Rod Dreher is not a fan of contemporary worship.
Last October, when I was out in Colorado Springs, I was amazed to spend time with Millennial Evangelicals and hear them talk about a deep frustration with the shallowness and transience of contemporary megachurch worship, and a longing for liturgy. Of course I welcome that news!
On the other hand, I worry about the bricolage approach to traditional worship — you know, the sensibility that says we can pull a little bit from here and a little bit from there, and cobble together something that seems ancient, and is pleasing to our tastes. Not sure how that works over time, cut off from a long tradition. I welcome the thoughts of Evangelicals and others who have experience with these questions.
One great value of traditional worship is that you never have to worry about going out of style, because you are always out of style — and that is a strength! When I was a Catholic, I groaned over the hymns we usually had to sing at mass, in particular the St. Louis Jesuit stuff that sounded like it was forever stuck in 1972. That kind of thing becomes dated very quickly, and sends a signal that Christianity itself is the kind of thing people whose minds are stuck in a particular time period and its culture cling to. Plus, changing music and worship style radically from generation to generation serves to cleave the worshiping community. A Southern Baptist friend of mine who loves Baptist hymns has stopped attending his church because he cannot bear that they’ve thrown out all the Baptist standards, and substituted it with vapid praise music, the sort of thing that is instantly forgettable, and that will be forgotten ten years from now.