Sep 13, 2000
The cover of the August 1996 Atlantic Monthly announced a Christian cultural revolution: “Giant ‘full-service’ churches are winning millions of ‘customers’ with [their] pop-culture packaging. They may also be building an important new form of community.” Author Charles Trueheart described what he calls the “Next Church”: No spires. No crosses. No robes. No clerical collars. No hard pews. No kneelers. No biblical gobbledygook. No prayer rote. No fire, no brimstone. No pipe organs. No dreary 18th-century hymns. No forced solemnity. No Sunday finery. No collection plates.
1. There are many kinds of good taste, and many kinds of good religious art and music. In view of cultural diversity, it would be extremely odd if that were not true.
2. Not all kinds of good art and music are equally good for worship, let alone for every tradition or faith community. In terms of worship, therefore, it is not enough that a work or style of art be likable; it must also be appropriate.