"Transcendance" versus "Worship"

Been thinking about this for the past few days...

Was hanging out with a believing friend a while back, listening to ________________ (fill in the name of appropriately passionate and artful but "non-believing" band here), and he turned to me and said, "Why can't worship music be like this? THIS IS SO WORSHIPFUL." I nodded my head, because a large part of me really agreed with him.

But you know, as I thought about it more, I think he's actually a little bit off the mark (and so am I). I must be going through the middle-aged hardening of attitude and belief, where you start to cement and crystallize (for better, for worse) how you feel about "the big questions"...

See, this song that we were listening, while incredibly well-done and passionate and evocative, said nothing about, well, God. Nothing about Jesus or the Holy Spirit either, for that matter. In fact, it was pretty much devoid of any direct reference to anything "spiritual" except to clarify the way the write felt about his subject.

And that's why it's not worshipful, nor is it worship. It may be TRANSCENDANT, but it can never be worship, for worship is directly pointed towards God, and only Him. Ideally, our worship music should be TRANSCENDANT -- that is, it should be evocative, creative and passionate -- but transcendant music is NOT necessarily WORSHIPFUL.

Who cares?

Well, we should.


We should care because if you interact with the evangelical church at all, you most likely deal with artists -- in your bands, on your creative teams.

And artists are concerned with TRANSCENDANCE.

But not always work.

Transcendance can be "fuzzy". God exists and, while a mystery, is actually ULTIMATE reality.

Transcendance is concerned with moving people emotionally, artistically. WORSHIP says, "Though He slay me, yet will I praise His name."

A rich worship experience willl effectively tread the line between transcendance and worship, but we shouldn't give into the thought that a great pop song is worship just because it crosses over into the realm of something bigger than just notes and music.

There is always more to it than that.


At 10:42 PM , Blogger beth said...

This is really good thinking and good writing.

Will you come teach at our worship conference?


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