Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Aesthetics: More Than Personal Taste

Ascribe to the Lᴏʀᴅ the glory due his name; bring an offering, and come into his courts!  (Psa 96:8)

In the current situation, one of the most frequently repeated errors regarding our evaluation of contemporary worship music is that it is “merely” a matter of taste.  Such dismissive comments should be resisted.  When arguments are made (on any side of the discussion), they should be seriously entertained, weighed, and rebutted, not merely dismissed on the erroneous ground that human creativity is “merely” a matter of taste.  Human creativity is a matter of imitating God the Creator; it may very well be the most significant thing humans do, so it is not “merely a matter of taste.”  Indeed, in the current situation, for some individuals the only aesthetic criterion the recognize is contemporaneity.  Think of it: A church has a sign that reads “Contemporary Worship,” as though sounding contemporary were the only criterion that mattered.  All the criteria by which previous hymns were previously evaluated are set aside, and this new criterion replaces them all (or moves to the top of the list of criteria).  But why?  Why does this criterion trump the other criteria?  Some of the things God makes are new, such as a newborn child; but other things God has made are old, such as the Grand Canyon, the earth itself, and the universe.  So … creativity is not measured by the time in which the creativity took place; it must satisfy other criteria.

T. David Gordon, Why Johnny Can't Sing Hymns, 55-6

1 comment:

Glenn E. Chatfield said...

Well said. Most people seem to think "New" equals better, but most often, it seems, with "Christian" music, "new" tends to be worse.