I loathe country music. No, wait, that’s not strong enough. I loathe that detestable sounding genre of twangified non-sense that is filled with beer-drinkin’ truck-drivin’ rednecks bellowing on and on about their lost puppy dog or how nice a beer and a lady is in a pick-up truck down an old gravel road.
Other people—and I’m told they are real actual breathing people with valid opinions—actually enjoy this horrid sound. And I’m even told…shudder…that followers of Jesus like this type of music. And these same people would write terrible things (untrue, of course) about my musical tastes.
I also know that for some people their hatred of contemporary praise and worship choruses rivals that of my hatred for this thing called country music. To them every beat of a drum is a symbol of Satanic victory. Every praise chorus that goes on and on an on about Jesus’ love for them is a testimony to our love-affair with western individualism. (And they might have some good points here and there).
I’m also told that there are people that abhor hymns as much as I abhor a man with a cowboy hat piecing together drunken sentences and calling it a song. To them a hymn is an invitation to day dream about a famous Christmas story just as the worship leader mentions something about raising an ebenezer. The language is so outdated and irrelevant. If you want to win people to Christ you won’t do it by playing some slow and boring music. (And there might be some good points here and there).
And yet at the same time there are people that love contemporary praise and worship choruses and are still smitten by the hymns of yesteryear. I find myself in this group. I like both so long as they aren’t hokey, they are doctrinally sound, and they don’t start sounding like country music.
So I find myself today thinking about all the different tastes in music and all the fights that it has caused through the years. I wonder to myself whether or not it would have been easier if the Lord had just equipped us all with the same excellent taste in music. I’m confident that if He did, nobody would have ever picked up a steel guitar. We’d all love the same music with the same passion. When the worship leader began singing, “Ama-zing Grace, how sweet the sound…” everybody would be excited. In the same way when the drums started pounding and we sang in unison, “Your name is a strong and mighty tower…” we’d all be engaged and loving every moment of it.
So, why did the Lord see fit to give us all different musical tastes. He could have easily given us a palate that loved everything and hated nothing. So why do we have different musical tastes?
Simple. He has an aim for us that transcends musical genres. That aim is cruciform love.
Sunday morning gives us a great opportunity to obey this verse:
Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others. (Philippians 2:3-4 ESV)
I find it hard to imagine being able to look for the interests of others in the muck and mire outside the walls of the church if I’m not able to do it on Sunday morning. Listen, I am all for making sure that the music we sing is biblical. Likewise we ought to be cautious about what genres we adapt for the sake of worship (i.e., death metal might be tough to incorporate into corporate worship). But let’s not pretend that one particular musical genre or one particular historical period is more godly than another. It’s a matter of taste. And in that we’d do well to put the interests of others above our own.
May we let our time of corporate worship be a time that exudes a love and service to one another.