The Happy Clappy Church

The White Horse Inn is offering some of the best discussions out there on what is going on in the American Church today. This year they have been discussing the Christless Christianity and the Church as Entertainment phenomenons that has taken hold in our current mega church mentality. Get their podcast to hear some good observations on what we are doing wrong in the church and bringing things back around to what Scripture actually tells us to do.

This is a podcast from last December about the Happy Clappy Worship in the church that has little tolerance for grief, brokenness over sin, the fruits of injustice or real hardship.

“In this day and age people are so ill equipped to face suffering and death and sickness and trouble and tragedy, precisely because over the years the soil in which they been nurtured is so thin that they have not been prepared for what they are about to face.”

They talk about the psalms and the ‘blue note’ that entertainment driven, ‘be happy all the time’ churches just don’t know what to do with.

One of the most cogent points is made in a radio interview by Bono contained in this podcast in which he makes the point that “God is only interested in Truth” and observes how little truth exists in Christian music now. While one attached article notes that we are unclear on what Bono’s orthodoxy is, growing up in Ireland, he certainly has the perspective to see that addressing true suffering is pretty vital for the church to do, and that you can’t BS God.

Happy Clappy Worship

December 30, 2007

Happy Clappy Worship

Contemporary Christian worship is almost exclusively upbeat and “happy-clappy.” But is this the type of worship that is pictured for us in the book of Psalms?


Singing the Blues with Jesus, Michael Horton

The Bible & The Blues, by U2’s Bono


A Better Way, by Michael Horton

Too Good To Be True, by Michael Horton


Artist: Matthew Perryman Jones; Song: “Psalm 73”

Album: Indelible Grace II: Pilgrim Days
Happy-Clappy Worship

Hello and welcome back to the White Horse Inn today. Are churches too happy-clappy? Is the happy-clappy attitude the right fit for church? Think about the Psalms. The Psalter, the songbook, the hymnal of the church down through the ages and you have the whole range of emotions expressed there. Do we have that range of emotions expressed in the church today? What happens when one is suffering, and is forced to sit through a worship celebration, or as we talked about in the last program, a funeral that no longer can be a funeral anymore because Christians have been told that because we don’t mourn as those that don’t have no hope, we don’t mourn at all. Let’s just turn the funeral into another opportunity to just praise the Lord and celebrate. Times of tragedy, times of difficulty when they strike really to the degree that they are debilitating, to that degree you need to have a faith that can withstand it. And a lot of times what we find is that in this day and age people are so ill-equipped to face suffering, and death and sickness and trouble and tragedy precisely because over the years the soil in which they have been nurtured is so thin that they have not been prepared for what they are about to face.

In this program we will be looking at the psalms. We will be taking a look at some of the themes that we find there, that not only highlight the happy, bold, bright tones, but also give us that “blue note,” that broken note that is difficult to transpose on a sheet of paper, just as suffering is difficult to transpose and explain rationally. When we think about a good God and a God that is all powerful, but we live in brokenness, and that broken note in our music just has to be there to express the reality of our lives. Is our theology realistic? That is one of the things we are going to be talking about on this program. Is our church today so happy-clappy, so upbeat, that we don’t really face the music?


Author: Ginger Taylor

I am a thirty something wife of a wonderful man and mother to two beautiful boys. I am a Johns Hopkins educated family therapist with a current case load of one, my autistic son Chandler. I want to God and what He really has to say to us and especially what He really wants from me. I approach Scripture from the Reformed perspective of Luther and Calvin and those that followed them, and encourage lively debate here at Daily Discernment.

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