Friday, January 04, 2008

Those Who Worship Artists

Chris Tomlin is a gifted musician and songwriter. I like his music, his passion, and his faithfulness. I mention this because if you didn’t know it, you might think I’m dissing him in this blog. That’s not the intent. Bear with me. I think you’ll see where I’m going.

Recently he came to my hometown to perform. On the radio spots advertising his appearance, they announced that “Artist Worshiper” Chris Tomlin was coming to the civic auditorium.

I remember sitting in the car thinking, Artist worshiper? He worships artists?

Then, after a minute I realized what they were trying to say. No, I don't think Chris Tomlin worships artists. I think instead his publicity team was trying to make his job as a performer sound more religious or spiritual to us—Oh, he’s not just an artist, he’s an artist worshiper. Wow! Let's go worship with an artist!

I wonder it that’s what his business cards say. “Artist Worshiper, Chris Tomlin.” Maybe we should all have cards like that: “Plumber Worshiper” or “High School Drama Teacher Worshiper" or "Novelist Worshiper."

Other times in the past, when other Artist Worshipers have come to town to perform, they’ve been advertised on the radio as leading Worship Concerts or Concerts of Praise. It's a good thing they're not just performing a concert. That wouldn't be very spiritual of them. Of course, we still get to pay $18 to go to their Worship Concert. And $20 to buy their T-shirts for sale at the door.

Over the years I’ve seen more and more of an attitude in Christian circles that being a performer is not as spiritual or significant as being a Worship Leader--or wait, now they call them Lead Worshipers. Maybe they worship lead. Or silver. Who knows.

A comedian using his talents to make people laugh in a nightclub is as much a worshiper as a soloist in the balcony of the church. It’s time to stop all this semantic nonsense of trying to sound spiritual, and let all those who seek Jesus—including those people who just happen to be artists or performers—be known as God worshipers.


Deseree said...

You rock my socks right off. I hate how people put "worship" into a little box!

Glad to have you back!

oh amanda said...

I agree! Why can't he just be a song who sings songs about Jesus? And he can get paid if he wants! Guys who write books about Jesus get paid. People who love Jesus and sell groceries get paid!

Great post!

oh amanda said...

Oops...I meant, "Why can't he be just be a GUY who sings..."

Anonymous said...

Hey Steven,

Just found your blog after reading your book..."The Creative Storytelling Guide". I'm trying to find your website but the following don't seem to exist anymore??

I've enjoyed your Storytelling guide and wish you'd have it on audio or video to share with my teachers!

Merri Ellen

Aaron said...

You are an insightful worship-critic.

Senior Worship Preacher,
Aaron "Worship" Wymer

Steven James said...

Good thoughts folks!

Meriellen,try googling steven james again,the site is I'm not sure why it didn't work for your. Maybe you're not predestined to find me.

Good to hear from you aaron. Thanks for stopping by.

Melanie said...

You have a point.