Friday, September 27, 2013

Musical Side Note.....

Yes, to answer some questions that have come my way since I wrote about O'Sullivan vs Green, I am well aware that many of Keith's Green's songs contain less than perfectly pure theological lyrics.  I am well aware that there is a lack of meditational type depth and that some of his songs are now considered to be just plain silly.  I don't disagree with any of those questions or comments.  He wrote those songs during the final demise of the "hippie" movement, a time of emotional, ideological and theological naivety, a far cry from the "sophisticated" theological mentality we Christians see ourselves as now being responsible for promoting.  I was involved in that movement and still remember that pure joy in the Lord was as necessary to people like me as good theology was and is now. Also, remember his songs were written for the young people of the time so of course we can see more of the youthful "silliness" than we could then.

 Remember too that, unlike may of the wandering and unmelodic Vineyard songs, Green's songs were not written for the purpose of being used for congregational singing.  (and in my opinion a lot of those Vineyard choruses shouldn't have been written or used for that purpose either)  His songs were written to be performed, usually by himself, to be uplifting emotionally, to be entertaining etc.  It isn't wrong to write songs about our own personal experiences and sing them for the purpose of edifying or strictly entertaining others.  There are times when theological correctness can go by the boards for a few minutes in order for people who are struggling through trials to reconnect with God on a strictly emotional level.  I don't recommend that such songs be sung by church congregations...mind you I don't recommend the old hymn Gentle Jesus Meek and Mild either as I believe he was neither a lot of the time according to what I read in The Bible.....but occasionally we can be both entertained and uplifted by someone's personal experience with God as expressed through music.  Those experiences are not always framed in proper theology and sometimes that is okay.  

As our interpretations of theology change over the decades who knows when a once wonderfully "correct" hymn or song will be set aside due to new and enlightened interpretations of theology and changes in culture, or some other song previously discarded due to apparently imperfect theology of lyric will be resurrected and its lyricist applauded for being ahead of her or his time.

While I don't appreciate emotionally manipulative spiritual songs, there are times when they are exactly what I need in order to be reminded that in the midst of our perfect or imperfect theology, one of the bottom lines of Christianity is still as simple as "Jesus loves me, this I know." And that's okay.

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