Monday, December 08, 2003

How Loud is Too Loud?

I just got back from a weekend retreat. It was nice, with good worship times, but the music was rather loud for my taste.

It got me thinking. People have long argued about whether certain types of music are Christian or un-Christian - I'm okay with just about any kind of music - but my weekend experience makes me wonder if there is a Christian music volume. And I kinda think there is.

Perhaps the upper limit on volume should be before it becomes so loud that people run the risk of physically damaging their ears. It seems un-Christian that attending a worship service should cause people physical harm.

Also, during the retreat I noticed that no matter how loudly I sang the lyrics, I frequently couldn't hear a word that came out of my mouth because of the volume of the music. It was as if I was just silently mouthing the words. I found this unsatisfying. I want to feel as if I am involved in the music, and if my small efforts in that regard are overwhelmed by the musicians up front, it leaves me a bit disappointed.

So I'd propose a second principle: If the congregation can't hear themselves sing, it's too loud.

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