Exploring Worship Music with Evan (126)

In this episode John and Gregg are joined by Evan from Virginia, the second person ever to contact the podcast. Evan found the UC podcast through his wife’s concerns about Kyle Idleman’s not a fan.

Having mentioned that he plays in a church worship band Evan joins John and Gregg to share his insights on Church worship music.  Evan notes that not only the order / type of music is strategic but that, in his church, the worship players are very aware of the type of setting that they are wishing to create and take time to re-assess how well they are doing at accomplishing their goals.  They also discuss how they believe that God is at work in the church and through the worship experience and how this seems to be impacting the community.

Gregg wonders about whether Christians are ever “taught” to praise or to worship and questions whether the assumption that such teaching is unneeded is valid.  John then wonders, What would such instruction look like?  Evan notes that the worship team typically sets the scene and that the congregation “follows” the worship team.

Gregg first wonders about the difference between “praise” and “worship.”  Next, he would ask people to consider the difference between their everyday life, their acts of worship / praise, and the meaning and content of the message (the preaching) that they are about to hear.  In other words, Gregg would prompt people to consider how these three things are / should be integrated and how they are / should be kept distinct.

For example, if one has a particular emotional response following the end of the musical set, should that be taken to indicate that the message that is about to be delivered is more important for that particular listener?  Or how exactly should we understand the this relationship?

John sees this as an example of the need / importance to interpret one’s own experiences (and to do so competently).  Gregg agrees: this is both a basic call to self-awareness and a need for Christians to engage in certain practices in order to develop particular skills.

3 thoughts on “Exploring Worship Music with Evan (126)

  1. Mary

    John and Greg
    Thanks for another interesting discussion. I wasn’t sure I would be interested but your podcast got me thinking… Fist I looked up the words praise (respect or gratitude) and worship (reverence and adoration). That made me wonder where is the love relationship in this equation? I appreciated Evan’s insights.Music is very personal to me and I am not sure how other focused I could be in his situation, I liked Greg’s idea of reflection and thought it might be nice if people shared why a song is meaningful. For example, Amy Grant’s song “Better than Hallelujah” might not seem doctrinal if you just look at the lyrics. But when I listen to it I am able to go to the broken place in my heart and cry and be comforted by God. So far no one else has been able to comfort me like he does. I believe music can sometimes transcend our rational mind and help us get to truth on a heart level. So music can play an important role in prayer. For me it helps me get to a more real place in my talks with God. And though I prefer Christian music, there is nothing like a good love song. ( And shouldn’t we also be expressing our love for God and others more?) I am a very boring where music is concerned. I play the same songs over and over endlessly. But certain songs help me focus on God and remind me of the times He spoke to me and helped me or just loved me. And then the praise comes because He is wonderful and loving, not just in general but specifically. Thanks again,

    1. Gregg Monteith Post author

      Hi Mary,

      Thanks for listening: I’m glad that you found this discussion to be interesting. I appreciate your distinctions between praise and worship, and particularly your question about how love fits / does not fit with praise / worship. Your point about music “transcend[ing] our rational mind and help[ing] us to get to truth on a heart level” is both helpful and, in some respects, worrying to me. In other words, while I value how music (like story or film) has a way of promoting a degree of openness that can bypasses my defensiveness, resistance, or ignorance of my emotional situation / needs, I also value assessing whatever state of mind or realizations that may occur (through music, story, film, etc.) with “all of my self”: with the full range of my faculties.

      Perhaps another way to express this is that, in my view, music fosters an awareness of my own multiplicity: it shows me “another me” that may be–alternatively–in need, in pain, enraptured, at peace, etc. So while music (like story or film) may offer an introduction to a necessary frame of mind or an beneficial awareness (or in some limited sense, “another me”), I would nevertheless want my engagement with this frame of mind or awareness or aspect of myself to be as full as possible. So where music puts me in touch with a differently oriented and informed aspect of my own self I would want that relationship to be as full (that is, the as truthful and as loving) as possible. And to do that I would want to engage / connect with myself using the full range of my faculties and senses. Further, depending on the situation and how important I thought was the juxtaposition between where I stood / how I was engaging with the world now versus the orientation of myself following the invitation of music / story / film, I might want to include others in the discussion too. So I might be prompted to include friends or even professionals within this “dialogue” between these various parts of myself, depending on the situation.

      Please know that we have a private, Untangling Christianity Facebook group as well where these conversations are carried on more frequently and with other listeners. Please feel free to join that group by sending a request to:
      feedback@untanglingchristianity.com (John answers these emails).


      1. Mary

        Yes I agree. I also liked how you expressed it as “another me.” I will definitely consider the Facebook group. Thanks again for your insights.


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