Guest / Limited Access /
Reviews

/

A Variety of Religious Composition
Image: Gregschneider.com

In the March issue of Christianity Today, we devoted a number of articles to worship music. The passionate and diverse response of readers was not unexpected! We promised more reflection on this theme, and on worship in general. In this issue, we offer two more pieces. The second piece (which will be posted on Friday), written by a professor well grounded in ancient church history, asks fundamental questions about the nature of some forms of contemporary worship. The first piece, written by a contemporary composer, discusses the strengths and limitations of what we today call contemporary worship music.— The Editors

Before earning a doctorate in music composition and becoming a university music professor, I spent many years playing keyboards and singing in CCM and praise and worship bands, and before that, in nightclub and party bands. I worked as a paid minister of music in two churches in greater Los Angeles, and I also composed a number of published songs, one of which was included on a Billboard No. 1 album and Record of the Year. I mention all this to show that I have some working knowledge of contemporary music. I'm an insider who appreciates the genre, while not unaware of its limitations.

To understand what contemporary Christian music is, we need to look at just the music—not the lyrics—through a microscope. Although most people call it CCM or "worship music" or just "worship," it is first and foremost a subgenre of the American popular music that emerged in the mid-1960s and has been pervasive in society ever since. (For the sake of clarity, most musicians don't refer to blues, ragtime, jazz, pure country, swing, gospel, and other earlier popular styles as "pop," ...

Subscriber access only You have reached the end of this Article Preview

To continue reading, subscribe now. Subscribers have full digital access.

Support Christian thought journalism. Donate to our nonprofit ministry today.
From Issue:
Read These NextSee Our Latest
Also in this IssueWho Gets Left Behind?
Subscriber Access Only Who Gets Left Behind?
How end times theories shape the ways we view our earthly abode.
RecommendedThe Secret Religion of the Slaves
The Secret Religion of the Slaves
They often risked floggings to worship God.
TrendingRussia’s Plan to Ban Jehovah’s Witnesses Puts Evangelicals in a Tight Spot
Russia’s Plan to Ban Jehovah’s Witnesses Puts Evangelicals in a Tight Spot
Group gives Protestants competition for souls, but also an ally on religious freedom.
Editor's PickThere’s No Crying on Social Media!
There’s No Crying on Social Media!
Young adults are desperate not to let peers see any signs of weakness or failure.
Christianity Today
A Variety of Religious Composition
hide thisJune June

In the Magazine

June 2011

To continue reading, subscribe now for full print and digital access.