Song of Albion 6

I must try to be focused. My purpose in these posts on music is to try to answer the question of "what sort of music should be acceptable in church?". Clearly lots of people have already got strong opinions on this - witness the diversity of musical expression in churches - and who am I to gainsay them? But you can hardly fail to have noticed the prevalence of what has become known as CCM or Christian Contemporary Music.You may also have noticed that some CCM is a major money-making industry.

To be proper and legal our church is a member of CCLI and, when we project lyrics, we duly display the copyright owner if known. Our annual dues to CCLI are based on how many times we have sung particular songs and thus the copyright owners get paid. We pay the Christian music industry so that we can worship God. Really? Yes really.

We are privileged to have several anointed songwriters in our small congregation. I do not think that they get paid by CCLI when we sing their songs!

I don't have any problem with people being enterprising about making money. People have to live. I don't have any problem with Christian song-writers selling their wares to help make a living or at least cover expenses. But I do have a problem with people charging for the "Christian" ministry they claim to be providing. Jesus paid the taxes due and Judas carried the purse so they must have had something in the way of finances, but I cannot imagine Jesus charging for his ministry. Somehow it just doesn't fit. To the twelve Jesus instructed "Heal the sick, cleanse the lepers, raise the dead, cast out demons. You have received freely, freely give."

I would like to tease out, in these posts, whether the nature or suitability of the artist's music is affected by their financial inclinations.

With this in mind I have started to take more attention of who the artist is of the songs we sing in worship. Apart from our own songs (which make up a major proportion) I see that we sing a lot of songs by Chris Bowater. So I checked out his web site - it is refreshing that you can freely download sheet music for many of his songs there. This is unprecedented - it is unusual to find free sheet music for current musicians. He also has some good things to say on the CCM debate. And he is also a mature pastor of what looks like a lively church in the UK. All this bodes well for my theory...

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