What sort of God do we sing?

Photo from wonderlane

I am, as those who know me face to face will be aware, somewhat more than somewhat introverted. I have posted here before about how my (Western) culture is extroverted and favours extroversion. Introverted behaviour is seldom given equal oportuntity or space.

The other week I could not avoid thinking about that as we sang in church (yes, we go to an old fashioned church were the music from the worship leaders is quiet enough that usually the congregation actually participate by more than shuffling along) that today’s worship songs present God as a male extrovert. In our songs God is forever “marching into the land” at the head of his troops, always “answering” and solving our problems.

Then I came across a “humorous” post on Facebook of “male rules”, here are a selection:

  • Men ARE NOT mind readers.
  • Ask for what you want. Let us be clear on this one: Subtle hints do not work! Strong hints do not work! Obvious hints do not work! Just say it!
  • Come to us with a problem only If you want help solving it. That’s what we do. Sympathy is what your girlfriends are for.
  • Christopher Columbus did NOT need directions and neither do we.
    –don’t worry we will find it eventually.

It struck me that these sound a lot like the LORD described in the songs in church today. In prayer we have to tell him what we want, the last thing we say is “your will be done”. We don’t expect this LORD to merely be with us, or sympathise when we hurt, we expect a solution!

By contrast even a quick look at the old, tatty at the corners Baptist Hymn Book we used to use (a lifetime ago), and its collection of worship songs across the ages (basically 2nd to 20th centuries). Seem often content to spend time “waiting on God”, who presumably was not being pictured as an extrovert with an instant answer. In fact solutions were not always expected, but comfort was!

Perhaps, the God of the old hymns, the one the modern world has squeezed out and grown impatient with, seems more of an introvert, and more feminine than the LORD of the “contemporary” songs.

I think the less extrovert, less aggressively masculine, God of the hymns is both closer to the one whose story I read in Scripture, and more real, than the instant fix, loud, God I meet so exclusively1 in today’s songs and prayers…

What do you think?


  1. NB I am not here, or anywhere intentionally, arguing for replacing the male extrovert God with a female or introverted one, just for God to be allowed to be, and to be recognised as being a more balanced character! []

One comment on “What sort of God do we sing?

  1. Leadership College

    Great thoughts Tim.

    I feel that the words of worship sway from one pendulum to the next as one generation attaches to and connects with different aspects of scripture and God’s divine nature.

    I guess for me the deeper question is whether or not that it is a good thing, or at lease a neutral thing. That is to worship based around where we are at in life instead of the more even keeled notes the scriptures seem to sing.

    -Steven Records