Worship Music: Where’s the line between evocative and manipulative?

First, this video is a brilliant piece of satire (you may want to watch it before reading my comments below). Check it out:

So I watched this video and found it to be hilarious – and once I stopped laughing, I found it unsettling. Awesome satire, it does an excellent job of critiquing the emotionally-manipulative/shallow aspect of feelings-based worship music. And here’s what it brings up for me: while the music I lead is a little different in style, I fully intend for it to be emotionally evocative, that it will hopefully cultivate an atmosphere of intimate encounter with God and community.

So here’s all the stuff I’m chewing on…

When does emotional music (or, for that matter, prayer/litanies/sermons) cross the line to emotional manipulation?

Is there a point at which our cultivation of the atmosphere of worship (sound, space, ritual) becomes coercive and/or exclusive of those who encounter God in other ways?

How do worship leaders know that we are approaching these decisions ethically?

I welcome your thoughts, wise friends.

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And now, for something completely different…

While teaching kids with learning disabilities in Las Vegas, I became convinced of the tremendous power of music as a learning aid. Students who had difficulty with rote memorization seemed especially to benefit from musical mnemonic devices.

My process for teaching kids to easily compute multiplication facts is simple and twofold:

  1. Teach kids how to skip-count (count by multiples)
  2. Teach kids how to multiply using skip-counting

In order to teach my kids how to skip-count, I created several funky songs to that end.  They may be listened to, downloaded and shared freely*:  Skip-counting songs

And here is my method for teaching the songs and how to multiply using skip-counting:  Instructions (pdf)

I will periodically add more songs, so stay ‘tuned’ (Har!).

*provided you don’t turn around and sell them, etc.  Full terms of the license found here.