Tuesday, August 12, 2008

"Contemporary" Worship Commentary

I don't like calling "contemporary" worship "contemporary" since I don't think you can get more contemporary than God's gifts of life and forgiveness coming to you, right now, in Word and Sacrament. Moreover, we have contemporary hymns in our new hymnals, hymns written within the last 20 years. They don't sound like the type of thing that should be played with electric guitars and drums (although I suppose one could), so most people today would not call them "contemporary." It seems as if "contemporary worship" today has become a genre all its own, sounding more like soft pop rock. Many of you know that I've "been there...done that." If you don't, ask me my story and I'll tell it to you. Maybe I ought to write a post about it.

Pr. Bill Cwirla of Hacienda Heights, CA wrote one of the best commentaries on "contemporary worship" I have ever read. It's one of those things you read and think to yourself, "Wow...that's exactly what I've been thinking, but was never able to say it or write it as well as that." So thank, Pr. Cwirla. Click here to read it.


Robert Talbert said...

All that, and the fact that "contemporary" worship as most people know it is at least 10 years behind what's currently being made. We had a contemporary praise chorus in our church (yes, it's LCMS... sigh) a few weeks ago and it was like the late-80's soft rock that I unfortunately listened to in high school. How's that "contemporary"?

Great article at Cwirla's, by the way, so thanks for the link.

Kurt Onken said...

And that's exactly why I always call it "temporary" rather than "contemporary." It's got to change at least every 2 years to keep up with the times. And who are you really trying to reach? Certainly not country western fans, rappers, goths, punks, metal fans, jazz lovers, etc. Basically you're only going to appeal to upper middle class, middle aged, white people.