one thing i've become increasingly cautious of: connecting with music and writing it off as connecting with God. sometimes it's a gray area for me. am i worshiping God through this music or am i simply enjoying the musical atmosphere? i lot of times i think - and i can only speak for myself here - that there is very little, if any, difference between my emotional and spiritual connection with worship music and popular/dance/non-worship* music.
* - i've intentionally avoided the word "secular" here. for some reason that word really bugs me. probably for the same reason that "christian" coffee shops bug me - oh, i'm not a christian, so i'll go on down the street to the not-so-christian coffee shop. or probably because the only people that i hear use the word "secular" are christians like myself who need a constant reminder that we dont associate with secularism, but that we're better than that. i find that offensive and ugly. buy anyway.
i find that music can evoke a feeling of excitement and emotional pleasure regardless the type - i'll be the first to admit that i often feel happier listening to daft punk, kanye, gnarls barkley, and al green (although, he is a reverend) than i do during intentional worship times.
my first step to address this was to carefully consider my motives in singing during church. am i singing because (insert worship song here) has a funky beat or because i am truly feeling and connecting with God? because i belt out ace of base, jimmy eat world and the rocket summer in my car and feel very similar. what about this situation is making me belt out the lyrics? is it for God? or is it cause i'm too funky for myself and can't help but sing/dance/clap along?
the step i arrived at next was understanding and implementing other forms of worship. connecting with God through things other than music. this isn't a new thought for anyone probably - dedicationg to the Bible and to prayer - but also worshiping through observing God's creation (both in nature and in humans). these are ways in which we can all intentionally connect with the Father. and those are great, but they don't solve the discomfort and uncertainty that comes with some music. regardless my worship experiences outside of music, the question during musical worship remains - what am i connecting with?
in the end, i'm not really sure how i feel about connecting with music - i certainly wouldn't go as far as to say that God can't be found in non-worship songs (on the contrary, i think it is often more likely to find Jesus outside of the church than inside) and music is certainly not evil*.
* - the only thing i find "evil" about it is when recording artists make hundreds of thousands of dollars and turn into Mr. GQ by exploiting psalms and adding chord progressions. i won't point fingers at anyone in particular, but i can't help but raise an eyebrow when artists accompany their worship with cute jeans and trendy caps whilst maintaining a consistant two-day scruff.
i guess what i'm really wondering/questioning is the authenticity of musical worship - specifically mine - and whether it's for God or not. it probably boils down to disgretion and varies in each situation - deliberating what it is about a certain moment that is causing the joy and happiness. i'm also not suggesting that moments of musical happiness that aren't devoted to God are bad things - not at all - only that sometimes i find myself thinking "man, God really moved me" when the reality is "man, that song really pumped me up."
just thoughts. feel free to comment. i don't have a tumblr so that's still an option...zing.