The Problematique of "Relevant" Liturgical Music (And Happy New Year)

Liturgists are often keen to make liturgical music “relevant” for the people, and this attitude has led to the jettisoning of many aspects of traditional hymnody, be it wordcraft, music or instrumentalisation. This jettisoning is often paralleled by an uncritical adoption of many aspects of popular culture. The blessings this new-found relevance was alleged to bring to the Church are far from obvious.

At one level, just how the Church acts as a witness to the world when it, to paraphrase St. Paul, conforms to the patterns of this world (in this case, the pattern of entertainment) remains an open question. If this problem does not concern the Christian, he or she is still faced with another open question as to whether the Church is always successful in adopting popular culture into its liturgical structures. A good number of the results can be cringe-worthy, as the videos below attest.
First, one from the 1970s, entitled “Jesus is a Friend of Mine” (complete with unintended double entendre between 1:45-1:49).

 

One would think we would have learned our lesson…but we were wrong…as this 2007 video, entitled “The Renewed Mind is the Key” hopefully proves (behold the slick/creepy solo dance moves)…

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