I have a confession to make:
I’m not into Bono.
I find U2 a bit so so.
And I don’t find The Edge all that edgy.
I know that may qualify me for excommunication within some circles of the Emerging Church but hey, I’ve been called a heretic before and life goes on. What prompts this outburst? I recently entered into a discussion on John Smulo’s blog about Bono on Christian Music and I though I should reproduce my comments here, outing myself as a hymnological heretic:
Guys, I agree with much of the criticisms and calls expressed here, the yearings for greater lyrical depth and genre engagement, but personally, I am so over Christian music that I couldn’t care less about hearing another worship song of any genre for the rest of my life.
I say this as a musician who loves music.
I feel that music has become so overemphasized in the Christian scene that I personally need a breather. I am more and more finding greater joy and closeness to God in reading and writing poetry. Lyrics without the try hard trendiness or dirgy dinginess.
I am finding more and more within the emerging church scene who share my sentiments about being over the music, particularly musicians.
Philip, you talk about correlations between hymnology and missiology, but I wonder whether the path ahead involves lyrics without music: in spoken word, in poetic rhyme and rhythm, in prayerful chant, in blogged poetry that inspires meditative wonder? Consider the part of poetry in alt spiritualities like Wicca. More than a little influence.
I for one find U2 a bit ho hum. All cred to them but they’re not me. Not my genre. Not my joy. Too light and easy. Isn’t Christians trying to incarnate into every musical genre not unlike Christians trying to incarnate into every emphemeral NRM (eg Matrixism) that comes along? I feel we’re just trying too hard. If lyrical depth is more essential than musical genre, missional wise, what’s wrong with going for lyrics pure and simple?
Well, people can do what they like. For those who still want music, fair enough. But I just find comfort amongst those who are over the music thing.
Had an interesting conversation with Glenn Powell the other week. Former lead singer for 90s Christian Band Quick and the Dead, Uniting Church missional leader and founding member of Cafe church. He shared much of my sentiments when I expressed them and noted how music was a rarity at Cafe church, full as it was of musicians. I am far from alone. Silence can be golden too.