Using contemporary songs to illuminate Scripture and life

Monday, March 15, 2004

"We're Creating Monsters" by Jonathan Rundman (3rd Sunday in Lent)

Connect with Scripture: John 2:13-22
When it was almost time for the Jewish Passover, Jesus went up to Jerusalem. In the temple courts he found men selling cattle, sheep and doves, and others sitting at tables exchanging money. So he made a whip out of cords, and drove all from the temple area, both sheep and cattle; he scattered the coins of the money changers and overturned their tables. To those who sold doves he said, “Get these out of here! How dare you turn my Father’s house into a market!”

His disciples remembered that it is written: “Zeal for your house will consume me.”
Then the Jews demanded of him, “What miraculous sign can you show us to prove your authority to do all this?”

Jesus answered them, “Destroy this temple, and I will raise it again in three days.”
The Jews replied, “It has taken forty-six years to build this temple, and you are going to raise it in three days?” But the temple he had spoken of was his body. After he was raised from the dead, his disciples recalled what he had said. Then they believed the Scripture and the words that Jesus had spoken.

Sound Theology
Today’s Song: “We’re Creating Monsters” by Jonathan Rundman, from the album, Sound Theology - Disc One)
1. they want an overhead projector
and a las vegas chorus
video collage and a bad guitarist
there is nothing here
you would need that hymnal for
children leave your brains
at the sanctuary door

so we dumb this down
dumb this down
we're creating monsters

2. creed and kyrie
they don't know how to say
take it over sixty minutes
you can't make 'em stay
we have an opportunity
to rise to the occasion
but we'd rather have capacity
than a congregation

so we dumb this down
dumb this down
we're creating monsters

Jonathan: drums and loop, acoustic guitar, bass, accordion, vocals

Jonathan’s comments on “…Creating Monsters”
Seems to me that the current generation of church-going youth are as intolerant of tradition as their grandparents are of drums in the sanctuary.

Jonathan’s Question to Ponder
How can the church strike a balance between being welcoming and being challenging?

Behind the Music
1. Stanza 1, what does a worship look like that Jonathan describes here?
2. Stanza 1, what does he mean, “children leave your brains/at the sanctuary door”?
3. Chorus, what about worship is being dumbed down?
4. Stanza 2, what does Jonathan think people don’t understand?
5. Stanza 2, what will people not accept in worship?
6. Stanza 2, what bargain are church leaders making according to Jonathan?
7. Do you think there is any similarity in Jonathan’s anger about worship with the anger Jesus showed in the Temple?
8. Chorus, how does this kind of worship create monsters?
9. What seems strange about a guy with a guitar singing this song?
10. Jonathan says in the album notes, “I’ve never felt the need to make a ‘Christian record,’ mostly because I prefer more traditional sacred music.” Do you think there’s a place for traditional music and a place for rock music?
11. “This sense of God’s greatness, fullness, and mystery is often missing in modern worship. Certainly the course of time gives place for all kinds of worship moods and attitudes, for God is an infinitely diverse God. But I am disturbed that the awesomeness of God is repeatedly swallowed up by coziness. Not only the Church but God Himself is dumbed down, made too small, trivialized.” From author, Marva Dawn, from Reaching Out Without Dumbing Down. Respond.
12. In what ways are we allowing other things to creep into our worship that Jesus would throw out?
13. What traditions are we tapping into with MonDevotions? With Sunday worship? What else could we be using?

Lyrics, comments, and questions reprinted with the kind permission of Jonathan Rundman.

Jonathan wrote these songs with an eye to the Lutheran Book of Worship appointed readings for each week of the church year but has told me that he does not necessarily connect a specific reading with each song. Therefore, the reading I have selected to use for reflection is my choice and not Jonathan's.

Click here to find out about Jonathan Rundman or his record label, Salt Lady Records
Click here to read my review of Sound Theology.