Okay. Okay. Of course, on one level, I understand that for marketing purposes words like "safe" and "kid friendly" are very appealing in light of the overall decadence of our culture today. And, I'm sure that Christian radio is trying to attract new listeners, and people today are looking for safe, kid friendly, family-oriented things to listen to. That makes sense and is practical. I get all that.
But, let's think about this on another level. Maybe using the word "safe" when referring to Christian worship is actually very, very dangerous. Dangerous because people begin to equate songs that invoke worship of the God as primarily safe, tame, nice, kid-friendly stuff. If we dare to take time to meditate upon the God whom we serve and the name we invoke when we casually sing tunes about our holy God on our way home from work. . .well, there is nothing safe about this God or our worship of this God. "Let us be thankful, and so worship God acceptably with reverence and awe, for our "God is a consuming fire" (Hebrews 12:28-29).
Christian songs that invoke worship are not merely safe alternatives to bad music. Songs written about God are not great because no curse words or sexual inuendos appear in the lyrics. No. God-music is great because the One to whom we sing is great. It is never safe, because the One we give homage to cannot be tamed, managed or ever safe. Consider a loyal subject approaching the royal chamber of a king. As he approaches the throne, he may feel many things as he bows before His Lord. Reverence. Honor. Loyalty. Joy. Fear. Respect. But, safe? What would a King be like whose greatest adjective is "safe". Not much of one I suppose.
After the second jingle this morning, promoting the safeness of the station, the DJ ironically played Chris Tomlin's thought-provoking song aptly title "Indescribable". The lyrics go like this:
You placed the stars in the sky and You know them by name.
You are amazing God
All powerful, untameable,
Awestruck we fall to our knees as we humbly proclaim
You are amazing God
Certainly no safe God is presented here. Oh, that our hearts would connect with a God that is indescribable and untamable and powerful! Not simply a God whose essentially a nice alternative to sex, drugs and rock n' roll. No, there's nothing tame or safe about our God or our worship of Him.
I'll end this muse with one of Annie Dillard's famous quotes dealing with how we have tamed God and over-sentamentalized His church.
"Why do people in church seem like cheerful, brainless tourists on a packaged tour of the Absolute? … Does anyone have the foggiest idea what sort of power we blithely invoke? Or, as I suspect, does no one believe a word of it? The churches are children playing on the floor with their chemistry sets, mixing up a batch of TNT to kill a Sunday morning. It is madness to wear ladies’ straw hats and velvet hats to church; we should all be wearing crash helmets. Ushers should issue life preservers and signal flares; they should lash us to our pews. For the sleeping god may wake someday and take offense, or the waking god may draw us to where we can never return.”
—Annie Dillard, Teaching a Stone to Talk: Expeditions and Encounters (New York: Harper & Row, 1982), pp. 40-41.