Thursday, November 11, 2010

#206-The Overplayed Song at your Church That Needs to die soon and without Suffering (An Imaginary Monologue)

An Imaginary Monologue from the Song that was Once Awesome But now is slightly Annoying, though you would never Admit it. (E.g. "How He Loves US" and "The More I Seek You.")

To be now a sensible man, by and by a fool, and presently a beast! Oh, strange! -Shakespeare

Do you know what it's like to be me? No, of course not. Because you are subpar. A statistic. Predictable. 

But me? I was the show. The entire show for one magical period in time. A shooting star on a romantic date. Everyone knew me. Everyone loved me. 

Do you know what it's like to find yourself in front of 11,000 Apostolic Young People having your identity bandied about by the musicians on the platform because you are just that special? I mean, the draw of you at such an instance is that your very core is producing worship in the heart of every young person there. At such a point there is nothing, absolutely nothing flawed about you. Your most inward guts are the stuff of goosebumps and Deep, sappy meditation for all those teenagers in the room. 

But of course you wouldn't know what it's like. Because you aren't me. You were the faceless kid worshiping with my lyrics being repeated over and over again until I got you to realize how intimate your relationship with God was. I made you feel so special. Because of me, you almost, for one instant, could have sworn it was like you were on a date with God and there you were sitting on the couch together just sharing your love for each other by staring inspirationally into each other's eyes. And you? You did nothing for me. I didn't even know you. Because I was more important than you. It was me who was the vehicle to God. I was the mediator between the heavens at that moment at Youth Congress that year.

And just how good was I? Well, you couldn't get enough of me. So there was an encore for special me at Youth Congress, because by then, it wasn't really about consecration at this point. It was about you feeling God. So they played me again! And my Goodness....let me be was all so flattering. Humbling in a way too. I'm just a song you know? But to see myself finally admired as much as I knew I should be admired, that was a great feeling.

And then there was the times at Musicfest and Live Recording pr whatever other bible college music conference that is closer to where you live. Being there is no Youth Congress, but Youth Congress is just...well it's larger than life. But those Bible College music conferences where I was played? Those were unbelievable moments too. That's usually where I made my debut. At those things. Like the kids looking at the screen, trying to read my lyrics, and saying "Who is this song anyways?" And all i'm thinking, "Believe me kid, before i'm over, you won't be able to get enough of me. You will cry so hard! Shaking hands raised to the Lord." And oh how true it was. 

But then, of course, like all good things that get "too big," and the ego swells to a size larger than the brain can hold, things come crashing down. There should be a VH1 "Behind the Music" about me and my rise to fame and how my actual beginning was at a Trinitarian believing Charismatic church from down South, but we don't like to acknowledge that fact. That my start wasn't as "Apostolic" as you would imagine. Yes, it's true. I started on an Israel Houghton CD (or Kari Jobe albums, or a Youtube video with Kim Walker or a Fred Hammond record), but sometimes you have to compromise and get your hands dirty and play the political game so that you can find yourself at that Apostolic stage at Youth Congress. Was it worth it? (leans head back and looks to ceiling...sighs deeply. Exhales.)....let me say this. I don't live in regret. That's for weak people. I'm not weak. So if I would do it all again the same way, yeah...I would go the exact same route. 

Anyways, where was I? Oh right...After Youth Congress, I thought something great was going on. That I would be the focus of something new. Of a movement or something, I don't know. Sure it was naive. But naivety happens when people start tearing up when the first note of your song is played at Altar Call. So I hired an agent. And a business manager. And we made me into a brand. Yeah, it was dumb. But stupidity is the risk famous people take to reaffirm how famous they are.

And I lost.  And the ladies? I couldn't keep up with them. They were always running around looking for the next emotional high in church, and I originally started playing the "Hard to Get, because i'm an indifferent celebrity song" shtick. But that only works for a time. And the moment you got them hooked? They run for the next big and upcoming song. And I'm like "What?!?"

So in one moment I'm up at a music conference as the center-piece of the whole evening and the next, my world comes crashing down. I'm just selling myself left and right. Making myself as accessible as possible. You want me at your youth service?!? Just Google Search the chords! 

So there I was, being played by the most awkward of musicians who really didn't know what they are doing outside of being taught a few piano lessons by that cute piano player at Youth Convention. And they did this on the cheapest of music machinery. And I would have cared, but let me tell you, when things start falling around you, you are happy to just find yourself played anywhere on a Friday night. It's the one constant in your life. So what if they butchered how I should have been played? They loved God and they meant well, and the lyrics were still there, and let's be honest, the lyrics matter these days. And my lyrics, they were from God of course.

Next thing you know, you're being flaunted about in the big church service on Sundays, which you think is a step up because there are more people singing you. But, by then, when you are being irreverently  tossed about in each and every church service that is within 100 miles of a metropolitan city, and chucked into a song service without thought of order or purpose and disillusionment has set in, Sunday church can be the worst place for you. Because, by now the youth have heard you and prayed to you and cried to you 100 times over, so you're just a novelty to them.

And the adults, well they are a tough crowd. They take some time, and a few plays to get warmed up to you. 

But there is a high point in all this. It's about the second or third time the I am played in service. When everything clicks again. And the adults "get you" like the kids "got you" when they first heard you at whatever conference or bible college CD they encountered you through. And the response when you suddenly realize you are not just "relevant" for young people, but that you can be suitable for all ages and thoroughly loved by that moment when that praise singer who has an incredible voice, whispers that one verse from your song with eyes closed ever so sincerely, and everyone's like "Dear God, I love you." Then you remember what you're all about: That you are awesome. And God loves you.

And then, once you have had like 2-3 plays where you can inspire a Holy Ghost falling that the whispers of "revival" become resurfacing and you even caused a "breakout service" that didn't require preaching....after that, it's all downhill from there.

You will become less than a song and more a tool to be used in hopes of recapturing that initial Holy Ghost breakout that you inspired. But God is not to be used in such a way, and quite frankly by the 9th time you are played in church, people are sick of you. The words have lost meaning. It's all motions. But yet, no one wants to tell the music leader about how much I don't matter anymore. You should tell your music leader. Tell them that I am not what I once was.

And that is why I am here, washed up, in pain, unshaven, smelly, and cynical about life. Because I am at the end of my life. Put me softly away please. Not in a retirement home where I am visited once every three months and you only do so out of guilt for the memories that I inspired. No! It smells so bad in that retirement home of washed up worship songs. You should see "Freedom!" He has dementia now. Doesn't even know that he's a Christian anymore.

NO. Here is what you must do: PUT ME TO SLEEP NOW! JUST DO IT! all the's unnecessary. It's keeping the torment and the memories of what once was but never can be, all that much louder causing that much more misery.

Put me to sleep. Pull the plug or something. Smother me with a pillow. Tear me out of the song book you have me in. Set me on fire. Just please, don't let me be dragged through one more church service where people try to recapture in kind a half-sincere nostalgia about how great you used to be. No, i am better than such a mediocre turn in music worship service. I used to be someone you know? Youth Congress and stuff. People cried because of me when I showed up at the building. 

And now that I'm dying, people look down on me as an embarrassment to society and their church. I am like a growth on the church's neck that won't go away that makes the church wonder "oh no, what if this growth is the one that kills me?"

Who wants to live like that?

So please, let me be underplayed instead of overplayed. Put me down. I forgive you.

(It's something like this...except instead of "I'm an alcoholic" use "I'm an ex-#1 Hit Worship Song")

First, expect longer, more serious post tomorrow.

Second, as you can tell, posts have been less and less per week. Anyone want to become a writer for SAL? No requirement for how often you write. Write as often as you want or as little as you want. All you have to do is be decently witty.  If you are you willing to help become a part of something that actually influences nothing, gets a few hundred views a day, and makes you feel good about how witty you are, then this blog is for you! Just e-mail me a post you would do for SAL to see what you got...


  1. this may not count but the can't nobody do me like jesus song needs to die.

  2. LOL...I so get this post. Yes, please, put those poor overdone songs out of their misery. Every church has their own.

  3. While I do have those songs that make me sigh heavily and roll my eyes...

    Do you know the story behind He Loves Us?

  4. Makes it a little less cheesey. In my thoughts, anyways.

  5. Sure are a lot of rants on this site about songs and whether they're really worship or not. David played for Saul and the spirit left. Doesn't say what he played. Or whether it was something different every time. So if it inspire others to worship, even if it doesn't You, Me, or some other Enlightened worship expert, why criticize? Get thy mind off the song and on thy Saviour. Can I get an Amen?

  6. what about "he took the shackles off my feet so I can dance!!" I know that's not the title of the song but you get my drift.