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sounds really interesting, good to hear there is some debate and engagement with the issues going on at 'higher' levels!!

David Derbyshire

I agree. We’re bored with a disjointed series of pop songs. That’s why we’re not joining in. Putting singers and musicians at the front leads to a passive listening. The set up is that of a mini-concert where you would only join in very occasionally. Plus a lot of recent worship songs are so bland. There are plenty of Christian songs of more depth than we sing – but it is thought to be radical to bring out a hymn now and again. And where are the songs of lament like I read in the Psalms?

But I trust that you were able to take the discussion on to show how worship leaders could put more time and effort into preparing worship gatherings, to bring more creativity into worship and to recapture that sense of journey, tying the whole worship service together and getting people involved in the planning. Our longings will not be satisfied by just hyping things up. Some people may meet Jesus in the music but for crying out loud, haven’t they got it yet - worship is more than music.


I'm a Roman Catholic and never thought to question 'worship' until I became ecumenical in outlook. Clearly we are focused on communal worship here but we are all free to worship when we are alone or in small groups. I have felt quite euphoric in the Spring Harvest Big Top worship, intimately worshipful in the chaos of the Greenbelt Communion service and probably felt as though I was getting it right in housegroup settings and in a group of 3 I used to meet with for prayer. And as much I love exploring alt worship concepts, I've never picked myself up to attend any of the stuff available (shame on me!). But it's horses for courses. A lot of people might get upset if we threw out the baby with the bathwater...but I take Joel Edwards' point that it is desirable that worship might engage with the realities of the world.


This discussion put me in mind of the ASBOjesus cartoon No337, 8/1/08. D'ya think Joel Edwards reads ASBO?


The problem is those critiques aren't even anything new, even lots of worship leaders spout the same things. its even the new marketing strategy such and such new worship leader or new CD is a refreshing break from such and such that is so wrong with modern worship these days.

Its like the emperors new clothes everyone starts critiquing modern as shallow or bland or Jesus is my boyfriend as if they don't contribute to that but without pointing fingers or naming names as they're all linked by relationship, record label, conference or network in the end

I get the impression that Graham at least might have owned his critiscm


Lots of good stuff there Jonny.

I decided this was worth a comment tho - from above (sic):

"worship has often been too cosy - a retreat from alienation rather than an engagement with pain."

I think both of these are important. A little escapism from coping with reality never hurt anybody.


this is true and this was from joel edwards in the context of black afro-carribbean communities who received a rough ride economically and in almost every way. a bit of comfort for sure! but i guess he was saying the pendulum swang too far in that direction.

David Derbyshire

Of course there is still a lot that is good in modern worship styles; perhaps our criticisms can stereotype it too much. But I think there are always dangers such as worship being considered as entertainment or us getting into a rut that mean that we fail to engage God. Don’t we need to be continually pushing outside of the envelope with new experimental formats to stimulate and challenge ourselves as worshippers?

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