The Internet Monk’s Chaplain Monk on the tendency for Christians to sanitize the “laments” (i.e., those portions of Scripture that express deep feelings of loss, despair, and longing for God):
Many segments of Jesus’ family have little or no acquaintance with singing laments. The entire idea of lamentation seems foreign to some, perhaps even contradictory to a Christian perspective. American evangelicalism in particular avoids laments. I suspect “avoids” is the wrong word. Do churches in the revivalist traditions even have a conception of this aspect of relating to God?
Contemporary “worship” music is especially weak when it comes to giving voice to the full spectrum of human experiences and emotions. Even when today’s songwriters make use of the Psalms they tend to transform the raw, earthy language that describes our complex, often messy relationships with God and others into easily digestible spiritual sentiments.
Exhibit “A” is “As the Deer” by Martin Nystrom.
Note: I realize that criticizing CCM and contemporary worship music is often like shooting fish in a barrel.
Want to ensure Opus’ continued existence and get some special perks? Become a supporter today. Contributions help offset the site’s hosting costs.
I've also written for Christ and Pop Culture, ScreenAnarchy, Filmwell, and Christian Research Journal. I pay the bills by creating beautiful user interfaces and websites for Firespring and Red Bicycle.