Richard Heyduck’s post on “Selling Jesus” got my juices flowing today. I’ve been mulling over a post on this topic for weeks, but hadn’t put it in writing until that got me thinking today.
He shares part of an article in which the author pretty much hammers the Christian Music Industry. Is the article rough? Yes. Is it harsh? Yes. Unlike the author, I do like some of the music, and contrary to his assertions, many of the artists producing modern worship music are working in local congregations. But does the guy have a point? Yes. Along those lines, I have questioned one practice I’ve seen crop up in the past several years: worship concerts.
Even though I like worship that incorporates modern music and instrumentation, “worship concert” is a non-sensical term. There are big bands whose music I enjoy (like Third Day) who do this, but there’s something very wrong with selling tickets to an event and then claiming that we’ve all come together to worship God. Wrong. When we buy a ticket for something, we’re usually purchasing entertainment. Nothing wrong with that. It’s a commodity that is perfectly acceptable to buy and sell. But in the instance of worship concerts, the very dynamic of selling tickets to a “worship event” means that we are commodifying “worship.” We are buying an experience courtesy of the band that is playing.
It reminds me somehow of the old practice of selling pews that got us Methodists into trouble a while back in our history.
One thought on “worship…concerts?”
I think you’re right–paying $20 (or however much the “worship” experiences cost per person now) in my mind means the listeners constitute not a congregation but an audience.
And also consider that many of the people there drive up in autos sporting Christian license plates and bumper stickers, wearing Christian T-shirts and hats, signing checks housed in “Faith” checkbook covers with Jesus pens, etc. MAN there is a lot of Christian kitsch out there.
But I’ll agree–some of the musicians have real talent.