clip of the month

Reading The Next Evangelicalism (review forthcoming), I was struck, amongst other things, at Soong-Chan Rah's description of worship experiences in middle class, mostly white churches and their songs:

"Though I'm weak and I'm poor, all I have is yours."
"I'm trading my pain"
"Hungry I come to you...thirsty I run to you"
"On the road marked with suffering there's pain in the offering"

"I do not mean to disparage the very real suffering that middle class white Americans may endure. But these lyrics do not reflect the reality being sung by affluent, upper middle class whites. In all probability, the American Evangelical who has just sung about being hungry and thirsty will have the financial resources to stop by an In-N-Out burger on the way home from church to purchase a double/double with fires and an extra thick milkshake. In contrast, worship music that arises out of the context of suffering in the black church reveals a deep sense of celebration. Lyrics such as;

"I get joy when I think about what he's done for me."
"Woke up this morning with my mind set on Jesus"
"I gotta feelin', everything's gonna be alright"
"As I look back over my life and I think things over, I can truly say
I've been blessed. He brought me all the way. I've got a testimony"

its funny 'cuz its true.

So here's my clip of the month. I don't really like Christian music that much, worship or other. I just can't relate. I can name only one Christian band I like, though I fear they've been caught up in pop-Christian success. But in the beginning, they were a latin funk/jazz band WITH HORNS! I can get behind that everyday. (They have horns!)

Salvador: David Danced.


  1. E - do you think part of it is less about how affluent we are, but rather, it's that we don't really understand what worship is [and I'm not just talking music]? We tend to think that a catchy tune or a good phrasing is worship, but maybe these are merely styles of music. Just a thought.

  2. Hi Del! Good question, I should probably ask you to explain your trajectory a little more. If you assert worship is more than song, its justice, obedience, etc., which I'm sure everyone would agree to at some level, we still have not accounted for the difference in the worship music between classes/cultures' worship. I think it's possible both reflect what each feel the need for? There is a cultural history that is inherited through worship that bears witness to what the culture values. or something :)
    What were you thinking?

  3. Sent you an email about it - let me know if I'm an uninformed heretic. I know you'd like that to be true either way. :)


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