Just worked through the @CCLI's 25 most popular worship songs after spending months studying the Psalms. Here's what stands out:

1. Justice is mentioned only 1x in 1 song. Mishpat alone shows up 65x in 33 different Psalms.

2. The poor are completely absent in the top 25.
By contrast, the Psalter uses varied language to describe the poor on nearly every page.

3. The widow, refugee, oppressed are completely absent from the top 25. The orphan gets two mentions, one occurrence of which appears to refer to a "spiritual" orphan
4. Whereas "enemies" are the third most common character in the Psalms, they rarely show up in the Top 25. When they do, they appear to be enemies only in a spiritual sense.
5. Maybe most devastatingly, in the Top 25, not a SINGLE question is ever posed to God. The Top 25 never ask God anything.

Prick the Psalter and it bleeds the cries of the oppressed pleading with God to act. This is completely lacking in the Top 25.
Indeed, there is very little evidence that the Top 25 are ever speaking clearly about situations of social and economic harm. "Are you hurting and broken WITHIN" sums up the way these songs transform the holistic nature of the psalms into songs a/b spiritual healing.
So many of these Top 25 are written by a handful of organizations (@bethelmusic, @hillsongworship, @elevation_wrshp).

Let me be clear, I love many of these songs, and sing them regularly. But the church has put the production of what we sing into the hands of professionals...
...and if those professionals (@bethelmusic, @hillsongworship, @elevation_wrshp) keep writing songs that just edit out enormous portions of the biblical language of worship, churches will have to fire them and find other resources OR our worshiping lives will be impoverished.
(BTW, if you think your hymnals or lectionaries are much better they almost certainly aren't).
Worship that doesn't sing like Scripture sings, tho, is devastating. We fail to interact with God the WAY HE DEMANDS we interact w/him. And because singing has a unique power to affect hearts/minds, we cut ourselves off from one avenue of transforming power in our discipleship.
Worse yet, we deny the poor and oppressed the "First Amendment Right" to protest the psalms offer them (Davis). Meanwhile, those of us who are not poor and oppressed continue to refuse to learn how to mourn and protest alongside them.
Pastors, worship leaders, song writers, professors, small group leaders: we have a God given mandate to help people learn to pray and sing. And if we're relying primarily on the Top 25 (or many typical hymnals/lectionaries, etc), we will fail. Period.
Footnote: If you've made it this far, you probably know my research on this is for an @ivpacademic book I'm working on a/b discipleship oriented towards justice in scripture. B/c of that, any & all feedback is helpful. If I'm wrong, LET ME KNOW! If I'm missing something, holler.

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More from @michaeljrhodes

13 Sep
If you leave your church (for reasons besides abuse), and your leaving doesn't incl some sustained conversation w/fellow congregants & church leaders, it feels like you're treating the family like a fast food restaurant that you've stopped buying hot spiritual to-go meals from...
...I promise I'm not trying to be dismissive of the pain of leaving, and again, if you've been seriously harmed by your church, you're not the person I'm talking to. But as somebody who has been in volunteer leadership while married to a church staff person, I feel l've gotten...
...a sort of unique glimpse at a trend of ppl leaving w/o ever really processing that with pastors or fellow church members. And I'm not talking a/b megachurches. I'm talking a/b congregations where ppl are in relationship w/ppl and then just move elsewhere.

Again, don't want...
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27 Apr
THREAD: My Christian upbringing seemed to see Rom 13 as God's first and last word concerning what the state is FOR. Ignoring the questions a/b the limits of submission to evil rulers, we seemed to hear Paul saying the gov't is there primarily to wield the sword to keep the peace
This often appeared as a major plank in arguments about the role of government... what is the government good for? what can IT do? Wield the sword... both internally (as in Rom 13), and through the military (unlike Rom 13, at least explicitly) Retributive justice=gov'ts role.
What strikes me now is just how indefensible that is as an account of the BIBLE's view of the "purpose" or "role" of government/state. The OT introduces us to a whole host of political structures (tribal system, monarchy, post-exilic setting, etc), and frankly...
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