So, after the embarrasing confession in Part 1, below, that I started hanging out around contemporary Christian music because I wanted to hang out with a cute boy, I started to actually like the stuff, egads!
This is, mostly, I think, because I actually started listening to it. When I left home to move to seminary, I was ridiculously homesick. I missed Gigantor Church and my friends like crazy. It was a struggle not to drive home every weekend. But as I was getting settled into the new city and scanning the tuner on my car radio to find new presets, I stumbled on the "Christian music" station, which seemed to constantly be playing the songs that I heard so frequently back home. And so even though I didn't love it, I clung to it, because it reminded me of home.
Eventually, the homesickness faded a bit, but I kept the station. See, it turns out that contemporary music isn't all terrible. Some of it's pretty good, actually. Yeah, some of it has some pretty suspect theology, and some of it is too sappy and sentimental, but some of it's good. I never really got to the point where it was my preference for Sunday morning, but I gained a much better attitude about it. For example, if I have a friend who doesn't go to church very often (or at all), but will go with me to the contemporary (but not traditional) service, I can handle it. And I started to enjoy the midweek or even Sunday night services in my new city. Again, not so much Sunday morning (it's just not "church" for me), but when MercyMe and Tenth Ave. North came and did a concert at Gigantor Church, you can bet I was there!
Around this time I started struggling with the fact that my own personal preferences still leaned strongly toward the "traditional" liturgy, etc...for Sunday morning, but seeing the power of contemporary, non-traditional services as well. God reaches and heals and brings unto himself thousands of people through Gigantor Church. How can I deny that it "works", regardless of what I happen to like most? And then this video came out and went viral:
It's absolutely hysterical, because it's so true, and honestly, I think that's a little bit sad, too. So still, I pondered. Worship prep does not necessarily equal manipulation or lack of sincerity or authenticity. Really, really good "traditional" worship needs lots of prep too - picking good hymns, having readers and choirs practice, getting everything arranged on the altar and in the sanctuary so that it all goes according to plan, etc...And that's "all the same" too. Different "same" than "contemporvant" worship services are, but same nonetheless. Right?
But last night at Contemporvant Young Adult Service at Big Church in Big City, it hit me. My supervisor had asked me to go and tell him how many people were there, how it went, etc...So I was paying lots of attention, engaging my "event planner" side, which I don't always necessarily enjoy, but I can do it when I have to, and honestly, I think I'm pretty good at it.
But now, for the cliffhanger: Come back later for Part 3, in which I come down firmly on the side of the liturgy.