In the 21st century people often substitute praise for worship. It’s easier and more convenient to watch church on Sundays. Streaming services, tapes, concerts, DVDs and reality shows have filled the place that was once exclusively worship Sunday; prayer meeting Wednesday; Bible class and Sunday School study. We now, as a result, have access to “worship experiences” that don’t take place in a community of believers or even in a culture and context of faith and reverence.
Is it any wonder then that the world today is in such turmoil and decay spiritually, morally, physically, and psychologically? Where are the common values and belief systems that made each person our neighbor? Where are the restraints on the environment? What happened to the sanctity of the family unit? When did greed surpass human kindness?
The theology of gospel music talked and spoke to a God who cared for his creation. 20th century traditional gospelmusic worshiped a God who was there regardless of circumstances to protect, heal, and guide the believer through her/his personal trials and tribulations. He was a God of faithfulness; of forgiveness; of fortitude. Where is that God in 21st century praise songs? Where is God the deliverer? The omniscient, omnipotent and omnipresent? Where is the I AM GOD? How do we worship him again in spirit and in truth?
Make A Joyful Noise: A Brief History of Gospel Music Ministry (2011) and Anointed To Sing The Gospel: The Levitical Legacy of Thomas A Dorsey (2015); are written with these questions in mind. Interviews with African American griots, pastors, songwriters include Dr. Margaret Douroux; Rev. Dr. Jeremiah A. Wright: Professor Arnold Sevier; Mr. Kenneth Woods; Dr. Eva J Purnell; Dr. Nathan L. Schaffer; Dr. Gregory Nelson: Mr. Almond Dawson: Dr. William Fuqua; Dr. Steven Roberts; Evangelist Lorraine Allen; Delois Barrett Campbell; Rev. Spencer White;
Dr. Lena McLin; Councilwoman Shirley Marchman; Pastor Rodney A. Teal and others.