C.S. Lewis — On Church Music

Posted: August 6, 2014 in From Me To You, Referrals, Theology
Tags: , , , , ,

Music NotesC.S. Lewis is one of my all-time favourite authors (see what I did there?). I’ve read many of his most famous works but not all of them — The Four Loves is one of those on my to-read list. Most of his works that I have read are full books, but I have read a few of his individual articles. This article was referenced in a recent discussion on LinkedIn concerning how to work with the musicians in a worship team. “On Church Music” is a bit broader than was our discussion, but it still has information that is relevant to today’s worship philosophy.

Worship is about the heart, not the sounds produced by one’s fingers or lips. Lewis called himself a “layman” (“commoner”; someone not of the clergy or other profession at hand; someone of a lesser status; see this example definition), meaning that he was not musical in any form of the term, that he was one of the masses rather than one who properly understood music. As such, he has a unique perspective on church music. He has to take it from a somewhat objective theological and philosophical position. I love that he does it without favoring either side (neither musicians nor laity). In fact, he is somewhat cynical in his tone — this was common in his writings, but it works well in his objective analysis of a subject.

Keep in mind while reading this that he came from a different culture and a slightly different time than many of us, so you may have to read some sentences multiple times to catch his meaning. I heartily recommend you invest the time in this article, as it is well worth the read!

Here is a link to the PDF hosted on soundliving.org. I downloaded it and am including it in this post in case it disappears from this other website. You can view that PDF here.

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