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Worship, Hymns, and a Little Rock n' Roll: What Gives?

As I am seeing massive hits on this morning's post: American Idol Waters Down 'Shout to the Lord' - Modern Christian Praise Song, I thought I would look at what makes Christian music, and what counts as worship.

Dicey territory? Absolutely. I am not proposing I know the answer here.

Worship is serving God. There are many ways to serve God, whether through physical service, donating money in a church tithe or to missions, making a meal for someone hungry, helping a person suffering from AIDS to be more comfortable, talking about His great gift with others, or, to sing a song.

Not all songs with Christian themes are worship, however. Nor are all good things holy. What is the criteria for worship?

Look at musicians well-known as Phil Keaggy. He spanned varieties of worship, but also played 'secular' tunes. Which are worship?

  • Do we tell God who He is?
  • What about songs which tell God of our submission to Him?
  • Does it make a difference if the musician him or herself is a Christian?
  • Can I still worship if that song was written by, say, Church of Satan founder Anton LeVey, if, presuming, the lyrics are, say the same as "My Jesus I Love Thee"?
  • Is it worship if I am singing one of the great hymns, but myself am not a believer in Jesus?
  • What if I am singing, and my theology is right, but I am living like I do not believe -- is this worship?
  • Must worship be music from the pre-1800s, accompanied by an organ?
  • Is is still worship if missing a guitar?
  • Can we worship alone - why worship with others?
  • Sometimes songs have only a few words, with a stanza song 10x. Is that still a worship song?

Content, instruments, attitude, belief of song. That's all those questions really are. But we add so much to what is worship, and, in doing so, take much away. Anyone who has ever considered this issue knows it is both easy and difficult to reduce to a single blog post.

I invite your comments, favorite hymns, and idea about worship.

Phil Keaggy - Shades of Green

Phil Keaggy - Hold Me Jesus (cover of a Rich Mullins song)

Glenn Kaiser - Most of All (from "All My Days")

Avalon "My Jesus, I Love Thee"

Elvis Presley - How Great Thou Art

Sandi Patty - How Great Thou Art
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