in one capacity or another, I’ve put some considerable thought into it, but would like to refine my thinking further through the blog. Here’s what we’ve got so far:
- Like Dancing About Architecture
- Can Music Be Christian?
- How To Worship When You Think The Songs Suck
- Unitarian vs Trinitarian Worship
- A Weakness of Theologically Deep Worship Music
- Quality vs. Appeal in Worship Music
- When the Style Rubs You the Wrong Way
I’ve got some ideas in mind about where this is going, but I’d like to hear from you. What really bothers you about how we approach worship? Conversely, what do you really like? Maybe its something your church or tradition does and you wish others either followed suit or developed similar approaches.
I’m primarily interested in worship music, in this series, hence the title. To “vamp” is a musical reference to what most people might call either a riff or a chord progression, which is usually repeated throughout a work. To “revamp” is of course to re-work something into better shape. In this way, I’m somewhat poking fun at the nature of praise choruses to repeat a basic chord progression repetitively. But I’m also using this as a metaphor for exploring how we can reimagine both the musical aspects of our worship music as well the overall aesthetics of contemporary Christian worship today.
Since I’m writing as a musician, and one who has been involved in leading worship from a variety of instruments, in a variety of settings, the big question I’m dealing with is this:
- Should worship music meet people where they are at (i.e. be like pop music) or should it strive for something more?
This is what will drive this series forward. Let me know if they are roads you’d like to go down that I’ve haven’t indicated are on the map yet!