Why is church "youth band" music so horrible?
Today, the pastors had the youth band come and lead the worship this Sunday morning. The young lead singer was not very good, to put it gently. And Ms. Moonbones, who is a good judge of music, tells me his voice was barely "bubble gum" quality. The accompanying girl vocalists didn't harmonize at all. But what was painfully noticible was that the lead singer was acting like Sanjaya Malakar, there up on the dais.
Now the senior music minister for the church is a very accomplished musician. He really knows his stuff. And he was also up there doing a guitar backup. So this morning the question I was asking myself was: "Even though he knows better, why does he allow this?"
Generally speaking, in all various churches where I've heard them, every "youth band" has been been, well, dreadful. Yet pastors always want to showcase them. Why do they do this? I am not entirely sure; maybe it's just how things are in America. But I have a theory about it.
Our entire culture is insufferably "youth oriented". And it serves the financial interests of some large corporations to keep things that way. Therefore, the youths are brainwashed by incessant advertising into thinking that the entire Universe revolves around them; life is all about getting what you want. Moreover, I suspect that pastors nowadays are so desperate to keep the teenagers in church that they will even resort to a bit of dishonesty. Let me explain what I mean. They will have "youth services", say on Friday nights, during which the "youth band" gets to play its stuff, followed by some light-weight teaching by the "youth pastor". I guess pastors are thinking that it must be doing some good if they can get the kids to hang out at church, as if godliness were like wet paint on the walls: if the kids hang around long enough, some of it is bound to rub off on them. Consequently whatever music the youth like, whatever draws them, is automatically regarded as what flies. Next, to further pat the kids on the back, to let them know how wonderful and great they are, they will have the "youth band" play on Sundays, even if it is painfully obvious that the kids involved have no musical ability. (And if the pastors keep this up long enough, they might end up driving away even more adults. But that doesn't matter, I guess—we're a youth oriented culture, so who cares about what the middled-aged geezers think?)
But for pastors to do this is a mistake on two counts, I think. First of all, it only embarrasses everybody, and it's really not very honest. Why tell the kids what great musicians they are when in fact they are not? And everybody knows it—it's like watching someone up on the stage running around with his fly open. Secondly, in the long run, always catering to the kids' lastest fads and fashions is not going to keep them in the Faith. This is another example of giving people what they want and not what they actually need. And right now, what kids need the most is to be weaned off their incipient "Moralistic Therapeutic Deism" that is so rampant in our country, and is everyday what they're getting indoctrinated in at school, what is getting shoved down their throats by advertising, and what is being injected into their arteries by the media and entertainment industries.
Furthermore, as an antidote, every now and then, the kids just need a good beating with The Dreaded Cluebat of Reality. The kids have to learn that they, as much as anyone else, need to become saints and not merely consumers.
I daresay that the big majority of kids in church nowadays will abandon any faith they might have had once they reach college, where they will encounter some truely hardcore, militant secularism, along with the sulfurous, all-pervasive atmosphere of devil-may-care turpitude. In the long run, giving the kids a weekly dose of happy-clappy, bubble-gum teeny-bopper music at church isn't going to help them.