David Ker has a great post up entitled Death Metal Psalms. This graph strikes me as excellent:
What we need today is a Death Metal Psalmist. Someone who can take the anguish and goth of the Hebrew Psalms and express it in thudding drums and bass and the howling guitars of Heavy Metal. Hard Rock music is the closest thing to the Psalms in English today. It seethes with anger, violence, and pleading to a God who shrugs at our suffering.
I don’t follow David at all, of course, insofar as he prefers to read the Psalms in a paraphrase rather than a translation. Besides, he really should learn Hebrew. If he doesn’t, how he is going to understand the angels when he gets to heaven?
I don’t know about Heavy Metal music. It’s not my thing. When I take my youth to Youth Convo, and the Christian Heavy Metal bands go at it, I plug my ears. Plus, I try to keep the girls away from the band members. I don’t like the looks of them. Give me Bruce Cockburn any day. Someone who knows how to howl like a banshee, but also cry like a baby. Someone who wears two earrings, not a hundred in every imaginable orifice. Do Heavy Metal bands cry like a baby in their music? I don’t trust musicians who don’t know how to cry, and cry softly.
I like the looks of the church Jim Getz goes to, and the musicians who play there. I try to imagine the music from the pictures. My own congregation’s jazz band is good enough that if I didn’t have to be in church anyway, I would still come.
My wife Paola’s church,
a start-up, has lots of contemporary music. It’s a hands-on family church
(website down at this time – sorry), designed around the needs of young
children, and is transitioning to becoming a “full-service” omni-generational congregation.
I love the way they add new members. Mostly formerly unchurched people, or
people recovering from bad experiences elsewhere, they also steal from the megachurches.
The latter are full of talented people sitting on their hands with nothing to
do. Steal’em, I say. They’ve been needing a drummer. One of the Moms with young
children, a funky ex-hippie not known for inviting anyone to church – Jesus
only got her into church recently – overheard that a work colleague of hers was
a drummer. “By the way,” she said, “I go to a really cool church, and we need a
drummer.” After an animated discussion, the deal is sealed. The young man has
been attending the megachurch everyone is going to – because of the great
music. But he accepts the invitation, and comes with his family the very next
Sunday. He brings his drums along, sets up, and starts to play. He is seamlessly added into the music
ministry of the church. That’s the way to do it.
Here’s a question for David Ker and Peter Kirk, who want Bibles free of language your average 5th grader doesn’t get (there’s a place for Bibles at that reading level, don’t get me wrong. But I don’t want such Bibles read in worship, or used without supplement in an adult Bible study class, or made the basis of an annotated study Bible, not that anyone would). When the great hymn writers of past and present, who translate not one psalm, but a whole cross-section of psalms into the space of a single song, do they field-test their language, and leave out words and expressions 5th graders wouldn’t get?
I don’t think so.