View Full Version : Extreme Genres and Secular Music
08-12-2010, 09:56 PM
I was just thinking about this the other day...what is your opinion on using "extreme" genres such as gangster rap or thrash metal in Christian song writing? On one hand, ANYTHING can be used for the glory of God but on the other, the ORIGIN of these genres probably did not come from a Godly place.
Also, what do you think about changing the lyrics of secular songs so that they are Christian/worship songs? I can think of a few examples in our local area. I also recently saw a worship service at a popular youth conference on YouTube that used a secular song in worship, words changed.
08-13-2010, 12:33 AM
Extreme is subjective.
If you grew up in an environment where rap was the norm, it wouldn't be all that extreme. Same for metal or anything. In fact, most people these days think Choir music or big band is pretty extreme.
That being said, I think ANY genre of music can be used to connect with people. But it needs to be something they relate to. There's nothing more unrelatable than people who have no expertise (skills) trying to be cool with genres of music they have no business attempting.
With that said, THAT is also subjective. Someone might listen to MY rap stuff and think it's corny. But I still love it! Where I'm at now probably wouldn't connect with it all on a Sunday morning, but where I was from 06-09 sure did, so we used it regularly!
I'm not a big fan of changing lyrics to ANYTHING personally. Sacred or secular. As our good friend Nick Alexander has said so eloquently here on the forums before, why change the lyrics when you can just find another song (that might even be better).
I say dig deeper. Find a better song.
If you need to do a secular song for a theme or something to go with a message, then cut out the verse that needs to be changed, or just do it instrumentally.
If you're talking about totally changing up a song for parody, that's a different story. Again, Nick Alexander has some great insight on that topic.
08-13-2010, 07:41 AM
Right on Russ! I agree with almost every sing thing Russ said.
One other note about changing lyrics to a secular song... i agree with the alternative approach of finding a different song. I also think you verge on the fringe of copyright infringement if you change lyrics to a different artists song, especially if you record your service and then distribute it on CD's, etc...
08-13-2010, 04:49 PM
Music in worship should be contextual-but also stretching.
I think there are some specific communities where such music might be appropriate. I have heard of hardcore churches...and there was a gigantic use of club music in Europe for worship in the late 80's to the mid 90's. But it is contextual...folks will express themselves in the manner they find most comfortable.
That said, we shouldn't allow style to drastically define ourselves, but when the music stylistically doesn't connect...I would question the motivation. There is also the entertainment issue...I would certainly enjoy playing things that could be argued as appropriate, but has I have grown I have understood that if I think I might need to defend it I probably shouldn't do it.
I lead at a congregation now that was demographically marked as a traditional or country gospel (we are in urban Eastern Kentucky in a pretty poor area). The church tried modern contemporary for a few years, but folks consistently complained they didn't understand what was going on. It was rethought a couple of years ago and the songs are now lead from the perspective of the community and are seeing people respond to singing (and overall participation in the service) more. We call it "contextual high church" now, still singing some new songs-but stylistically rethought from their perspective.
08-13-2010, 05:08 PM
i spent a lot of time in the prophetic hardcore scene, and i can say that it is used greatly to ushers Gods power and redeeming love into some rough kids. bands like sleeping giant, in irons, for today, means, and many others have greatly changed what "worship" is to a underground generation and its phenominal.
as far as starting from a Godly place, actually when you study the seven hebrew words for praise you will find that on more than one ocassion the word we translate as "praise" meant to shout out loud, to scream, to make a clamorous noise. remember, it all originated (all music) with God, its just what he created has been perverted.
08-13-2010, 06:19 PM
a bodybuilder can't grow, lifting just 2 pounds! exercise your people, go for the extreme til its not extreme!
As far as ungodly origins and secular music, remember that hymns were originally bar songs that got changed so the masses knew the tune and were more likely to sing along.
08-21-2010, 01:46 PM
Thought provoking posts! I appreciate your insight. I personally am not a fan of using secular music around the church (lyrics changed or not!) I think even though most music comes from the soul, from emotion, from a place deep within the song writer, the writer's intention for the listener is not always for a Godly purpose. Most definitely, He created music, but then (as Johnathon stated) we have perverted it.
Our Sunday leaders did U2's "Magnificent" a few months ago, and although I'm a born and bred U2 fan, it did not sit well with me. It can be considered a praise song but U2, although professed Christians (as far as I know anyway)...I don't know, now that I'm writing this I'm finding I have no legitimate reason to be against using their music, except for the fact that they are "secular".
Anyone ever heard of U2charist? Using U2 music in the service in lieu of traditional hymns or P&W. I don't think I'll EVER want our church to do that. :p
08-21-2010, 03:48 PM
Speaking from personal experience, I have written multiple sets of lyrics to my own songs, one for worship and another for another genre (in this case protest songs). I guess it would become relevant if the songs became well known, otherwise I suppose it doesn't matter much. As for changing lyrics to other artists I would not do that unless it was billed as parody. For worship purposes I would find another song or omit the offending part of the song.
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08-21-2010, 04:58 PM
I keeping with what russhutto said we don't want to be or appear trying to be cool by doing songs that are the rage in the secular world. That would embarrass the congregation. Doing our own style and doing new things that are not worldly is what I strive for. I don't listen to much secular music to avoid it creeping into my playing and singing style. Christian genres are awesome.
08-22-2010, 02:04 PM
Good question. When I look at the music that were are going to do at church whether for a church service or special event, I go through a bit of a mental checklist.
1. I review our mission statement for music at the church. Music should be to worship and praise God, not to be entertainment (1 Chronicles 16:4-6).
2. All music must be consistent with scripture and doctrinally sound (Colossians 3:16).
3. All music must be appropriate for the occasion, congregation (or audience) and inspirational (Ephesians 4:29).
4. Do we have the musicians available to play the selected genre or style.
The small church I am at has members with a large variety of musical taste. So, flexiability is important for all of us. By following the four above steps we do a good job.
08-25-2010, 06:26 PM
Being the musicians for a congregation comes with the responsibility of considering what is best for the entire local body.
We should do what is appropriate for the place in which we find ourselves serving. Style is only one issue to factor in.
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