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"contemporary Service"

The Sage Nabooru

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I may have made a topic about this before, but the "stuff you hate about church" topic resurrected my feelings about it full-force. At my old childhood Lutheran church, run by a desperate Billy-Graham wannabe, the earliest services on Sunday, like the seven- and eight-AM ones, were the "traditional" ones for real believers. The hymnals, the organ, the glorifications and so forth. However, if you proved yourself a sinner (or at the very least not enthusiastic enough) by failing to get out of bed for an early Sunday morning service, you would be treated to God's divine punishment: the "Contemporary Service".


This was no mere guilt-tripping session. No, it was far more insidious and spiteful, advertising itself as "modern, kid-friendly worship". There were no hymns, no ancient call-and-answer singing verses. This particular brand of hell in the real world featured two thirtysomething dudes perpetually wearing early-90's fashions (that is to say, black or beige khakis with just-a-little-bit-too-stereotypically-gay brightly colored button-down tailored shirts in shades like fuchsia and aquamarine, with blond half-mullets). Every few minutes they'd sing a deeply, um, "honest" song about their love for Jesus, with a lot of descriptive feeling that gave you the impression that they were only in this business to suppress their natural homosexual tendencies.


Because rock is the music of Satan, they harped a decidedly watered-down, bland type of music that is best described as "totally and overwhelmingly boring elevator". The one in front had a keyboard in front of him to play his highly synthesized accompaniment (or, if he was a totally awesome dude on the cutting edge, one that actually hung like a guitar in front of him. Way to keep up with the times, evangelicals! Right about now you should be getting around to making Pogs with Biblical characters printed on them). He had a buddy who sat in back and played one of those fake drum kits. Whatever metal parts were on these "instruments" were polished within an inch of their lives. On those days when the old gods were particularly annoyed with our Christian blood-drinking they would send along to these soul-saving Erinyes a saxophone player to punish us further.


Often the older pastor would abandon the church altogether by this point in the late morning, leaving the young, "hip" pastor there to oversee the festivities. This pastor would congratulate himself on finding such a right-on and righteous singing group to make his church seem awesomely radical to the teenagers, and perhaps even attend in a fandango-colored shirt himself. And if you thought the old guy could ramble on and on, the young pastor, in his determination to become the Lutheran Joel Osteen, would make sermons an hour long. No kidding. He'd insert little jokes and words like "y'know", "awesome", and "like" throughout, mimicking the casual conversational tones of the youth of 1992. (You will notice the number of times "awesome" appears in this post. That's because these contemporary worship services are all about AWESOME.)


These straggler church services would last twice as long as the normal ones, due to the young pastor's endless droning on and the frequent interjections of "soft Christian pop" by the Reformed Gay Duo, caused, no doubt, by the church's desire to punish us for sleeping in late and yet not wanting to appear exactly harsh. I saw right through it. "Comtemporary worship service" for all its claimed "modern" appeal, is one of the biggest burdens I can consider myself relieved of having left the church.

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Guest Vineyard

Feel better? :grin: It actually isn't quite clear what you are upset about, but perhaps the goal was to communicate that you are upset rather than communicate about that which is upsetting you?


I think the best kind of music to have in a service is whatever a person is comfortable with. Some loves hymns and some love "choruses." It's nice if a church can offer more than one, but that doesn't make it an ideal situation. The Scriptures don't require one kind versus another.


If we talk about "contemporary," we are just speaking of music in a genre compatible with contemporary styles. Some are far more alternative than you may realize. Martin Luther took beerhall music and added Christian lyrics. The first church did songs in their contemporary style.


There is nothing wrong with contemporary.

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Great post Sage!


"Lutheran Joel Osteen" and the "Reformed Gay Duo"....sounds like an evangelical road tour.


Nothing worse than a traditional church trying to do contemporary. Kind of like fingernails on a chalk board.

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If I could have found the energy I am sure I would have gone to the early service. It sounds lovely with the traditional music and organ. I can see why you hated the "contemporary" service. Too much pretending. UGH!


If it weren't for the meaning behind the words of the service, I might still go to church simply for the music. I love church music. But committing myself heart and soul--singing my heart out--in words and concepts I disbelieve in--it's too much like being a total hypocrite.

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