Tonight I was up at Big Church in Big City, and it was a good thing. When my supervisor told me that I could have my pick of what ministries I wanted to be a part of, right away I picked Young Adult Worship on Thursday nights. For one thing, I don't get to do hardly any worship planning at my churches, because I have a rockstar Worship and Music Committee. And I love them. But I would also love to be a little more um...involved. Picking hymns, touching up the liturgy, that sort of thing. But I can live with the situation as-is. The other reason I wanted to be part of Young Adult Worship is because I feel like I never get a chance to worship. I go to work on Sunday mornings, not church anymore. And I really miss it. Wednesday night adult worship at my churches is getting to be a good substitute for me, but it's still kind of a substitute.
Now, way back in the days of my biggest jerkiness as a church-goer and all-around human being, I was staunchly in favor of so-called "traditional" worship. The liturgy (LBW Setting 2, please), hymns (on a pipe organ), all four readings (OT, Psalm, Epistle, Gospel), candles, crucifer, torch-bearers, the whole deal. That was how church was supposed to be, gosh-darn-it, and anybody who didn't like it like that just wasn't spiritually mature enough to appreciate it. Contemporary worship services aren't really worship services, they're just concerts. Ugh.
Looking back, I think part of my problem was a) I was a jerk, and b) I didn't know most of the contemporary music. I have absolutely zero musical ability, and when the whole congregation is singing hymns that I have been hearing since I was a baby, accompanied by a booming pipe organ, I can sing along and my crappy voice fades into the background. (Or so I like to think. Don't wreck my delusions, ok?) So, I didn't listen to contemporary Christian music, the Top 40 of which is pretty much what gets played in contemporary services on any given Sunday, a lot of it was too high for me to sing comfortably, and the whole 7-11 thing (7 words repeated 11 times) really gets on my nerves. Basically, I hated contemporary worship but the reasons I hated it were entirely about me, and not about any practically or theologically substantive argument.
Then I went through a period where I came to at least...tolerate...it. In part, because at Gigantor Church at home, 98% of what they do is contemporary music. If you're willing to show up for church at 8:00 on Sunday morning you can hit the traditional service which has fabulous organ talent, but that's about it. And the thing of it was, there was a cute boy that I knew at the time who kept asking me to go with him to the Thursday Night Young Adult Service. Now, I really didn't like this service, at the time. It was too loud, the room was "built" oddly, I didn't know the music, and the preaching was hit-or-miss. But darned if lust didn't win out over my taste in music, and I ended up there on more than one occasion. (For what it's worth, the cute boy is now marrying one of those Perfect Girls, so for all you young kids out there, here's a lesson worth learning: sacrificing musical and theological principles for the sake of sitting next to the "cute boy" or "hot girl" in church is never a good idea, ok?)
Next up: How I came to love contemporary music