a snapshot of modern worship

in rob stennett’s fictional “the almost true story of ryan fisher“, he has a hilarious and uncomfortably accurate portrayal of modern worship. katherine, the wife of a semi-athiest (ryan fisher) who has started an extremely successful church plant to make him rich and important, is coaching the worship band (lead by a karaoke singing cowboy who is also not a christian, and, until this point, has been leading pop-culture songs with a few words changed). none of them are aware that there’s a large collection of modern worship songs, until the church starts to grow, and transfer growth brings people who point this out. fantastic paragraph:

and katherine was making the band better. after talking with a couple of members from the church she learned there were worship leaders that wrote songs specifically for god and church. a lot of the music had a british pop feel as if they were watered down, simple versions of u2 or coldplay. and almost all of the songs were essentially about three things. the first: how great-awesome-incredible-powerful-majestic jesus/god is/was/and forever will be. the second: how much we love-thank-adore-worship-bow down to jesus/god. the third: how happy-touched-amazed and pumped up we were that jesus/god saved us. that was pretty much it. there were thousands of these types of songs, yet so many of the lyrics were nearly identical. it was almost as if a songwriter could take one song, change five or six words, and then have an all-new song.

7 thoughts on “a snapshot of modern worship”

  1. This reminds me of a mockumentary movie I saw in Arizona called Never Been Thawed about a group of frozen dinner collectors. One of the subplots was that a former rock band decided to become a Christian rock band and instead of writing new songs just substituted Jesus and other Christian things for the curse words. Sadly it worked.

    WARNING – The movie may be offensive to your sensibilities. Click with caution.

  2. thus illustrating why i despise a lot of the music i’m stuck playing on sunday mornings, and further illustrating why i love such artists as dan radmacher and recent offerings from hillsong united…for stretching the shallow boundaries of the lyrical content found in much of the modern worship choruses and actually writing good music.

  3. my senior pastor once made us read a quirky little book called “now let us enter into a time of nonsense” or something similar by nick page.

    reminds me of that = but sounds funnier. oh the joys of church music.

  4. Rob sent me a message telling me that you reviewed his book.

    I had a strong reaction to the last chapter because it reminded me of growing up in the middle of the P.T.L. drama. I’ll never forget playing super mario bros in my room and a reporter stuck his camera through the window and snapped a shot of me.

    One thing the book left me with was a sense that it is very possible to have short term success based on personal talents, leadership, and charisma. I didn’t say health, but it can get big, help some people, but Rob is right in hinting at the dangers of it.

    sorry, one last thing – did you see any similarities between Ryan Fisher and Biff in the Christopher Moore classic?


  5. mike — this wasn’t the review; that will still be coming! this was just a paragraph i really liked!

    i hadn’t thought of the similarities with biff; but, yes, totally!

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