2. Confessions of a Literary Snob

I have a confession to make: I’m a literary snob. This wouldn’t be so bad if my literary judgments were confined to the Twilight books, but my snobbishness goes where even angels fear to tread.

Yes, I’m talking about modern worship music.

It’s Sunday morning. Having quaffed my morning coffee and dressed less shabbily than usual, I’ve come to church to worship God and learn from Scripture. But I look at the bulletin and feel a pang of annoyance.

The first song on the list: “How He Loves Us.”

I stifle a groan. Not “How He Loves Us.” Not again.

The song begins.

“He is jealous for me, love’s like a hurricane, I am a tree bending beneath the weight of his wind and mercy.”

Bending beneath the weight of his wind? What is that even supposed to mean?

“When all of a sudden, I am unaware of these afflictions eclipsed by glory and I realize just how beautiful you are and how great your affections are for me.”

Dash it all, that’s got to be the worst poetry I’ve ever heard.

“So we are his portion and he is our prize, drawn to redemption by the grace in his eyes.”

That’s bad writing, but at least it’s coherent.

“If grace is an ocean we’re all sinking.”

That is not coherent. Drowning in an ocean doesn’t even come close to being an appropriate metaphor for divine grace.

“So heaven meets earth like a sloppy wet kiss and my heart turns violently inside of my chest.”

Something is turning violently inside me, but it’s not my heart. How exactly is heaven like a sloppy wet kiss? I haven’t seen such bad writing since Eoin Colfer likened sparks of magic to “mystical beavers repairing storm damage.”

Then, in a blinding instant, I realize I’m being a literary snob when I ought to be worshiping the Lord God Almighty.

Am I the only Pharisee guilty of literary snobbishness? Does anyone else have something to confess? Let us know in the comments!

6 thoughts on “2. Confessions of a Literary Snob

  1. You know i bought the album that song is featured on (David Crowder Band: Church Music). And i must say, it is easily the most boring thing i’ve ever listened to. And i hate that! It’s a shame that 90% of my iPod contains secular music! I just can’t find anything worth listening to that’s has the word Christian on the band label. The quality of music just feels cheap. Kind of like Darwin’s Origin of the Species. (I HATED that book!!!! How can anyone take such terrible writing so seriously?)
    It often seems that these lyricists are trying too hard to praise God, doesn’t it? Maybe that’s why i detest it as much as i do. Whenever i go to English Fellowship and i hear the words, “Hymn” i almost jump up and down with glee. Why? Not only is it incredible poetry, but it’s also the fact that i don’t need three minute drum solos to get my Spirit going.
    Modern Church music frustrates me. Instead of romanticizing God maybe we should take Him at His amazing face value. We don’t need to romanticize Him is the thing. He’s already the most incredible thing that i live for. Sigh……. I wonder if Quakers sing hymns. Maybe i’ll join them.

  2. I can honestly say I am in complete agreement with you. The lyrics to many modern worship songs are almost painful to listen to, let alone sing along with (which distracts me from the whole purpose of the music). I don’t know if I can blame it on being an English major, or if I just like less modern things in terms of worship music and literature both. Either way, I too confess to being a literary snob. However, when I catch myself being snobbish, I try to block out the words and listen to the beat of the song instead which helps me focus my attentions on God whom deserves it, as opposed to my biases.

  3. The more and more I listen to “worship music,” the more and more I’m convinced that it’s not worship. I don’t see any real significance in enjoying the emotional high of the music. If anything, it’s more of a selfish act than a “worshipful” one.

    Or, maybe, I’m just a snob, too. Meh.

  4. I think the problem may be that we value emotion over reflection. It’s wonderful to feel awe or reverence or thankfulness, but emotion without meaning is empty. I can feel reverent as I sing a song like the one mentioned in this post, but what’s the point of singing it in the first place if I don’t understand its meaning? More to the point, what’s the point of singing it if its meaning is lost in lyrics that are slightly poetic and more-than-slightly incoherent? I don’t want to be snobbish, but I don’t want to sing meaningless nonsense either. It’s hard sometimes to know how to respond to such songs!

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