Monday, May 24, 2010

"New/Modern" Praise/Worship Music

So, I'm taking this college course, "History of Folk Music", and I'm in the chapter (from "The American Dream" Margaret M. Mayer), about African-American folk-music and I come upon this section:

Alan Lomax, on a collecting trip for the Library of Congress in the 1940s, was shocked to hear church music which he felt to be so dramatically different. Having heard the music of the black church on earlier collecting trips, he responded to the sound of this "new" music as follows:

Instead of the sound rolling like sweet thunder through the church, the congregation tried and moslty failed to join the refrains. I couldn't believe I was in a Southern black Baptist church. Their second song was worse, if possible. "What is this?" I whispered. "It's the latest thing. They call it gospel," Lewis told me, grinning at my disomfiture.

On the last quavering chord I switched off the recorder and we went outside for a breath of fresh air. At a little street fair in front of the church, Lewis introduced me to a Reverend Martin in the booth offering gospel songbooks and sheet music for sale. Martin was eager to explain.

"You see, in the modern Baptist church we are trying to move on past the wonderful old con-bread spirituals and sermons, as they say, with gravy on them. We want to bring our people forward with a new and more progressive type of music, created especially for modern worship by our leading composers. The old sister leading songs from the back row is being replaced by an educated musical director. His job is to spread our new, more intelligently composed songs."

Couldn't help relating this to where we've been in the Christian church for the past 15-20 years, struggling between the beautiful hymns and gospel songs we've known and loved for years and the "modern" praise and worship style music. (for the record, I resent the implication that the old songs are any less praise and worship than the new, but that's an argument for another blog).

How can MUSIC, a God-given gift, I believe given by Him primarily but not exclusively for us to give back to Him, become such a bone of contention among His people? I have a million thoughts and opinions on the whole issue, but I'm going to let this quote from Alan Lomax stand for now. Feel free to comment.

No comments:

Post a Comment