I Don’t Sing

Really?
Really?

Today was one of those days when writing didn’t come easy for me. As I was beginning to despair of ever finding a subject, I read a blog post on A Few Grown Men by David Murrow, titled Why Men Have Stopped Singing in Church that brought into focus something that’s been eating at me for quite a while: singing in worship. As in, I don’t do it (okay, I do, but I don’t like it). According to Murrow, it’s not just me, it’s men in general. He said we don’t sing because the songs change so often that we don’t know them and that we don’t have to because “the church has returned to the 14th century. Worshippers stand mute as professional-caliber musicians play complex instruments, sung in an obscure language.” That’s not the case for me, however. I don’t sing because the songs don’t move me anymore.

To be honest, the idea of worship as a whole is a problem for me. Most of the time, I find it incredibly boring. When I don’t, like in a Pentecostal service, it makes me wonder what kind of God I’m involved with.  First, let me show you some lyrics that illustrate what I’m talking about:

Majesty

Majesty, worship His Majesty
Unto Jesus, be all glory,
Power and praise
Majesty, Kingdom authority
Flow from His throne,
Unto his own, His anthem raise.

What A Mighty God We Serve

What a mighty God we serve

What a mighty God we serve

Angels bow before Him

Heaven and earth adore Him

What a mighty God we serve

Of course, those were more contemporary praise songs, but the old hymns aren’t any better:

Fairest Lord Jesus

Fairest Lord Jesus, Ruler of all nature,
O Thou of God and man the Son,
Thee will I cherish, Thee will I honor,
Thou, my soul’s glory, joy and crown

These songs aren’t even directed my way and they embarrass me. I firmly believe that God isn’t a jerk and an entity that would require (or even enjoy) such praise couldn’t be anything but a jerk. Scratch that, not a jerk, but a colossal ass.  And, that’s not even talking about the ones with questionable theology, like Onward, Christian Soldiers.

There are praise and worship songs I don’t mind, but they seem to be few and far between; songs I actually like are even more rare. Murrow’s contention that men don’t sing because they don’t have to may be true at the surface level, but I think it goes deeper than that. Worship in general hasn’t really changed since the Reformation and the advent of the printed word. The songs carry the same message (God is great and I am shit), the order is unchanged (church-approved people leading church-approved songs) and it doesn’t address the issues that we’re dealing with (like doubt, suffering, etc.). How am I supposed to connect when you don’t give you anything to connect with?

People are walking away from church in droves these days, prompting churches to find ways to entice them back. So far, the majority have relied on ad campaigns, marketing ploys and techie, glitzy revisions of their services. The fact that the exodus continues shows they don’t understand where the problem lies; it’s in the message. Even churches that understand this and have changed what is said from the pulpit and in Sunday School don’t seem to get that worship is just as much a part of that message as the sermon. I still go to church because I get things I need there. But, at best, I merely tolerate the worship aspect of the service. It would be nice to actually enjoy it for a change.