Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Mike Holmes and Church Music

On today’s flight to Edmonton, I switched to HGTV and found contractor extraordinaire, Mike Holmes.

As I watched him lay a new tile floor, he said something that caught my ear. “Most people think a tile floor needs to be level, but that’s where they’re wrong.

What?” I thought, “How could level be wrong? Level is perfection. It’s accurate. Isn’t not-level wrong?

I’m more interested,” he continued, “in things being true. What house is level? You could make a floor level, but if your walls and counter are naturally uneven, then your level floor will look wrong. You need things to be true.”

You need things to be true.

My mind drifted to church music. Are we being true?

As a professional musician, quality is really important to me, but isn’t it more important to be true?

I don’t mean true as in right or correct, but true as in honest, authentic, and, to carry on with Mike’s thoughts, appropriate for your specific room.

If I walk into a living room, I may not know if the floor was perfectly laid, or if the stitching on the couch is perfect, but I do know if I feel comfortable, welcomed, and able to be myself.

The same rings true in church music.

On the average Sunday morning, most people don’t know if every note is played perfectly, or if every syncopation matches the sheet music, but they will know how the music makes them feel.

Do they feel welcomed and enveloped by the music? Do they feel comfortable singing along? Are the songs and musical styles well suited to the congregation and their worship format?

Most importantly, do they feel inspired, worshipful, and somehow closer to God through the experience?

Yes, we should always aim for the best quality of music, for many reasons, but maybe this week, instead of trying to be perfectly level, we should aim to be truly inspiring.

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