The Original Psalmist Was an Angsty Hipster

Posted by on Mar 13, 2012 in Church Music, Psalms, Songwriting | 2 Comments

Much of the church music we sing on Sundays is inspired by the Psalms.

Typically, from a single verse. Typically, from near the end of the Psalm.

The only problem with this approach is that the entire Psalm is the song – written by one of the original songwriters, King David.

And when we pull a single beautiful line from the Psalm, and center a new song around it, we lose all context of the original.

Because often in the Psalms, David expressed doubt. Fear. Anger. Confusion.

Real emotions. The reality of his heart in the midst of the reality of his circumstances. And only after that emotional release – his honesty before God – is he eventually able to return to a realization of the sovereignty of God – the love of God – despite his circumstances. And give us those beautiful one-liners we focus our songs around today.

But we have removed the prelude. The doubt. The fear. The anger. The confusion.

Because those emotions seem inappropriate for Sunday morning. Yet, they are real.

There are those of us who wish our church music would revert back to the glorious hymns of the past. I want to go back much further – to a time when the original Psalmist was writing angsty hipster music – and bring back true outcry to the modern worship experience.


  1. Joel Strode
    March 14, 2012

    I was just thinking about this the other day. I think its hard to believe sometimes that the Holy Spirit is actually with us but Christians want to make it look easy when we know that we struggle with it too. I think by focusing on those one liners, we almost fool ourselves into thinking its easy and simple when we clearly know about the struggles and difficulties it brings into a world where doubt is constantly showering us. Including those lines and ideas of fear, anger, and doubt into new worship music is definitely something I’d like to see.

  2. Eric Olsen
    March 14, 2012

    Right, my main concern is whether or not the average person can sing these lyrics honestly – are they accurate reflections of their heart?

    But, the most common criticism I’m getting against my premise is, “that’s not what ‘corporate worship’ is all about”. And I’m not sure what to do with that. Maybe they’re right. Maybe I’m trying to let the activity within ‘corporate gatherings’ be broader than they’re supposed to be?