a philosophy of Worship

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Re: a philosophy of Worship

Postby bn2bnude » Fri Dec 01, 2017 9:29 am

If you can't tell from the number of replies I've made previously on this thread, this is a touchy subject with me.

In marriage, the Gary Chapman book "The Five Love Languages" explains how not everyone expresses love in the same way.

In the Church, Rick Warren explains in his book "The Purpose Driven Life" that people worship differently. In the case of worship, some people connect to God through Scripture, some through the Message, some through Hymns, etc.

For someone to question how you (you in the royal sense - You all, y'all, all y'all) or I connect with God is ignoring the individually that God put into each of us.

As Baalam pointed out, there are many styles of worship out there. Because they don't touch your spirit or are not what you are used to doesn't mean that style should be dismissed. Maybe instead of avoiding that style, you should jump in with both feet and learn to appreciate it instead.
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Re: a philosophy of Worship

Postby Maverick » Fri Dec 01, 2017 7:54 pm

balaam wrote:Vain repetition? Repetition is not necessarily vain.

The musical worship worship at the Taizé community consists of chants which are far more repetitive than any praise band.
After 6 or 7 repetitions it gets boring, but it continues...
After 14 repetitions the mind switches off, we start to be distracted...
After 20 repetitions the mind is still bypassed, but the heart starts to worship free of the mind...
A few repetitions later the mind kicks back in. Worship is in heart and mind, and God is glorified.

Vain repetition? Repetition is not necessarily vain.

Repetitive chanting, often of scripture, has been part of christian worship, particularly monastic worship, for centuries for good reason. And continues for good reason despite modern innovations like organs.

Vain repetition? Repetition is not necessarily vain.


It boils down to what is being repeated. I don't think there's anything vain about repeating Jesus' name, for example. On the contrary, I do think there are vain sayings being repeated these days, some in worship environments. So I will agree that repetition is not necessarily vain, but that it can be.
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Re: a philosophy of Worship

Postby Petros » Sun Dec 03, 2017 8:13 am

bn2benude -

I am far from unaware of the individual factor. There are noisy and there are quiet worships I will avoid like the plague because there is a stench, others quiet and loud I recognize as having truth. But jumping in? I don't even jump in if I love it.

At the same time, as the Spirit moves - I may be brought to jump in like Saul among the prophets.
The truth, the stark naked truth, the truth without so much as a loincloth on, should surely be the investigator's sole aim - Basil Chamberlain
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Re: a philosophy of Worship

Postby prairieboy » Mon Dec 04, 2017 11:03 pm

A lot of good points made here.
Personally, I like songs that are addressed TO God better than singing songs ABOUT God. The perfect worship service would have most of the attendees, and even some of the worship team, drifting in and out, spending some, or even all, of the time in personal communion with God.
I believe that the reason many people are unhappy with the worship is that they do no personal preparation beforehand, and then expect the team to drag them into the throne room. Probably not going to happen.
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Re: a philosophy of Worship

Postby c.o. » Tue Dec 05, 2017 7:28 am

:like: :like:

Except that i see nothing wrong (or less suitable) if songs are about the God of Truth, being that much / most of Scripture (His word to His people) is about, rather than to, God. Few things better prepare a heart for worship than taking Truth into the heart.
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Re: a philosophy of Worship

Postby nakedpreacher » Tue Dec 05, 2017 11:05 pm

Thank you all for your Thought provoking responses. I don't want to sound like I am trying to force my point of view on anyone else, not only would that be counter productive, it might ruin relationships because it is a subject that is very personal and very close to our hearts. Balaam, I agree that not all repetition is vain, but as Maverick said, it can be. I think we need to be careful when a phrase is repeated excessively, however where that line is may well depend on the person. Earlier I referenced what I believed to be Vain repetition, the chief reason was that that which was repeated was utterly devoid of any meaning which would be reinforced by that amount of repetition. While repetition may be meditative it can also be somewhat hypnotic. Growing up in the campmeeting tradition I often saw this (especially at Youth camps). I think we should be careful of anything which conjures emotion. The moving of the Holy Spirit is indeed an emotional experience, but I have seen manipulation of emotion passed off as the true work of the Holy Spirit. I am not against emotion (I have often cried openly when leading music, and while preaching) but rather the manipulation of that emotion. bn2bnude You make a very good point, that worship is not what happens on the platform, but rather in the heart of the congregants, It can not be done for us by the worship team but only by ourselves, if we have not participated in worship, then the music was a waste of time (participation may or may not include our singing along with every song, it may be reflection on what is being sung).
If I may share a pet peeve, I think both songs to and about God can be equally worship, songs which drive me nuts are songs about me and how I must respond, not saying they are wrong, but I just personally don't find them uplifting.
I also want to encourage you all to continue the respectful tone that has prevailed in a subject so fraught with danger. Once again style is not the issue, but what is proper regardless of style. Style varies with preference and is a subject which has the potential to hurt, but there are principles which have nothing to do with style and that should continue as the topic of discussion
Thank you all for your help
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If, when we judged others, our real motive was to destroy evil; we should look for evil where it is certain to be found, and that is in our own hearts. Dietrich Bonhoeffer, The Cost of Discipleship
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Re: a philosophy of Worship

Postby jochanaan » Sat Dec 16, 2017 3:20 pm

balaam, I have played for Taize-style worship services. I appreciate their calmness and simplicity that draws people in, while allowing for variation in playing.

In music, as one of my college professors taught, there are three life principles: Repetition, variation, and contrast. Simply, once you have played a musical idea, you can:
Play it again (repetition),
Play it again but change it up (variation), or
Play something else (contrast).
All musical performance has a certain balance of these three elements. Too much repetition and you either get bored or go into deep meditation; too much contrast and you can't follow what's happening. (Yet Philip Glass and the other minimalist composers have developed a mastery of seemingly innumerable repetitions with minimal variation leading to a gradual musical transformation that becomes hypnotic and meditative rather than irritating.) In my own musical work, I am fascinated by variation; how many ways can I play this basic phrase to add interest while keeping it recognizable?

In worship music, variation can save a piece from becoming boring and counterproductive. Black musicians seem very good at this: they will add grace notes, change up words and in general build up intensity so that instead of being bored we are transported. And the great classical composers were almost without exception masters of variation; when a musical theme returns it never sounds quite the same. We could learn a lot simply by studying how great musicians do what they do.
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Re: a philosophy of Worship

Postby bn2bnude » Sun Dec 17, 2017 10:40 am

jochanaan wrote:In worship music, variation can save a piece from becoming boring and counterproductive. Black musicians seem very good at this: they will add grace notes, change up words and in general build up intensity so that instead of being bored we are transported. And the great classical composers were almost without exception masters of variation; when a musical theme returns it never sounds quite the same. We could learn a lot simply by studying how great musicians do what they do.

In my experience, the standard thing to do in the Organ/piano Hymn crowd is go up one key (I don't ever remember hearing anyone go down a key).
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If I speak with the tongues of men and angels but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. (1 Cor 13:1)
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Re: a philosophy of Worship

Postby New_Adventurer » Mon Dec 18, 2017 2:29 pm

Repetition verses variation is very well demonstrated in Beethoven's Fifth Symphony, first movement; the theme, dit dit dit dah, is never repeated the same way. It goes up and down, has different speeds, has various scales, but it is never. Someone told me they thought classical music was boring. I told them that rock music was even more boring; the same thump, thump, thump, thump, thump from start to end. I challenged them to actually listen to a piece and point out the repeating notes. They failed and conceded my point. Mozart demonstrated this even better with his "Variations on a Nursery Rhyme" AKA Twinkle Twinkle Little Star, see https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ezvj-De6bxY.
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Re: a philosophy of Worship

Postby balaam » Mon Dec 18, 2017 4:06 pm

New_Adventurer wrote:Repetition verses variation is very well demonstrated in Beethoven's Fifth Symphony, first movement; the theme, dit dit dit dah, is never repeated the same way. It goes up and down, has different speeds, has various scales, but it is never. Someone told me they thought classical music was boring. I told them that rock music was even more boring; the same thump, thump, thump, thump, thump from start to end. I challenged them to actually listen to a piece and point out the repeating notes. They failed and conceded my point. Mozart demonstrated this even better with his "Variations on a Nursery Rhyme" AKA Twinkle Twinkle Little Star, see https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ezvj-De6bxY.
But when we are talking about worship some repetition is a good thing, Hymns with a chorus, such as 'Onward Christian Soldiers' are a testament to that. Songs with little variation may be a more intellectual listen, but are difficult to learn and make poor worship songs. J S Bach wrote hymn tunes with only 4 lines, with a simple harmonisation. Bach knew what he was doing. Writing a hymn tune is a different skill to writing a Brandenburg Concerto. Bach wrote them too.
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Re: a philosophy of Worship

Postby Maverick » Tue Dec 19, 2017 11:58 am

balaam wrote:But when we are talking about worship some repetition is a good thing, Hymns with a chorus, such as 'Onward Christian Soldiers' are a testament to that. Songs with little variation may be a more intellectual listen, but are difficult to learn and make poor worship songs. J S Bach wrote hymn tunes with only 4 lines, with a simple harmonisation. Bach knew what he was doing. Writing a hymn tune is a different skill to writing a Brandenburg Concerto. Bach wrote them too.


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Re: a philosophy of Worship

Postby jochanaan » Fri Dec 29, 2017 11:42 pm

bn2bnude wrote:
jochanaan wrote:In worship music, variation can save a piece from becoming boring and counterproductive. Black musicians seem very good at this: they will add grace notes, change up words and in general build up intensity so that instead of being bored we are transported. And the great classical composers were almost without exception masters of variation; when a musical theme returns it never sounds quite the same. We could learn a lot simply by studying how great musicians do what they do.

In my experience, the standard thing to do in the Organ/piano Hymn crowd is go up one key (I don't ever remember hearing anyone go down a key).
That device is so overused it's practically useless. :roll:
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Re: a philosophy of Worship

Postby Maverick » Wed Jan 03, 2018 9:04 pm

jochanaan wrote:
bn2bnude wrote:
jochanaan wrote:In worship music, variation can save a piece from becoming boring and counterproductive. Black musicians seem very good at this: they will add grace notes, change up words and in general build up intensity so that instead of being bored we are transported. And the great classical composers were almost without exception masters of variation; when a musical theme returns it never sounds quite the same. We could learn a lot simply by studying how great musicians do what they do.

In my experience, the standard thing to do in the Organ/piano Hymn crowd is go up one key (I don't ever remember hearing anyone go down a key).
That device is so overused it's practically useless. :roll:


You could always drop it down a 5th, which can sound pretty cool if done right! Deep Purple did that on "Perfect Strangers", from A Lydian to E Lydian, I believe. :mrgreen:
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Re: a philosophy of Worship

Postby naturaldon » Thu Jan 04, 2018 12:45 am

Just keep going in a circle of 5th's until you get back to the beginning. 8)
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Re: a philosophy of Worship

Postby jochanaan » Fri Jan 05, 2018 8:06 pm

naturaldon wrote:Just keep going in a circle of 5th's until you get back to the beginning. 8)
I wouldn't want to confuse the poor worshippers! :mrgreen:
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