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About jonbirch

animator, illustrator, character designer, graphic designer. music producer/recording musician. co-owner of PROOST. proost.co.uk
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45 Responses to 1008

  1. AJ Styles says:

    lol. i’m blessed enough to be part of a really good worship team at a really lively church and even i have moments like this… quite often when it’s me that has been playing. thank you Jon for giving an outlet for all the humour about worship teams. it keeps me laughing constantly.

  2. Pingback: Worship Music!

  3. soniamain says:


  4. jonbirch says:

    aj styles… thank you for keeping your sense of humour about you. :-)

  5. Tiggy says:

    Worship music – bleh! God doesn’t want to hear that shite. He wants us to behave well towards one another and care for each other. I’d like to hear songs in church that reflect that.

  6. Dawn says:

    not all worship music is bad……… and there are churches/christians who care for each other. why focus on what is going wrong all the time?

  7. Kim says:

    is that Robb up there?! :lol: I actually love really loud guitarry worship music – child of the 80’s, it appeals to me personally and I love to sing my head off in church. However I understand that not everyone does and its an area we need to show grace about because there are so many different ways to worship God. (I just read a book where the music style I like was characterised as ‘Jesus is my boyfriend’ music, which I found a little sad and harsh.) A variety of silence and noise would be nice, but is the main thing about worship what takes place outside the building in the rest of our lives?

  8. ah the Ol worship leader cherry, I am a recovering worship leader and now i feel tempted again, naughty Jon.

    I do secretly listen to some ‘worship’ music at times because some of it I like as long as seems tasteful but thats just it isn’t it, its an opinion you either like it or you don’t, and those who say ‘worship’ is just about Jesus & God, it isn’t its about us too isn’t it?

    and lol at Tiggy :)

  9. jonbirch says:

    hey dawn… “why focus on what is going wrong all the time?”… i don’t.
    i find humour in all things and found this to be a funny joke. my opinion of course. you’re of course entitled to not find it funny in the least. :-)

  10. jonbirch says:

    and yes kim… it is robb. don’t think he’s seen it yet. tee hee. :lol:

  11. sunil says:

    church music. yawn. the worst time of christian worship for me. i say this as a supposed muso.

  12. subo says:

    come on guy’s lets rock, lets sing the blues, lets boogie
    just imagine a full New Orleans Band kicking in and a stiff Brissol church, it’s not the rock that keeps me out, it’s the brittle sense of community, that you can’t let on you fart occasionally or slip up, or feel lonely (or happy)

    and then that same persons leading the whole service again – i mean come on there’s dozens of people sitting quietly trying not to scream

    actually I don’t even mind that, the Vicar in my church hasn’t even been able to swap with the trainee (who’s on maternity), but he’s got that gift of humility and making everyone welcome

  13. Pingback: ASBO Jesus Rocks!! « Changing Worship

  14. JF says:

    I went to a carol concert last year where every single traditional carol segued into an “impromptu” round of Jesus is my Boyfriend mush. A few people had their hands up wanting to ask teacher if they could go to the loo, but most people were rolling their eyes. It was all about the band and their shiny gear. Corny.

  15. LOL! It is the rock mass =D

    Fame and notoriety! Can you do a t-shirt Jon? I keep looking for the guitars suggested at PCC cartoon but I keep missing it. That was the one that made me keep coming back here ;)

    Anyone coming to Greenbelt this year? With any luck we may be \m/ \m/ there this year. I’ll keep you posted ;)

  16. Hazel says:

    Brilliant. LOL at JF’s comment. “Hands up asking to go to the loo”.

  17. Tiggy says:

    I never said people didn’t care for each other; I said the songs should reflect that. All the songs I hear now seem to say ‘Jesus, you make me feel really good’ or ‘Dear God, you are so big’. It’s all about being wowed and getting your socks off and I find it very self-indulgent. When I first starated going to church in the seventies it was a very different emphasis. Where did all that go? It seems we just reflect the times we’re living in. In fact……someone I met asked me what ‘level’ I was on with God. Think they’ve been playing too many computer games.

  18. Tiggy says:

    Haha, I had a feeling it was that time of year when people start asking each other if they’re going to Greenbelt.

    @Changing Worship What does that weird sign with the ‘m’s mean?

  19. Carole says:

    “someone I met asked me what ‘level’ I was on with God. Think they’ve been playing too many computer games.”

  20. Carole says:

    …BTW, Tiggy – do you think Robb’s emoticon symbolises two people sitting in adjacent portaloos?

  21. matybigfro says:

    Hi my name’s Matthew and I’m a recovering worship leader. It’s been almost three years since I last lead a congregation in worship. I have my occasional slips when I find myself listening to new ‘different’ ‘alternative’ worship leaders or song writers only to be inevitably let down by over productions, lyrical or musical cliches or the ‘hillsong effect’ and left feeling dry and empty again.

    All joking aside as a somewhat lapsed christian I probably find myself missing (in that dirty heroin kind of way) Christian worship more than I do God (that’s gotta be wrong hasn’t it). At the same time I find myself deeply hating it (maybe I need a shrink) I think because it’s hard for me to separate the many emotions, memories and experience I have linked with the whole worship, mystical experiences that I still find difficult to explain, the opportunity to glorify myself and look ‘good’ in front of people, that wonderful moment when musicians souls meet though the gelling of melody, harmony and rhythm in truly primal and primitive energy and force just to name a few, often terrible music, songs and cultural hegemony. As well as many of the good reasons raised by others above.

    However when I find my soul in need of soothing these days turn else where and I’m sure Jesus is hanging out in sonics like this http://open.spotify.com/track/1gsp6L5aWXsQbwBpAtdc8B

  22. subo says:

    och Carol – how did you answer that? – ‘just on a level with God’?, like it

    & hi matybigfro, yep, it’s weird loosing something you’ve been as involved in as a church worship band – also sounds like some of it was really good as well as inspiringly God filled

    on this topic – has anyone read “The Prophetic Imagination” by Walter Brueggemann, awesome book, packs a liberating punch

  23. Carole says:

    Subo – I was quoting Tiggy. She amuses me with her quirky sense of humour. :-)

  24. *puts on best bill and ted impression*

    Tiggy – Sign of the devil dude.

  25. chris says:

    Now that I’d buy as a teacher especially when I’m playing music in church.

  26. chris says:

    woops, that should be Now that I’d buy as a t-shirt especially when I’m playing music in church. Freakin’ auto correct

  27. Tiggy says:

    @Carol Oh is ‘Changing Worship’, Rob in disguise? That’s good cos now I feel free to say ‘Stupid bloody name!’

  28. jonbirch says:

    chris… i’m going to work out how to get it on to a black t-shirt. it’s gonna have to be black for robb as he wouldn’t be seen dead in white. :-)

  29. linus says:

    maty, i like your comment. And i like the song you linked to. Have you come across Mahalia Jackson? now that’s soul. Here’s one of her songs, along with some other tracks that soothe, antagonise or in some other way connect with my soul about God: http://open.spotify.com/user/linusvanpelt/playlist/02pfQuYJlW16SBFyo2DfUM (note: don’t stop half way through! if you get past the first few tracks, please keep listening to the end. You’ll see what i mean)

    The song that i find it easiest to address God through is Oh My Lord, by Nick Cave. I often find myself singing its chorus to God. It’s immense. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uny3pYb1fsI

    Jon: i think Dawn’s comment was probably in response to Tiggy, not the original cartoon? There are some great worship songs… blessed be your name, I’ve had questions, to name two. And some songs do involve a call to action. (Even though i hate it on a musical level) Graham Kendrick’s Go do something beautiful is a good example.

  30. Tiggy says:

    No, I think Dawn’s comment probably was in response to the cartoon as I didn’t mention about things going wrong. I was remembering, or not remembering, that verse in the OT where God ‘says’, I don’t want your burning of incense and ritual sacrifices – I want you to look after widows and orphans etc (i.e. the vulnerable)’ or words to that effect. I wasn’t really saying let’s have better worship music, but that it isn’t what matters. However, if we are going to stand there and sing songs – and personally, I love singing – I think the lyrics should reflect those priorities. One of my favourite hymns is ‘Jerusalem’ for that reason – also ‘The Magnificat’.

  31. JNj. says:

    True, so true!

  32. subo says:

    aw, thanks Tiggy, i’d love that, a real sense of including the vulnerable in the worship – i guess that’s something I like about Iona.

  33. Tiggy says:

    I suppose it depends on how you see the Kingdom of God. To me that is central, but then it would be as I’m one of the vulnerable – haha! I know what side my bread is buttered! So don’t assume I’m being holier than thou in saying that. When we sing in The Magnificat ‘The arrogant of heart have been put to rout, the humble have been lifted high’, I’m singing about me. And the ‘arrogant of heart’….well….I can think of a couple of people that reminds me of. I’m not saying I’m a humble person by choice – just humble in terms of status and powerlessness. You really feel that when you come up against the establishment and they all close ranks and try to silence you and when no one will help you because it’s more than their job’s worth. People are such cowards – they won’t step in when others are abused. My church let a female friend of mine go to prison for eighteen months for stabbing someone in the leg in self-defence – he was stamping on her head at the time. They could have raised a protest, but they wouldn’t get involved. They said God must have a reason for her to be there.

    Sorry, gone off topic a bit – result of being awake all night and every night this week. Open wounds – some things don’t heal up even after a year, and the consequences….. It just seems to me that what Jesus was telling us was to help people who are marginalised, poor and vulnerable and the church largely focuses on distracting us for an hour or so with nice music and sycophantic songs. I don’t see why God would want sycophantic songs sung to Him – Jesus didn’t.

  34. linus says:

    Makes sense, Tiggy. Think you might be thinking of the beginning of Isaiah (http://www.blueletterbible.org/Bible.cfm?b=Isa&c=1&v=11&t=NLT#11), although its not the only example of what you’re talkin about – its quite a theme in the bible.

    It does feel like church services can take an awful lot of energy to produce without necessarily seeming to result in a lot of benefit for the participants, and certainly they don’t seem to have a lot of benefit for the wider world outside. I often wonder what would happen if all the churches in the country cancelled their sunday morning service for one week and got everyone to do 2 hours of volunteering or justice campaigning instead. But appearances can be deceptive. Gathering as a community should be an opportunity to encourage one another, share our lives together and attempt to seek God together. And that should have a knock-on effect in the rest of our lives. Doesn’t always work like that, but that doesn’t mean it never does, either.

  35. subo says:

    awch, Tiggy. that’s bad – they could have at least offered a letter, brings a whole new meaning to the commending of the sheep – ‘when I was in prison, you visited me’

    same as all the women who hoped if they said something, the church might support them in their struggles against domestic violence, – what’s worse is that the stats support this view – if communites promote respect and care for women & vulnerable people, abuse will lessen

  36. Tiggy says:

    You mean the church that makes an analogy between men and women that compares them to slave-owners and slaves? Maybe there’s some other reading of that passage, but such a structural analysis was given in my church by someone who should have known better. There are many women in my church who have suffered domestic violence and I’ll never regret standing up and challenging what was being said. Sometimes post-traumatic stress comes in handy. :-) If you get angry enough, you don’t give a shit and will say exactly what you think and sometimes that’s a good thing. I’m tired of being so fearful of losing the measly scraps of support people offer that I won’t tell them exactly what I think of them. In fact I’m not fearful any more – I’m seeing things much more clearly now and coming out fighting regardless of the consequences. I’ve recently come off anti-depressants after many years so everyone had better look out. :-) I don’t have depression; I have grief and I have grievances and they need attending to.

  37. subo says:

    great to hear about yr speaking up Tiggy

    didn’t I make my comments clear, I mean churches (and Christians) often coddle men who are abusive towards their wives, and judge the wives as not being loving and supportive enough! – though sounds like you’ve come across this hard written in, honestly churches – they so bury their heads in the sand!
    sorry to hear about the PTStress, though sounds as though your recovering and gaining understanding of what happened. take care Tiggy

  38. Changing Worship says:

    Linus –

    I wonder if that would work for about a month or so and then we would start to forget why we’re doing it.

    I wonder if it would be better to start thinking about it as the 1-2 hour staff meeting at the beginning of the week that is to remind us of the worship we are supposed to do for the next 6 days 22-23hrs. Perhaps if we rabble roused people with revolutionary ideas like “love your neighbour” or “love your enemies” or “when I was in prison” or….

    Or [speaking as an anglican] perhaps if people responded to “go in peace to low and serve the Lord” by going somewhere and doing something instead of sitting quiety in a seat.

  39. Or *love* and serve…

  40. linus says:

    CW – yes agreed, thats why i said “for one week”, not every week. But then surely the reverse is also true – a month of meetings with no opportunities for practical outworking and we run the risk of our gatherings becoming abstract and disconnected from the rest of our lives, just as easily as ‘good works’ and ‘community’ can lose sight of their source and motivation in following Jesus.

    Whilst i think there is much to commend your staff meeting analogy, i have two comments on why it might not be an accurate reflection of what is happening in practice.

    The first is, of course, that the average weekly activity of a church community involves myriad additional times given over to ‘staff meetings’ – home groups, training sessions, church business meetings/PCC meetings/Elders and deacons meetings/whatever. When you add in conferences and monthly worship events etc etc… That’s a lot of meetings, a lot more than 1-2 hours a week and a huge proportion of the time people are able to spare for formal church activities if they have full time work, or kids, or a social life outside of church. So the balance is way out of kilter in my view.

    (I know that the clergy are incredibly put upon and do lots of stuff they get no credit for, so the following is not a pop at the paid staff and shouldn’t be seen as a whinge about yet another thing you good folks should be doing ‘just like that’, but more an analysis of a structural problem, the solution to which requires the effort of the whole community, and a re-examination of how we use our time).

    The second is the inadequacy, in my mind, of the idea that a ‘staff meeting’ is the only thing people need to be effective at going “in peace to love and serve the Lord”. A lot of people (myself included) are not pro-active or even competent at “serving the Lord” without a lot of support, individual mentoring and practical demonstration. We need to be prompted, encouraged, led. Threatened in some cases =]

    In contrast to the highly structured and expertly led sunday morning ‘staff meeting’, the church often (not always) neglects to give leadership or provide easy, confidence building and experience garnering, opportunities for the “serve the lord” bit. The assumption seems to be that people will work out for themselves how to do serve God in their neighbourhood or workplace. People who get walked through every step of a liturgy or a worship service are then expected to identify all by themselves what their community’s needs are and how to meet them, or how to do something more than merely survive in the workplace.

    I don’t get a staff meeting at work. What i do get is told what to do. And someone to ask for help when i get stuck. And someone to whom i have agreed to be accountable if i don’t do stuff. This seems to be a more economically viable model than spending most of my working hours in staff meetings and training events and discussions about how wonderful architecture is, and then being expected to do the actual work by myself on my own time.

    I think people are aching to make their faith authentic, to ground the abstract in some kind of practical, visible, thing. We understand the concept of love your enemy (for example) in the abstract, but it only excites and inspires us when we encounter it in action. The church community needs to provide and encourage those encounters, else the whole thing just becomes a talking shop and people get disillusioned. If people don’t feel they have the practical skills or confidence to “go and serve the Lord”, if they’ve never had someone talk through with them how their skills and abilities and personality might suit them to particular acts of service, if they don’t know who to turn to when they get stuck or discouraged, no wonder they sit down and look bewildered. (Its not the full-time staff’s job to do all this for them, rather the church community needs to be encouraged and trained to be providing this kind of support to one another)

    If on the other hand, the church says “go in peace to love and serve the Lord, perhaps by getting involved with the local soup kitchen, talk to Bob about that, or maybe by going hospital visiting with Maureen this afternoon…” and then actually giving individual encouragement and challenge and support to people, then i think you get more activity and life and joy from this than you would from a church community that just sings a few songs together and then call it a day.

    I know most churches are on a spectrum between two extremes on this, and i’m aware we don’t live in a perfect world and i know there are dangers of heavy shepherding and control and terrible demands on people that occur when people try to do what i’ve described above and get it horribly wrong. I guess its best just to see the above as a bit of a rant expressing my own personal heartache and disillusionment towards church at the moment (and i’m sure much of this is my own fault and not the fault of the church). But i do think there’s a question here about our expectations of what a church community does, and what it is for and how we operate within it, how we give our time to it – and what opportunities to invest our time in we should be provided with through it. I don’t know. What do you all think?

  41. Sue Rinaldi says:

    In every area of living…we need to laugh…very funny..you should do a special mini book of worship drawings….

  42. jonbirch says:

    “In every area of living…we need to laugh…” couldn’t agree more, sue. not everyone always agrees though. :-) glad you like. coming from you that means a lot.

  43. Jill Lillis says:

    Reading these comments makes me very glad I am not in a proper, stiff-upper lip British church. Of course, we have churchs like these here in the States, too. At our church we have a full spectrum of all forms of worship music and all types of worshipers. We do hymns and sometimes we rock the house and there is most of all plenty of “Jesus is my boyfriend” mush. There is plenty of that mush in the Bible, too. I believe it also says that the lukewarm will be spewed out. There is nothing so dignified and hushed as a funeral parlor. Excuse me, I have to go the loo now…

  44. Jill Lillis says:

    BTW, I thought the comic was humorous!

  45. matybigfro says:

    Its the trendy worship that winds me up the most these day’s
    ]I think I spent most of my teens hoping for cool trendy songs in church with guitars and rocking out

    now it just makes me cringe

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