As a recent Internetmonk posting noted, there is a basic issue of musical competence in our churches. You once had one music professional on the organ, and that instrument covered the bases. Now, unless perhaps you attend a megachurch, you often have one professional and congregational amateurs, some of whom can barely play at all. Not only do the amateurs have to play their parts right, they have to play in time (not easy). And you need the amateur in the sound booth to mix the sound properly (pros make good money doing this for a reason). The result of all this is wildly inconsistent quality and distractions during worship.
Moreover, it’s mostly bad music that is being played badly. Centuries of wonderful music have been largely discarded. Lewis once spoke of “fifth rate hymns set to sixth rate music.” What would he think of today’s musical vulgarity?
Those of us who prefer content-rich, traditional hymns are like hippos in the dry season, watching watering holes dry up slowly around us. Presbyterians have mostly given in, and the Lutherans and Anglicans are striding in that direction. And with this move usually comes a dumbed-down service, dispensing with Biblical elements of worship in favor of long stretches of singsong choruses, progress videos, and other fluff. Contemporary worship inclines to levity, not the weight of glory. To the casual, not the reverent. How many elements of worship can be dispensed with before a service can no longer be called worship at all?
And why are so few bothered by this sea change?