Putting secular music into a worship setting has been like approaching a wild horse.  There are many reasons to be afraid.


One of the first songs I did in worship was Van Morrison's Have I Told You Lately That I Love You?


Another was, Willie Nelson's You Were Always On My Mind.  


These were informal worship meetings. The words were changed slightly.


There are a few other songs I have on my mind.  Sometimes you have to let that supertanker turn slowly and not try to force it.  There does come a point when your heart does come around to aligning with a secular song and owning it time before the Lord.  


Not all of these songs are precisely worship.  Some of them are about confession, which can be a valid use of worship time, even if the worship is mostly implied.  Another type of song is comfort for others.


Here is Bob Marley's No Woman No Cry.




Have I lost my mind?  No, I don't think so.  I have to say, I suspicious of what happens in myself when doing these songs.  But, again, I know when I have fully come around to take something for the Kingdom and when I have not.


Consider this scripture:  


Pure religion and undefiled before God and the Father is this, To visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction, and to keep himself unspotted from the world.  James 1:27


Elsewhere, we are commanded to comfort the afflicted (with or without the salvation prayer).


By this standard, How Great Thou Art can be less "pure."  Can be.  


Here is another song that is close to Holy, and capable of being brought into Holiness as a confession of relationship with the Lord.




Funny how I find myself in love with you
If I could buy my reasoning I'd pay to lose
One half won't do
I've asked myself
How much do you commit yourself?

It's my life
Don't you forget
It's my life
It never ends

Funny how I blind myself
I never knew if I was sometimes played upon
Afraid to lose,
I'd tell myself what good you do
Convince myself

It's my life
Don't you forget
It's my life
It never ends

I've asked myself
How much do you commit yourself?

It's my life
Don't you forget
Caught in the crowd
It never ends

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A stud, animal variety, is one which generates many more New Creatures of top quality.  Abraham was a stud-type then, not in the physical sense, but as a father of the principle of living by faith; by analogy Paul, or his letters, have sown much good seed, the perfect seed of the Word of God, and many have read them and been born again, having found eternal life in Jesus.

'Stud' has been around for a 40-50 years here, but has caught on more recently, maybe some television thing.  We have yet to see studley, studdish, studding around, or any variants, though.

But our God did show Himself to be human - and we are thrilled...
I agree that we all can worship from any song, regardless of the spiritual position of the one who wrote them.  In fact, I have been encouraged by quite a few secular songs myself.  The only reason I don't use them in worship is that music has such strong associations.  Suppose you are doing a song by Bob Marley and you have a rehabilitated drug addict in your church?  Even if the song you choose may not have explicit words about drugs, that congregant may have listened to Bob Marley back in the day when he was using.  Or suppose you end up singing a love song to God that used to be someone's "song" (as in "they're playing our song!") that they associate with an past relationship?  (someone they still have contact with.)  Granted, any sin that they commit after being reminded of their past is still a decision that they made and not really your fault, but I wouldn't want to expose them to that possibility.

Yes, it can be shallow and do little but appeal to the old man in people.  When I heard that some emerging thought was doing Roxanne by the police as part of worship, my visceral reaction was "no way."



With the right Spirit, one can overcome the baggage.  Maybe the Spirit suggests that you not go down this path to begin with.  I agree.


Santa Claus is a great case study for images and idols.  People were horrified when we simply told our kids that Santa was just pretend.  Somehow, we supposedly had robbed them of something.


But, there was something about just taking the issue head-on and being real about what we wanted from this "Santa" experience.  The kids did get into the Santa thing, as pretend.  They were fine.  What kids are best at in fact is pretending.  Hello?  They are probably really less good at being tricked into having an experience of Santa. 


In trying to plan worship, I tire of the meetings and policy statements about whether a song sends the wrong message.  Well, let me correct that.  I tire not so much of the issue being raised as much as the amount of time spent not doing anything, as in avoiding things or refusing to try things out of fear of what may happen.  I prefer to say plainly what we want to gain and what we think would be a bad result for a particular effort.  Just being plain and simple about what you want and don't want allows the Spirit in the Church to start working through the worshippers.


I think if you face that baggage head on and be clear about the ground you are taking, I think there is less room for mischief. 

Many "secular" songs are about a search for true goodness, or trying to find what love is actually about -- the same themes that we find in Christian music.  In college days, my pastor played "Mrs. Robinson" (Look at all the Lonely People) to open our eyes to the loneliness around us (or maybe in us).  IN fact, pastors typically use all sorts of pictures from ordinary life (as did Jesus) to illustrate how we can live Christlike in this world (or how not to). 

As Stevo has noted, we have a limitation - the right of a writer (copyright) to both possess his work of art and to control its use by enforcing the integrity of the text.  To simply present a song "as is" may not be worship of God, since that is unlikely even the intent of the writer -- but it may be valuable in teaching the nature of the Kingdom of God.  There is no committee anywhere (nor is there in the denominations) that says brothers and sisters can't meet together, including listening to what the world thinks about Christ (which is really the theme of many secular songs, however heavily disguised). 

Knowing the world's view can be good, though not necessary.  Today I read of a grade school teacher who maintained her focus on high-quality teaching partly because she steadfastly refused distractions like taking a psychology course to better understand the students.  She said, "It's not so important that I understand the children.  It is far more important that they understand me."  Part of our gathering to worship is to grow in our knowledge of Christ -- leaders, pastors, teachers, members, and newcomers -- all growing together in unity and the knowledge of Christ.

Legally, I am not sure that legally that anyone can prevents songs from being modified. In theory, it is true of some presentations of songs. 


Big Churches with paid musicians -- well, to some extent I supposed.  There many ways to present music.  How about a healing room in which no offering is taken?  Legally, i see no issue.  (I am a lawyer.)


Why bother going elsewhere for music?  I think one issue is whether our recitation of the word Jesus has become fairly rote.  I know that if I do something for my spouse, I want to cook something new and interesting.  I want a new kind of flower in the bouquet.  New is sometimes just a nice thing.  By way of contrast, in some Adam Sandler movie a tired Adam Sandler says, "I don't have any new moves baby."  His wife says, "But, I like the old moves."


Jack hayford in teaching about psalm 23 explained why the shepherd anoints sheep.  His answer, "Because they like it."  Much of what the Holy Spirit does is just like that.  To go a bit further, anointing is a type of the Holy Spirit.  David was anointed King.  But, in Samuel, God told people NOT to take a King.  God gave them what they wanted.  It was part disaster, but also redemption.  Jesus, after all, is King, and son of David.  A note of caution is of course implied.


This might a great new thread.  The question is simply, what is the working of the Holy Spirit and what isn't? 


My agenda here is very much to try to take down the Reform notion of the limitations on the Holy Spirit, or down to some degree.  The Church assumes an ENORMOUS amount about what the Holy Spirit is and is not.  I know all about the notion that once one is saved, that essentially the Holy Spirit is in you.  Well, ok.  But, I know places where the implied suggestion is that this is about all the Holy Spirit that there is (or that needs be pursued).  Yet, when that church has boring worship with the worship team sleep walking through the music, it doesnt mean the Spirit has left them, but it does mean that they are removed from a certain fullness of the expression of the Spirit. 


Another example is Sampson.  Sampson was flat out ungodly.  But, the Spirit came upon him.  In fact, he was one of the very few OT figures where there was much discussion at all about the HS coming upon someone. 


If one tried to come up with a set of rules for when the Holy Spirit was or was not operative, I think one would be bound to fail.  It would be like trying to explain why monty python is ( or can be) funny. (And I humbly beg the readers not to mention barking dogs at the Toronto Airport Church.


Back to the point, worship is NOT (IMHO) an act of obedience --- ONLY.  Song of Solomon sure was not sung out of obedience by one beloved to the other.  Worship is also about the hearts of the worshiper.  God wants a marriage.


I think the difficulty of understanding the Holy Spirit does two things.  It humbles us in our attempts to define its limitations.  But, it also frees us as the Bride in preparation.  I think it requires that we dial back rules about worship and wait to see where we are lead -- both by the Holy Spirit and the stuff in the human heart that he brings out.

...Legally, i see no issue.  (I am a lawyer.)


The licensing prohibits even that in reality. We had a long discussion about this one time and my attitude was similar to yours until I looked into it. I still don't know why it should matter, but the facts are the facts. And some musicians are going after people - I work in the media industry and the scrutiny is intense.

Was just listening to Jimi Hendrix doing "Hear My Train A Comin" - there's gotta be something I can do with that vibe. Maybe not a corporate worship thing, but still...
There's an intense spirituality about Gary Moore's later stuff. It crops up in Def Lepard occasionally. Carlos Santana cops it here & there (though not as often as some would like to think). Even Billy Gibbons manages it a little. I'd love to cop some from each of them on a Sunday occasionally (I've borrowed Robert Palmer's 'Addicted To Love' for 'I Walk By Faith'). Just don't fit though.
Glad you appreciate what I'm saying. I need to go back and give a listen to some Gary Moore. Billy Gibbons I'm very familiar with. Very underrated.

Just been reminded of Chris Rea's album "Dancing down the stoney road"


It contains "Sun is rising" which never fails to make the hair on the back of my neck stand up

here's a link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KR9rvr6upi4


Mr Rea's gig in 1985 was one of the best I've ever been to!   I saw Dire Straits, Queen and Tina Turner in the same week, they were in big big venues Chris Rea was in a bit of a dive.


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