While driving back from Nairn last week, Matt & I got into discussions on things like church, tradition, change, and musical worship, among many other things! I made a comment that I’ve been thinking about ever since, and wanted to hear your take on it too. I want to preface it with a small caveat, in the interests of honesty: I’m pretty sure I’ve stolen the idea from someone else, but for the life of me I cannot figure out who!

I shared that I wondered how much of our preferences or distastes for a particular style of corporate worship music are influenced by cultural memory (the term I fear I’ve stolen) more than by the music itself. By cultural memory, I am referring to the almost hard-wired associations we have between things. In part this thought was sparked by the realisation that I enjoy some of the old hymns a lot more when they are set to a different style of music, such as when I first heard the Hymns Ancient & Modern album by the Passion band.

As part of the younger generation, certainly my own cultural memory of organ music is that of stuffy church services I couldn’t wait to escape. For an older generation, their collective cultural memory of guitars and drums is one of sex, drugs, and rock’n’roll. I wonder how my granny would react if we arranged some Chris Tomlin for the organ? Would it be a doorway to open up some wonderful modern hymns for an older generation, in the same way that arranging hymns such as Come Thou Fount for guitars has been for me?

So, what d’ya think? Crazy idea? Anyone tried anything like this?