Dynamic Tension

The Christian faith is full of tensions, between the law and grace, between judgment and mercy, between the divinity and humanity of Jesus, between free will and the sovereignty of God, and between the “already” and the “not yet,” to name but a few. It is as simplistic and counterproductive to attempt to resolve these tensions by advocating an insipid, trite, “one size fits all” theology, as it is arbitrary and presumptuous to recognize only one end of the continuum as the ultimate truth of God. In the theology and practice of worship, as in all these areas, Christians must learn to live with dynamic tensions. To do so is not only possible, it is preferable, for it is only in honestly wrestling and interacting with a spectrum of truth that is beyond our current finite comprehension that we keep our faith alive and active, that we keep our theology humble and faithful, and that we keep our practice relevant and honouring to God. All this is particularly true in the contentious area of worship music styles and practices. . . .

If Yahweh, the true and living God, the King of kings and Lord of lords, is the audience, and we are the performers, then we must approach worship with infinitely more humility and reverence. . . . If we accept this paradigm of worship, then we will be far more able and willing to compromise in the positive sense: to keep these tensions in dynamic, constructive balance. We will be more able to celebrate the diversity of our fellow-believers and to integrate their modes of worship with our own, without resorting to divisiveness and exclusiveness, extremism or simplistic solutions.

–Mary L. Conway, “Worship Music: Maintaining Dynamic Tension,” McMaster Journal of Theology and Ministry 7 (2006): 133, 156  www.mcmaster.ca/mjtm/pdfs/vol7/MJTM_7-7_Conway.pdf