Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Illustration-a-day: Worship or art?

The other day I was listening online to a concert by one of my favorite singers.  I don't know this woman's faith story.  Most of her music is not faith oriented, but her latest album is an album of gospel covers.  It's a tremendous collection of songs and a the concert was terrific.  At the end of the show, as the credits rolled, the producers showed some backstage footage of the singer discussing her making of the album.  These were her words:

There’s so many performers that I got to listen to and find out about that I had never heard of that were just astonishingly good and that most people . . . that were definitely not household names.  So they're people who came to this earth and did this amazing music that a couple a hundred people heard in a church and then now they're gone.  But this music is out there some of it’s recorded.  It’s so exciting to me that there are people who just made this impossibly beautiful music because they loved it and that was it.

Like I said, I don't know this singer personally.  I just like her music - both the sacred and the secular.  I also know that it's not good to judge a person based on a soundbite.  So I don't want to speak to her whole concept of art and worship, but at least in that short little paragraph, this artist confuses the motivation of art and worship as being identical to one another.  Now, all good art probably walks up to the front porch of worship in some way.  That is, the best art touches upon the transcendent.  But true worshipers make it past the porch, they march right on into the house.  The difference?  Artists sing for the love of the song.  Worshipers sing because they love the one to whom the song is directed.  Gospel music may very well be a kind of art - but those who've been touched by Christ's gospel make art that is first and foremost, true worship.

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