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Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Church Music and the body

Certain habits are considered dangerous, by Christians and others, because they put our body at risk. Some Christians might even go so far as to call such behavior sinful, and cite 1 Corinthians 3:16-17 as proof: 16 Do you not know that you are God's temple and that God's Spirit dwells in you? 17 If anyone destroys God's temple, God will destroy him. For God's temple is holy, and you are that temple. (ESV)

I wish to raise an issue concerning abuse of the body.

Some church music is too loud. Some worshipers are in the process of losing their hearing, because of the music used in their churches. If certain habits are considered dangerous or sinful by Christians, because they harm the body, why isn't playing worship music too loud also considered dangerous and sinful? (One reason some worship music is played so loud is that the hearing of those in charge isn't what it once was -- they have to play it loud to hear it themselves.) I am, of course, aware that evangelical Christians tend to speak out against the use of certain substances, but generally say very little about overeating, or not getting enough sleep or exercise, which may be dangerous, even deadly, to our bodies.

A related issue is that some congregants have hearing aids that amplify loud music so much that it may become physically uncomfortable for them. This is often not understood, or appreciated, by church musicians, most of which think hearing aids are for someone else.

Do I plan to bring a decibel meter to church? No. Nor am I expecting anyone else to. But I simply ask anyone who may read this, and who now has, or might, in the future, some control over the volume knobs, to prayerfully consider this matter.

I have previously posted on scripture related to church music, on several topics related to church music, and expect to post on worldiness and worship music (it's probably not what you think.)

Thanks for reading.


Grasshopper said...

I definitely agree! I have a tendency to listen to music louder than usual when I'm in my car, but at church I really feel that the music should add to the service not overpower the atmosphere nor the words. So from one audio tech, I'll heed your concern as I continue to blend the music and make it pleasing to the ear.

Martin LaBar said...

Thanks, grasshopper.

Like setting the temperature in church, there's no solution that will please everyone, I know.

B Nettles said...

I've enjoyed the series, Martin. I'm blessed to be the one selecting the songs that we sing at Cornerstone Community Church, and we have a "list" of about 100 songs that I select from. Some of the reasons for the list are: theological soundness, consistency, building congregational familiarity. I'm also blessed to be one of the musicians (electric bass).

We are constantly evaluating the tempos, keys, time sigs, intros, outros, volume in order to facilitate excellent congregational participation. Our goal in the music part of the worship service is to involve everyone. If the music is too loud, one can't hear their brother or sister joining in song. If the instruments aren't loud enough (in general) then the untrained singers don't have much to follow. It is a balance, but I sure would err on the side of being soft enough to hear the voices.

Martin LaBar said...

August 8, 08: Thanks, B Nettles. Your policy "sounds" good to me.

Jackson, TN, eh? I never know who will read these things.

Thanks again for your comment.