Worship That Drives Belief

Posted on by Jeremy Daggett

Brian McLaren:

Let me make this specific: Too many of our lyrics are embarrassingly personalistic, as if the whole gospel revolved around “Jesus and me.” Personal intimacy with God is a priceless gift indeed, and such a wonderful step above a cold, abstract, wooden recitation of dogma. But it isn’t the whole story. In fact – this might shock some – it isn’t necessarily the main point of the story. A popular worship song I’ve heard in many venues says that worship is “all about You, Jesus.” But apart from that line, it really feels like worship and Christianity in general have become “all about me, me, me,” or maybe “us, us, us” (where us = privileged spiritual consumers in the Western religious industrial complex).

His point is that the gospel is about more than just my personal relationship with God, and the songs we sing should reflect that—even drive us toward that belief.

He makes a number of good suggestions to both diversify the theme of worship and make it more intelligible. Here's one of my favorites:

Second, may I suggest that we be careful about using gratuitous Biblical language – Zion, Israel, go forth, on high, etc., etc.? If there is a good reason to use such language – in other words, if we are using it intentionally, not just for a “spiritual feel,” then fine. Otherwise, if we can find contemporary language and imagery that would communicate more crisply, poignantly, immediately, and deeply to people who don’t already have a lot of pew time … then let’s use it, in the spirit of I Corinthians 14, where intelligibility to the spiritual seeker is a gospel virtue.

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