Wednesday, May 27, 2015
How Christian Music Sanitizes The Wilderness - Chaplain Mike in Internet Monk
Praise music is especially weak when it comes to giving voice to the full spectrum of human experiences and emotions. Today's church has largely embraced a theology of glory and neglects the trinitarian reality of the suffering God. It shows in Praise Music.
Psalm 42 was the basis for a winsome little song "As The Deer." The song exemplifies a big problem Praise Music has when it comes to using imagery from the Bible, especially the book of Psalms.
Rather than meditating on the Psalmist is actually using imagery, it is interpreted in a way that is easily grasped in our culture - in romantic fashion. That is manifestly NOT what the imagery refers to in Psalm 42.
The psalmist is NOT longing for God because he has a precious "personal relationship" with God and wants to celebrate that. Rather, HE PINES FOR GOD BECAUSE GOD CAN'T BE FOUND!
The deer in the psalm can't find a stream. It is dying of thirst and desperately concerned for its very life. This is why the psalmist is thirsty for God. He is dying of thirst for an ABSENT GOD.
Even when today's songwriters make use of the Psalms they tend to transform the raw, earthy language that describes our complex, often messy relationships with God and others into easily digestible spiritual sentiments.
This is similar to what today's Christianity does to the Bible. It takes one image from a rich, profound, complex and realistic description of life and latches on to it because the image evokes a simple, devotional sentiment that prompts an immediate emotion.
The Christian life is not all sweetness and light. People know this, but praise music doesn't often help them know what to do with that knowledge and the feelings that go along with it.
We live in real wilderness. We do best to acknowledge it. Sanitizing it helps no one.
The full article is available here