EPISODE 16: Beauty – Its not a bad word in worship! – Staci Frenes Interview

**Anson Sexton you WON the drawing for the FREE CD. Email to Rich-AT-WorshipMythbusters.com to claim it!

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This is Episode 16, September 2012.

My name is Rich Kirkpatrick and you are listening to WorshipMythbusters.com. This podcast is about debunking popular thinking about worship that may be more myth than truth. Presenting a myth each episode, we employ the socratic method with guests from all over the world as we talk about praise and worship. We invite you to join in the conversation.

ESSAY:

Oh, worship the Lord in the beauty of holiness!
Tremble before Him, all the earth.

Psalm 96:9

Beauty is a word that some of us apparently are afraid of when it comes to worship. Some have said it is not “manly” enough to describe God. Romantic language might be good for some, but there indeed is a sub-culture among some leaders that is calling for an end to God-and-girl-friend lyrics in our songs. I appreciate the discovery and manhood movement. However, beauty is biblical. And, men love beauty! Yes, we love feminine beauty, but we also love the sight of a mountain vista, the expanse of the sea, and the power of a storm raging. Beauty, is not wholly owned by romantic love. Beauty is in the story of a soldier sacrificing for his fighting brothers, saving them in the battle.  Beauty is what makes us inside go “awe” at the sight of it. In fact, that word “awesome” explains the kind of beauty the psalmist speaks of here.

Our savior was beautiful on the cross during that awful moment of his crucifixion. Look at the word awful and then the word awesome. The are very close in meaning. Beauty can also be like both of these words. For us men, women are beautiful because they can dethrone our power with simply the design of their curves. Why be afraid to explore beauty and believe God wants us to see his glory in such a way? We love to hate our culture, but we copy it far too much on this issue. To be moved by the beauty of God is a gift and blessing. It is one that requires us to gasp for air, realizing that God is the source of each breath.

So, make his praise glorious. Make it beautiful. Be like the young hymn writer of another era, Isaac Watts, and employ poetry. In fact, be like the psalmists of the Bible and express your worship in a way that reflects the magnificence of God. To make his praise beautiful is simply to be honest about who God is and revel in it. It leads to a trembling like the most amazing sunset that your eyes have ever gazed upon. Indeed, dare I say, that the beauty of a woman that stops you in your tracks is like how seeing God is. Now, its not romantic! In fact, seeing a beautiful person is not romantic. It is a split second of seeing an image bearer of God shine. What we do with that after that moment is our depravity talking. This in fact is what beauty does. It reveals God’s holiness and perhaps our lack it. So, of course we fear it.

Some of us would rather keep things more rational in our worship. But, we are to worship God as humans, not as Spock! A scientific dissection of God through theological words may be useful in anchoring our creed, but we also need to simply see God and respond humanly. There can be beauty in theology. Yes. And, to not take theology that far is to also cheat ourselves from blowing our minds about how beyond us God is. If our theology does not bring us to be in awe of God then we are empty from it. So, make your praise full of beauty. Offer it with the trembling that we humans should naturally feel when our Creator walks in the room.

CD GIVEAWAY

On this Episode of Worship Mythbusters we have artist, worship leader and singer songwriter Staci Frenes. And, we are going to give away a free CD. All you have to do is go to worshipmythbusters.com (this post!) and leave comment that says you want in the drawing. On next Monday September 17, I will announce the winner! Also, if you go to RKblog.com and leave a comment on the post about Staci Frenes and this Episode you can be entered a second time!

Show Notes:

11 thoughts on “EPISODE 16: Beauty – Its not a bad word in worship! – Staci Frenes Interview”

  1. Haha, “fun” “artistic” phrases and word rhymes. The overused words, rhymes, phrases really seem unnecessary. When I hear them from musical artists I think do better, it really is unfortunate. Almost a waste.

    Yeah, balance between deep word substance and less deep word substance and space is a good perspective. The irony is we often hear “we need more “hymns”” (which means deep word songs) or “we need more “contemporary” songs” (which usually suggests less deep word songs), but what we need is balance between the two, because they support one another and are better with each other.

    I really appreciated the perspective: we need time for space in corporate worship. I’m with you Rich that using “white space” with intros/outros/instrumentals is helpful to give people time to reflect, be in that moment. However, in every context I’ve lead in and most that I’ve worshiped as a participant, the idea of “space” was never taught to the people, and therefore it often felt more awkward than beneficial, because people didn’t know what to do with it. How would you recommend teaching a congregation to appreciate and use space in our gatherings?

    Another cool thought you had at the end of the podcast that I’ve been pondering over is that our church is our family, and looking at our gatherings that way. It helps us look past a streamline, production centered time together, and instead a family who knows each other and isn’t concerned about “getting it done” but enjoying the time to worship God “around the piano”. Just a different perspective, more focused on the community then the perfect transitions and lack of quiet and awkwardness (families have awkward moments 🙂 ).

    1. Adam. On the subject of space, we never teach people to meditate on their own during transitions because we don’t instruct them to do so. Singing does not equal worship. You can be in thought and still engaged. This is the difference between being a song leader and a worship leader. RK

      1. Thanks for your thoughts Rich, but I don’t quite understand. If I may inquire, you say “this is the difference between being a song leader and a worship leader,” but the only action you mentioned was that we don’t instruct people to meditate during transitions, so what are you referring to that makes one a worship leader instead of a song leader?

        My further discussion asks, can and should we expect people to appreciate the musical space during our gatherings (with no singing) without first teaching and exampling to them how they can take that time to think on God, meditate on the words, pray with a neighbor, etc.? It is really attached to the culture of the body. Some individuals may have learned elsewhere or on their own that during musical “white spaces”, they can proactively engage with God, speak to Him. However, others simply have never considered it before or maybe only think of worship as a song (or that’s how they practice worship). This was me at one point until someone taught me in high school or college. I personally understand singing does not = worship by itself, but not everyone gets that, and so needs guidance and reminders sometimes.

        It doesn’t mean you always instruct them to take the time to think of God during “white spaces”, but if your body’s culture isn’t normally familiar with that idea, I believe you can’t expect them to appreciate it unless you teach them. And I want to teach them, because just as you said, it is such a great blessing and opportunity for people to realize they can engage with God all throughout the service without our prompting.

        1. Song leaders lead songs and view the music as the participation. Worship Leaders hopefully lead deeper than that, taking a teaching role that sometimes explains the biblical expressions of worship.
          For instance, “praise” means to get a bit foolish in your adoration. Do people know that this is biblical? That clapping and being celebrative and expressive is in the Bible? Are they modeled that by the leaders, not just in music, but the pastors and others who are in charge of the spiritual leadership? Leadership means you take people somewhere. People need to in some way be taken on a journey, not just led in singing. That is what I meant. And, prompting is actually part of leadership. It basically is giving permission and invitation.
          RK

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