What was cool 15 or 20 years ago is now so old as to sound silly.  Who sings “Celebrate Jesus—celebrate!” anymore?  And “Yes, Lord, Yes” just doesn’t cut it, either.  But there was a time when these songs were cutting-edge.

Some styles grow old.

Recently I’ve experienced the song “Praise Him! Praise Him!” in two congregations.  The song, written 150 years ago, was one of the older songs in the set that morning, and I think it was included as a sort-of nod to the older folks in the church.  In fact, I happened to notice a septuagenarian who wasn’t singing the more contemporary song before it, but he chimed right in the classic Fanny Crosby song.  It seemed to me that the musical style of this song doesn’t quite fit the text, but I remember liking the song when I was a kid.  Perceptions change over time, and styles do grow old.

A student friend was embarrassed recently when his church used all songs that were, say, 20 or 30 or more years old instead of more “contemporary” music.  I say don’t worry about it.  We shouldn’t ignore the need to relate to people, but styles are ephemeral, after all.  What seems contemporary today will be obsolete next year.

One thought on “Obsolete

  1. Roger Woods 06/02/2011 / 6:59 pm

    We actually still sing those songs here–though they were never in my judgement strong songs. But you are right — styles change and what is new will become old and what is old will become new again. Best to take Paul’s attitude and strive to reach people where they are – that requires us to be flexible and sensitive.

    — posted via Facebook —


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