Why honesty is a vital part of creativity. Guest post from author Jonathan Malm
I’ve noticed most church worship teams go one of two ways: Either they sing songs dripping with sugar, rainbows, and unicorns, or they’re somber and sorrowful. And if the church is into Christian Top 40 music, it’s usually the first option.
You know what I’m talking about.
They sing songs like “Everything is Perfect” or “God is My Best Friend and I Have No Problems”. Every drum line includes the U2 four-on-the-floor or Coldplay’s “Clocks” rhythm. Keys play angelic pads or rocking organs. And the electric guitars make it rain with dotted eighth notes.
It can feel shallow at times. And as an artist and musician, you can sometimes feel like a phony. Is this how it has to be? Is the worship service doomed to be sugar, rainbows, and unicorns forever? Or in your case, you might wonder if you’re doomed to only be somber in your worship services.I’d like to propose a balance. I’d like to propose honesty.
Honesty is a vital part of creativity. Great art is honest art. Paintings of rainbows and puppy dogs wear thin when you aren’t always feeling rainbow and puppy dog feelings. A great artist will paint it all, even the darker parts within.But it’s also important to realize that, as believers, we have a hope beyond the darkness and pain. We don’t have to drag our work through the mud and leave it there.
There is a glorious end to the pain we experience. As Proverbs 4:18 (NLT) says, “The way of the righteous is like the first gleam of dawn, which shines ever brighter until the full light of day.”We can bring that same hope and that same redemption to our work. Great art is honest. The greatest art is redemptive.
So I want to encourage you to be honest in your music. Don’t be afraid to touch on darker topics. Don’t be afraid to talk about sorrow and pain. But also, don’t leave it there. Remember the hope that’s found in our savior.
Follow the pattern of the Psalms. Countless times David or Asaph share their concerns and grievances with God. They’re honest about their troubles and their questions. But they ultimately acknowledge the goodness of God. They ultimately point their worship back on the proper place. They take their focus off their own problems and emotions, and they point them on the reality of God and who He is.
Where would you say your worship services fall on the rainbows to rainclouds spectrum? Is it mostly happy? Is it mostly sorrowful? I’d love to hear about your church and your plans for moving forward with honest worship.
Jonathan Malm is a creative entrepreneur and writer. He is the author of Created for More, a 30-day devotional to help you develop a more creative mind. You’ll find him in San Antonio, Texas, roasting his own coffee beans and enjoying life with his Argentine wife, Carolina.