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  • Betsy James

The Worst Medley Ever


I may be responsible for the most shameful, awful, never-been-worse medley of all time. It happened when I was forced to lead worship for a group of several hundred junior high students at a youth camp. When I say "forced" I mean my booking agent booked it and I needed the money. I was in my early twenties and still had a small amount of "cool factor" going for me but if you've heard any of my music you know it is better suited for coffee houses than herds of hormonal teenagers who want to jump to every song. I was way out of my element and trying my best to become the artist that the camp was hoping they hired. I had prepared worship set lists only to find out upon arrival that they were also hoping for a few cover songs. Um...okay... I didn't know a lot of popular cover songs (that inspired jumping) but I really wanted the camp to like me and the kids to see me as relevant so I did the dumbest thing imaginable. Seriously, I'm blushing even now...

I blended the songs "How Great Thou Art" and "Since You've Been Gone" by Kelly Clarkson. Yep. They were in the same key, could be done in the same tempo, and I knew how to sing the chorus. That is the only part of this decision that makes any sense AT ALL. I'd like to take this moment to apologize to everyone everywhere for creating the most awkward medley of all time. And even though I died a bit inside, the kids screamed and jumped when we broke into the pop-song and the camp rehired me for more camps. Ugh.

As I was recalling this horrible memory, it had me thinking, "How many times do I try to blend faith and pop-culture so that I can please the masses?" Think about it, the Bible clearly teaches that God created us with specific purposes in mind - that we are from Him and through Him and to Him - and yet we say things like, "This is your life and you are the author of your story. Only you can decide who you are and what you're for." Those statements aren't the same and it's awkward when we try to sing them both together.

Or how about issues like the sanctity of life or homosexuality or creation or marriage or money? The Bible and the culture both have A LOT to say about these issues and it is super awkward watching Christians try and blend both views together. Sometimes you need to just pick one side or another because if not, you'll end up making the worst medley ever and nobody wants to buy that song.

In short, we shouldn't try to adapt our theology or worship to please the masses - even if that pays off short-term. In the end, it is better to be poor and alone and singing "How Great Thou Art" the way it was meant to be sung - at the top of your lungs, with all your heart. Jumping optional.

Psalm 139:23-24

Search me, O God, and know my heart! Try me and know my thoughts!

And see if there be any grievous way in me,

and lead me in the way everlasting!


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