Brian McLaren‘s An Open Letter to Worship Songwriters (not a new read to some, but a recent one to me) strikes a chord. I’ve always been close to worshippers and worship leaders; though I personally couldn’t carry a tune in a bucket, I do have some strong thoughts on worship (by which I mean the music and singing parts – that’s not the sum of worship, so it helps to clarify when using a general word to refer to a specific subset). Not all of course, but some of this is stuff I’ve said to worship leaders before plus some very similar similar sentiments… but the best bit is when McLaren explains why:
In the modern world, theology was done by scholars, and was expressed in books and lectures. In the postmodern world, many of us believe that the theologians will have to leave the library more often and mix with the rest of us. And the best of them will join hands and hearts with the poets, musicians, filmmakers, actors, architects, interior and landscape designers, dancers, sculptors, painters, novelists, photographers, web designers, and every other artistic brother and sister possible … not only to communicate a postmodern, Christian theology … but also to discern it, discover it. Because one major shift of this transition is the shift from left-brain to whole-brain, from reductionistic, analytic rationalism to a broader theological holism – a theology that works in mind and heart, understanding and imagination, proposition and image, clarity and mystery, explanation and narrative, exposition and artistic expression.
Now this is intriguing… a major shift coming in Christian theology, for everyone. (And there is that “crest of the wave” feeling in the air, isn’t there?) Here we thought Luther helped bring theology – and the Bible itself – to the masses, but seems there’s more to do yet. Makes sense, Jesus came to the people, not (just) to the Pharisees. So the masses are about to have an even closer brush with God… or perhaps more accurately, theology is about to have a close brush with real people. Good theology should survive it. Remember, “The best theology is not found in books, it’s in boots.”