Topic of discussion this evening: worship, in the musical sense. Contrasting worship of the happy-clappy variety versus the contemplative type. The thing is, sometimes I like the happy-clappy worship experience. Not that I’m a happy-clappy kind of guy at all, but that celebratory worship is sometimes inspiring. Maybe it’s just that I’m from the age of stadium rock.

I hear that the “in” thing now is house concerts… a polar extreme from the stadium rock era? On the other hand, I’ve long enjoyed well-written contemplative music like that of Michael Card, John Michael Talbot, and Don Francisco for some time. (If you didn’t catch it, that’d be your leading Evangelical, Catholic, and Charismatic balladeers. Or maybe it’s mainstream, mystic, and hippie; whatever.) Alright, I confess, while digging up the Don Francisco link I got waylaid with a nostalgia sidetrack.

So, I’ve enjoyed contemplative music for some time, and in a worship context I’ve come to prefer it in most situations. But here’s the thing… I can still find God in happy-clappy-charismanialand, but back when I was steeped in it, I’m not certain I could find him in the contemplative styles quite as easily. This brought up in conversation the notion of the “narrow” worship experience as opposed to the (small-c) catholic experience. The challenge is to tune into God in such a way that the style is not so relevant as is simply God’s presence, which should be locate-able in more catholic expressions of worship.

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