Unique/Efficient tension

Last post ended by asking, "Should we not instead look to create a local, homemade, authentic, unique worship expression for this context?  What would a worship revival look like if the Millennials fueled it?"

I hinted at in the last post that many "contemporary worship" services look similar to one another. I used the metaphor of tract homes to describe the amount of variety among "contemporary worship" services.  There is some, but they all have very similar structure.

Millennials and the creative class are people who value the unique over the efficient.  Tract homes and contemporary worship are efficient but rarely unique.

Take music for instance.  Contemporary worship will take a tune that is common and write new words to the song.  Much like what Charles Wesley did in his attempt to take pub songs and change they words to be more "godly".  This is an efficient way to make that which is old new again because it is easier to rewrite the words than to rewrite the musical score.

In contrast, the music in a worship that values unique over efficient will sound differently.  It will sound different but you can sing along almost instantly.  How?  By changing the tune and using common lyrics.  This gives rise to the mash-up and the remix.

Notice in this mash up that many people can begin singing right away even if you have never heard this song before.  Yes, it is not the best song that will appeal to the masses - but that is not the point.  The point is the uniqueness is values more than the repeatably.  You may think the scarf your friend knitted is less quality than the nice store bought one, but you might just treasure it more because it is unique.  Likewise, mash ups are generally deemed as less quality but unique.

Take the remix as another example of unique over efficient.  Remixes are usually take a good amount of time to put together but are not really able to be used for long periods of time.  Remixes are current, culturally relevant and quickly fade.  Remember this little gem?

Sure you do, but it is no longer what at the level of relevance it once was.  It was great for a period of time but now is kinda annoying.

In worship, when we value unique over efficient then worship looks different but not that different.  It changes yet there is always something that stays behind to connect or root us in the past (tradition).

The next post will have concluding remarks on this topic.