Friday, February 18, 2011
Artistic Integrity in the Church
I've been thinking more recently about the arts in the church, for better and worse. This stems from the release of the new Hillsong United album, titled "Aftermath." It is, by far, their most artistically interesting album ever. It is highly nuanced and dynamic. As you could probably guess, I love it.
However, if there will be a criticism of Hillsong for this, it would be that its music is not accessible to local congregations. That is to say, the church is going to have to get used to it, or not worship with it at all.
My opinion is that works of art like this, by the church and for the church, are to be celebrated. Sadly, most of today's worship music has devolved into simple, obvious, predictable arrangements. The Church at large loves it, because it's catchy, and easy to remember and adapt locally. Personally, I am more and more feeling stale from this tired formulaic approach to worship music. It's making it difficult for me to enjoy many worship releases these days. This latest Hillsong release is a breath of fresh air.
I am in the midst of writing music for a solo worship album, and I'll be using this Hillsong release as an influence. I could [and have] written some boring, obvious progressions and arrangements, but that's not what I want to do. It's not excellent. It's not bringing my best effort. And I want to do all things with excellence, as a reflection of the glory and beauty of God, and as worship to God.
I celebrate more creative, nuanced versions of spiritual art. These things have an artistic integrity that most modern worship music seems to lack.
I long for such artistic integrity in my own work.