Music is Prayer....

"Music Is Prayer:" Reconsidering Secular Music

Jon Pahl, Ph.D.

Historically, as the splendid Thrivent production 500 Years of Lutheran Music demonstrates, Lutherans have been eclectic and creative in our choices of music for liturgy.

 Recently, however, the choices have seemed to narrow to either "traditional" or "contemporary" music. The former features the organ, a baroque instrument rarely experienced outside of church. The latter features the so-called praise band, which tends to evoke soft rock or pop. Praise music also frequently involves repetitive tunes and more or less banal lyrics that are often theologically suspect. Going back to an earlier heritage, Lutherans might explore ways to include more complex and diverse secular music in worship. In a workshop conducted at The Lutheran Theological Seminary at Philadelphia (LTSP) in May, 2010, the six musicians who constitute an amateur jazz, rhythm and blues, and rock band, called "The Groove Daemons," did just that. Building on Duke Ellington's maxim that "music is prayer," we invited workshop participants to consider the theological, spiritual, and ethical implications of six secular tunes.
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Gloria Dei Lutheran Church in Iowa City

Gathered by grace. Scattered for service.

123 E Market Street
Iowa City, IA 52245