I’m finally back from a week off from blogging. As I explained here, part of my inability to blog for a while was busy-ness, part was computer problems, and part was burn-out from blogging every weekday for over half a year.
I’m thinking of taking a break for a couple weeks, once the Worship Wars are over, so I can get back into regular life, but today… let’s look at Red Mountain Church!
Red Mountain Church is a church based in Birmingham, Alabama, that places an emphasis on worship, particularly through hymns reworked to modern music. Read over their website to see their vision for their church and their city. It’s pretty cool stuff.
Anyway, they’ve got a pretty large body of musicians at the church who have collaborated to release five albums of those reworked hymns, and I think you should check them out.
I first heard of Red Mountain Church from Colossians Three-Sixteen, and they’ve become a mainstay in my listening. The music has a mixture of folk and country elements, but it’s not too heavy on either of those. They’ve really done a great job of creating fresh acoustic-based music that brings the hymns to life.
I’ve never survived in a church that sang hymns for more than a few months, but if the hymns were done like this, I may have stuck around a lot longer. Some of these songs have words that are incredible, and with the more modern music, it’s a great combination.
I don’t know about you, but I get tired of the ooey-gooey, overly touchy-feely modern worship scene. I like some of it, but I feel overwhelmed with mush at times. These old hymns don’t have that mush. They’re bold declarations of truth, and truth is what really sets you free.
Why have they chosen as a church to focus on hymns and not more modern music? As you can read here, it’s not because they think the only good kind of worship music is hymns but because hymns have a way of connecting us with our past, for one reason. To quote the site: “Singing hymns promotes the idea that a Christian is part of a historic family of believers, and they remind us that God’s gospel transcends time and place.” Another reason they do hymns is that, lyrically, they seem to be closer to the truth than many modern songs. As they state on their site, “Their words drip with truth and paint pictures of the kingdom that make believers long for heaven.”
I’m not dedicated to doing hymns all the time, but I don’t think it’s fair to just throw the whole lot out just because you want to do “contemporary” songs that may not be as good for worship. Especially when the music is redone, these old hymns can minister better than a lot of newer songs.
In closing, Red Mountain Church isn’t really a band. They describe themselves on their blog as “just a group of people who dig the depth and beauty of old hymns.” The group is spearheaded by Brian T. Murphy and Clint Wells, but they work with musicians from all over the country.
Below are two of my favorites from the B-sides, all freely downloadable here:
Note: All MP3s will be removed after one week