Many people choose their church, not based on doctrine, minister, nor location. They choose, based on the church’s style — especially its music style.
That’s not a superficial reason. A church’s style conveys a wealth of subtle information about its members, their sense of God and their understanding of life’s meaning.
It’s also true we’re quick to dismiss another church’s worship style. We’ve all heard (or even used) some pejorative terms about others’ worship: “dumbed-down,” “elitist,” “chatty,” “cold,” “a cell meeting,” and even, “a sixty minute Hallmark card.”
This week, as we conclude our sermon series on music and faith, “The Fifth Gospel,” we’ll think music style. Is one style of music especially suited for Christian faith, with more capacity to express the drama and complexity of the Gospel? Can one style of music engender faith, while another style stifles faith? Or, as the scholar of religious aesthetics, Frank Burch Brown, bluntly asks, “Is Bad Taste a Sin?”
I’ll steal a cartoon from Dr. Brown’s book, Religious Aesthetics, to close this note (and soften the conflicts around church music).