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Monday, March 21, 2005



If you haven't already, it's worth reading Brian McLaren's "Open letter to worship songwriters" here:


and the postscript from John Mortensen too.

It's good stuff - especially because it offers some possible ways forward out of this "all about me" sort of worship.

andy goodliff

also check out 'worshipping trinity' by robin parry - a great antidote for a lot of what tries to pass as christian worship!


Andy and Anneke, thanks for your comments, especially the link to McLaren's open letter. I heard him speak in London in December and he said then that he'd met with some UK songwriters and challenged them about the content of their songs, but it's good to have his letter. I think I'll pass it on to the worship guys here.

Milton Stanley

Excellent post, valid concerns. I'll be writing about your post on my blog later today. Peace, brother.


Good post - you're expressing something about that song that I've tried to (http://levesons.blogspot.com/2005/02/songs-as-musicianworship-leader.html) - but you do it better!

Dougie Lochhead

We were learning about this in our class at the U of G.

Once the lecturer had made me aware of the different type of things we do in worship, I can't but help notice that all to often we can fall into the trap of being self-centred in worship rather than self-sacrificing. But, I guess the good thing is that we are now aware of what we are doing and can make attempts to actually worship God rather than anything else.

Gabriel Hauber

I came across your blog post on this while doing some research on this topic myself. I've just come back from our yearly church camp, and we sang this song. We've sung it before, but for some reason this time the last line grabbed me and I thought, "Hey, now, that's not right!".

I'm in the process of putting my thoughts together, but my initial response is that Jesus was not thinking of "me above all" - rather his death on the cross was primarly about the Father and bringing him glory. The line in the song is kind of reminiscent to me of the idea that God created us because he *needed* someone to love, rather than (what I think is biblical) the fact that God created us to demonstrate his glory.


I had heard 'Above All' and never thought about it in the 'me-centered' way. It seemed to me more to highlight His selflessness, but maybe you are right.

I've written a short article on 'worship with substance' which I think gets to the heart of the issue. If you are interested:


Andy Johnson

I have disliked that song for a couple of years now because of that last lyric. I am in a new position at a church as of January, and I have recently found out how much some people love the song. When explaining to my pastor, why I disliked it he agreed with me. However, I find the rest of lyrics very Christ honoring so I think I will take the legal risk and change the lyrics (please don't tell CCLI) and explain to our flock why we do so.
I was trying to find out if anyone else has used the song with an altered lyric which is what led me to find these comments. So, how about this for a final lyric?
"Like a rose trampled on the ground, You took the fall, God raised You up above all."

I am tempted to disregard that lyric as not precise enough regarding the trinity. However, using "God" when you mean "The Father" didn't seem to be a big deal to Paul in some places.

So there's my two cents.

-Andy Johnson
A Washington Worship Pastor

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