You know something is afoot when in a three-month span you receive five unsolicited manuscripts about worship and music—and all are worth publishing (especially when literally one in a hundred unsolicited manuscripts we receive sees publication). This is what happened last fall, and it didn't take me long to decide to pull together at least four of the manuscripts into a package, (the fifth will be published in a later issue).
The confluence of articles suggests a few things. First, worship music continues to be a topic that engages us both emotionally and intellectually. I'm not convinced we're still fighting "worship wars," but we are still living through a tense truce, if my local congregation is any example. Second, this tense truce continues to prod people into deeper thinking—as evidenced by the pieces in this package. What holds the package together is nothing more than this: arresting thoughts and intriguing ideas about the nature of church music.
As often happens when discussing church music in the pages of Christianity Today, the articles display a bias for traditional music. This is unfortunate, because we at CT happen to also like contemporary worship music. We strove to find an article or conduct an interview that would give more space to exploring the gift of contemporary music, but we came up empty. I'll be frank: When it comes to contemporary Christian music, I have yet to find authors who are able to probe its uniqueness with the same depth and insight as those who relish traditional music. What I usually find is articles that say, "But people like it!" That's well and good and nothing to discount, but it's not enough for a CT article! So admitting my limited exposure to this world, I want to encourage ...1