I was asked:
"Cory, I have a serious question if the church's music is supposed to be worshipful why are we playing taylor swift which is secular? I understand that the songs could be christian songs but they're not and everyone knows it, plus if we do we're not really glorifying God it seems to me that at worst it will look like the band trying to glorify itself and at best it'll be glorifying Taylor Swift not Christ so I vote that we stick to music that is actually intended to glorify Christ. I think we need to ask ourselves who we're actually trying to glorify and not just what kind of music people like."
"Very good questions. Virtually every song that we play and sing has its roots in secular music. This includes many of the ancient Hymns that we sing on Sunday mornings.
"So in choosing to play a Taylor Swift song we are doing nothing more than repeating a very rich and well established church tradition of taking away that which was intended for self gratification (and in some cases Satan's own gratification) and dedicating those things to God.
"Worship is all about giving back to God the very first of the very best that we have been given. To every individual and every generation, that list of things differs. To your generation, in this region, the music that Taylor Swift writes is among the best that your generation has to offer and your generation is excited to offer. While I'm not particularly excited about doing a Swift tune (because I'm not into her style of music) I am excited to be leading a group of kids that want to explore the various aspects of our music worship offering.
"As far as your thoughts on image are concerned: there will always be people that will look at any worship band and accuse them of being self serving, doing it only for their own glory. Sometimes they are right. Most of the time they are wrong. When it comes to the worship offering that we give to God it should never be about the appealing to the people. Rather, it should be about looking at the best that we have and giving that back to God. Even if it means taking a secular song and using it for His glory. Which is essentially what every writer of Christian music as ever done.
"An excellent example of this comes from Hillsong and Hillsong United. They are probably one of the most popular worship bands today. Listen to their music. Then listen to U2. Very similar in many ways. I would challenge you to find one Christian band that hasn't taken music from secular influences. They simply don't exist (this part lends itself to Ecclesiastes 1:9 in that there really isn't anything new going on anymore anyway...). Our worship music offering to God should always reflect the music that represents a given generation in that given time and that given place. If it doesn't, it is probably because there is some draconian and repressive or oppressive rule / ruler that essentially makes the people's worship offering to God more about the person who makes the rules instead of the people seeking to give the worship offering.
"Probably the only time in music history that the church ever had its own music was back around ad 500 when Gregorian Chant was the primary music worship offering that was given to God (then again, perhaps not). It is interesting to reflect on the idea that now chant is really only reserved for demonic reasons (OK, not all the time, but that is the popular association).
"In the end, it is important to remember that the most important facet of our worship offering is our heart (1 Samuel 16:7) and our motives (Proverbs 16:2), and whether or not we invest our best skills into our worship offering (PS 33:3). And really, if the first of these is in the right place, then two and three will be in place as well.
"In the end, we all do well with remember that we worship the way we worship not because this is the way we want to do it, but because this is what God has given us to do it with. And if a Taylor Swift song is important to our generation and can inspire us to meditate upon the end of times, then glory be to God!"
What are your thoughts?