Music

12 07 2008

In the previous post I described my dislike of a certain genre of music, Southern Gospel.  Of course at the time I wrote the post I didn’t know that this was the “sacred cow” of my family.  However, after “the Triumvirate”, better known as my mother and my two aunts responded, I quickly learned this was the case.  Memo to self…..TOUCH NOT SOUTHERN GOSPEL LEST THOU BE PILED UPON WITH FLAMING SWORDS!  Ha, I know that what they said was mostly in fun.  But it did bring up a point that I want to harp upon for a minute!  It seems like the longer that I live the more fractured and distant my generation has become from my parents generation in several areas.  Let me make a statement that I intend as a disclaimer.  I am not talking about doctrinal or salvific principles.  Please keep that in mind as you read this. 

One of the areas that we differ on is music.  Anyone who has been around Pentecost or any type of church for that matter know what I am talking about.  As I was growing up, and I mean as a small child, we still sang out of the hymn book.  It was great.  As I grew and got older we began to sing worship choruses.  Songs like, Welcome into this place, I will praise you Lord, etc.  It was great.  Choir music has also changed.  We used to listen to Hezekiah Walker, John P Kee, Orlando Draper and many others.  This type of music lent itself to large majestic choirs.  Anthemic music that was big, complicated and majestic. 

My sister wrote a post about some of her favorite choir songs.  I too cherish the memory of those songs.  My Aunt Karla pointed out that I played Southern Gospel when my parents were apart of the Landmark Trio.  I did and we had fun with it.  But things change.  Sometimes it’s for the better and sometimes it is for the worse.  My mom wrote about a young man in our church who brought out the song book the other night and sang “The Old Rugged Cross”.  I wasn’t there but I know from experience that there is no greater song.  The emotions that singing about Jesus dying for my sins evokes are priceless.  I need to be reminded of the incredible sacrifice that was paid so that I might one day have the chance at eternal life.  There are also days when my Dad will just take over the service and sing old hymns.  When that happens I love it.  My grandpa will sing at the top of his lungs.  There will always be a place in my heart and in the church for those songs!  If we ever lose that than I believe that we have done ourself an incredible disservice.  Most of the young people that are in our church don’t know the old songs and it is pretty funny watching them try to follow the words in a song book.  There are a lot of people that say this is tragic, an injustice or just plain disrespectful. I strongly disagree.  I think that it is fantastic!  Why?  Because it means that there are people in my church that weren’t raised in Pentecost.  People who have never heard the old songs.  People who are new to Pentecost and its traditions.  Should we teach them about the heritage.  Absolutely!  Should we hold on to it (tradition) so tight that it is incredibly foreign to any one who has no clue?  No. 

The new praise and worship music that has come around lately is fantastic.  Most of the “new stuff” is directed directly to God and is meant to praise Him.  It’s called vertical worship.  Songs like, This is How We Overcome, ( I get made fun of a lot because this is one of my favorites), talks about the day that Jesus saved a person and what a difference it makes in their life.  It goes on to point out that praise is what helps a person to over come the trials that they may be going through.  Friend of God is a song that points out what an amazing thing it is that God has chosen me or you to have a relationship with.  Everyone (Praises) speaks to baptism, repentance and the shedding of Christ’s blood on Calvary.  The message of the newer worship has not changed at all from the “old hymnals” and even from what Pentecostal music used to be when I was a teenager.  I would hazard a guess and say that there is not a single person out there who could honestly say that the quality of the worship service you attend has been lessened because of a “different” style of music. 

If we are honest ourselves it boils down to personal tastes.  I made it abundantly clear, and I was being mostly sarcastic, that I don’t really like Southern Gospel music.  It’s not what gets to me.  But that doesn’t mean that I sit like a bump on a log when someone sings it.  I don’t snarl up my nose and cross my arms or roll my eyes in distaste!  You may think that I’m going overboard to make a point but I’ve seen all of the above happen.  And here’s the sad part: It’s usually along generational lines and it goes both ways.  I thank God everyday that I have been raised to appreciate all kinds of music.  Even if I don’t particularly like the style, I can recognize that it has value because it glorifies God.  I know, for a fact, that my Dad is not all that fond of all of the “worship” music that we do.  You would never be able to guess it from the way that he responds.  He recognizes that it moves and speaks to his congregation and he won’t put himself above the church receiving a blessing from God.  When a person puts their likes and dislikes above the good of the whole they are wrong.  We sing, almost exclusively, except for the times like I mentioned above, the newer worship music.  It has never affected the quality of our worship service.  In fact, I would say that it has enhanced it.  The sight of seeing people giving everything to God during a worship service is incomparable.  It should be this way no matter what we sing.  If music glorifies God it is worthwhile and it should never be denegrated or put down in any way. 

It’s supposed to be all about Jesus.  It shouldn’t matter if it’s my generations music or your generations music.  If it glorifies the Creator of the Universe I should worship no matter what the beat is or what the lead instrument is.  Personal taste shouldn’t preclude anyone, grandparent or grandchild, from being able to raise a hand and say “Thank you God for saving my soul.”  Because, in the end, the presentation may change but the Message never will.

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15 responses

12 07 2008
Linda

Nathaniel, you have “redeemed” yourself rather well. 🙂 Of course, our comments were in fun, and I couldn’t wait for your comment back. You’ve done well! LOL! Love you!!!!

Well, I had to do something. I didn’t want to be drummed out of the family. The way it sounded ya’ll were about to cut the buttons off my uniform, tar and feather me and send me out of town on a rail!! HA!

12 07 2008
Gene

WOW! Great post. I agree totally with your take on this. I like all forms – of course, some of them much better than others!

I especially like the kind of music where everyone sings a different song and then one person stands on the couch singing as loud as they possibly can to drown out all of the other people.

12 07 2008
Karla Holley

I couldn’t agree more!!!! Amen!!

Yes, AMEN!! It is good that you couldn’t agree more. What a relief to know that I wiggled back into the good graces of the “Triumvirate”!!

12 07 2008
iluv2prshim

VERY well said. My sentiments EXACTLY!!! 🙂

Thanks. I managed to stream a couple of coherent thoughts together. It doesn’t happen often and when it does it leaves me exhausted for several weeks. Brain Drain!! Better get back to posting funny stuff!

13 07 2008
Jolene Mendoza

Now that was one fantastic post and I agree 100% especially with your very last paragraph.

Thank you. That last paragraph is something that I believe very strongly in!

13 07 2008
Misty

Than,

This post needs to be read around Pentecost. If I pastored a church that had an older generation in attendance I would pass it out to them this morning.

🙂
Misty

PS Are you still planning a visit out here? Josh and I were talking about you the other day and trying to decide if you really were or not. Enlighten us…

Well, as a matter of fact, I’ve decided to publish this latest missive in a magazine so that everyone can be enlightened! HA! Hopefully at General Conference they will read it on Friday night=)-.

PS. Yes, sometime and hopefully sooner than later. It’s just a really difficult time to take off of work right now. You may have noticed the terrible financial woes that our great nation is dealing with. However, ya’ll live there and soon my best friend since I was 1 year old will be going to NYU.

13 07 2008
Carla Clark

AMEN!!! Great post!

Thanks.

14 07 2008
ryanaustindean

Bro. Hurst, I beg to differ GREATLY!

This new-fangled “contemptorary” music is dragging down the church, and you should be GREATLY ASHAMED of yourself! How dare you defend Satan’s armies of musical hedonism?

I PLEEEEEEEAD FOR YOU TO END YOUR ERRONEOUS NAIVETÉ AND THROW AWAY THIS DUPLICITOUS MATT REDMAN AND CHRIS TOMLIN GARBAGE THAT YOU PROMOTE!

Said in love and with squirrel guns shooting into the air whilst camels eat sugar cubes with Liza Manelli for the rain stops beating down on the tin roof under the garage’s moon cycle with potato wedges and cheese, hoping that the pig with the mustache keeps on rocking the lazer beam-guided walnut until the break of dawn, holla!

Ryan Austin Dean

Ryan, I guess that I have completely gone over to the dark side! If you pray really hard I might, MIGHT, be able to make it back to the side of righteousness and power.

On another note, god bless the aborigines in Maine who love buffalo’s and kilts and like to play in the mud with adopted children under the gray sky of iron with deer and elves while eating fried lizard and strawberries picked fresh from fields of cotton and love with great relish and mustard while Eric Clapton sings Amazing Grace, whut whut!

14 07 2008
Melissa Reighard

Great post and very well said. I still break out the old song book with my kids sometime and Kevin and I have fun singing a lot of the old songs (although he knows more than me), but I love to hear my kids singing the new worship songs we do at church as they go about their day. Hey, as long as the message is getting more attention than the messenger or the way it is presented, then God gets all the glory!

I’m sure that is a lot of fun! It’s all about the message.

14 07 2008
danelle

Than!! I totally agree with you!!! Wouldn’t it be horrible if we still had to sing It’s amazing what praising can do!!! LOL!!! Despite what you might think I do like the new music! Especially casting crowns they have some awesome songs. (((Chills))

How about this beauty, It’s amazing what grazing can do….Hallemoo, oh hallemoojah.

That’s what the cows sing at “corral” practice on their way to the “pasture” on Sunday Morning as they head to church!!! HAHAHAHAHAHAH

15 07 2008
Karen Hopper

Totally agree…great post.

Thanks.

16 07 2008
Esther

I’m in the “older” generation but I like all types of music. The only songs I don’t like and will not sign along with are those with the “devil” mentioned. I won’t give him any attention and I think he enjoys hearing these songs, even though the words are meant to degrade him.

16 07 2008
ryanaustindean

Dude, you absolutely did it right. BRA-VO!

There are so many psychological implications in that post that I’ll refrain from divulging in the public forum of this comments section…

…but, wow.

22 07 2008
Jana Allard

AMEN!!!! Great post!!! This needs to be published in the Pentecostal Herald and sent to all youth committees.

24 07 2008
J. Wilder

Esther, I agree. There’s a song out that I first LOVED because of the melody, tricks and music (by Tye Tribbett) But it felt weird singing to the devil. Talking to him is scriptural (Jesus: “Get thee behind me, Satan”), but singing…. just felt weird.

Than, it’s the Palm branch and Willow! lol
Contemporary Praise & Worship and Gaithers. I like BOTH!

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