Sunday, June 03, 2007

Horrible Youth Bands

Why are "youth bands" at church so awful?

Today, the pastors had the youth band come and lead the worship this Sunday morning. The lead singer was not very good, to put it gently. And my wife, 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 noticeable that the lead singer was trying to act like Sanjaya Malakar, there up on the dais.

Now the music minister is a very accomplished musician. He really knows his stuff. And in fact he was also up there doing a guitar backup. So my question is: "Even though he knows better, why did he allow this?" Generally speaking, every "youth band" I've heard in various churches has been been, well, awful. Yet pastors always seem to showcase them. Why do they do this? I am not entirely sure 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 incessantly brainwashed by advertising into thinking that the entire Universe revolves around them. Moreover, I suspect that pastors nowadays are so desperate to keep the kids 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 bands get to play their stuff. 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 society, so who cares about the middle-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? Secondly, in the long run, always catering to the kids' latest fads and fashions is not going to keep the kids 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 what they're getting indoctrinated in everyday at school. Furthermore, every now and then, the kids just need a good beating with the Dreaded Clue Bat 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 truly hardcore, militant secularism, along with a sulfurous all-pervasive atmosphere of devil-may-care turpitude. In the long run, getting a weekly dose of happy-clappy, bubble-gum teeny-bopper music at church isn't going to help them.