Star Performers

Now I'm not very cool... I know that will come as a shock to many, but, I must break it to you. I'm a sad middle aged man who only keeps vaguely up to date with modern beat combos in order to embarass his teenage son. And because of this I managed to miss out on Nickelback's "Rock Star", which is a relatively good rock track which manages to satirise the excesses of modern rock culture...
Here it is in its video-based glory.

Rockstar Video

I actually only came across this track because I was trying to find the "inspiration" behind the "Shekelback" version below which has been doing the rounds among friends over on Facebook... You can judge for yourself which is best...
I suppose the Nickelback song is a bit superfluous as part of the whole idea of rock, particularly in its modern American form, is to be narcissistic, hedonistic and amoral... So why should we be surprised?
The Shekelback version however, points up an appaling trend in modern Christianity, not only with worship leaders, but with preachers and the whole Christian "industry" of aping modern celebrity/performing arts culture... It has ever been thus, although it has definitely gotten worse recently... But a lot of the problem is a fundamental misunderstanding of the nature of worship... The seeker sensitve trend definitely exacerbated this, but it has been evident at least since the time of the gloomy Dane, theologian Soren Kierkegaard, who pointed out that whilst we tend to see preachers and choirs etc as the performers in worship, the congregation and God as some sort of prompter whispering into the ear of the person or people up front, actually worship, if it is to be seen as a performance at all is the work of the whole people of God. Therefore the congregation are the performers, the preacher/worship leader/choir are only the prompters and God is the audience of one...
But no-one ever got a million dollar record or book deal following that kind of advice!


Dave Nice said…
Interesting discussion.

The guy who made/posted the shekelback video wrote about his inspiration for the video on the YouTube page where the video comes from, which is really intersting. He wrote:

"I wrote the lyrics after meeting some kids after a show by my rock band in Bristol, UK. They said they were in a band. I asked them - So are you a rock band like us, or do you do praise and worship? Their reply took me by surprise. They said - Oh definitely worship; our youth leader told us that if we want to be famous and make a lot of money, we need to be a worship band.

So this song is dedicated to them and their youth leader and to any other bands who play worship music with mixed agendas. Its also challenge to myself and every other Christian musician to worship God with integrity and leave any egos and rock star tendencies behind when we stand before a congregation.

I'm sure you'll appreciate the sarcasm, but just to to clarify things: this song is NOT an attack on worship artists who have become successful. Ive had the privilege of playing guitar for certain worship leaders on the big stages and have met many of the big names including Martin Smith, Tim Hughes, Matt Redman, Martyn Layzell and Vicky Beeching. Without exception, these guys are authentic worshipers with integrity and genuine humility. Maybe that's why God has raised them up to where they are now? This song is NOT about them; this song is about the wannabe rock stars (you probably know at least one from your local church!) who join the worship band as a means to live out their rock star fantasies!"
Makes sense, huh?
On a similar theme, came across this quote re Delirious, from Q magazine, whilst trawling the lineup for a local music venue.
"Uncompromising Christians in the lions den of popular music, Delirious?s world runs parallel to secular music - their records sell, their concerts sell out, but the main stream remains undisturbed. Now, the quintet have seemingly given up on non -belivers and settled to preaching to the converted. As a result, The Mission Bell is their most overtly religious offering yet, which helps explain the massed choirs chanting, "Jesus! Jesus!" on the stirring Now Is The Time. Musically, their isolation is shifting them towards polished, earnest-period U2 fuelled by the unbridled passion of singer Martin Smith. Still, as they must surely reflect in darker moments, without God they could be massive."

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