Kitsch and Repentance

I have what some would probably think is a snooty attitude about guitars in church. One would think all that need be said has been said. Still, I have never succeeded in getting across the real reason for my objection. It is not merely a matter of taste. I think it is a matter of ecclesiology; of conceptions about the church itself, some of which are actually harmful to people.

If my warnings have any basis in fact, it is this: folksy “praise” invites the people into a regressive mindset toward the faith, of a piece with the “family” language which one hears so often. Meanwhile, according to Matthew, Jesus has some pretty harsh things to say about family and how it runs afoul of faith. Think our gay and feminist friends, who should be among the first to agree, because family talk bllithely excludes people who have no aspirations to conventional family. Our agreed favorite hymn, number 140/141, contains language about seducing others into sin.

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