12.03.2005

emo driven life

"Every man has a Jessica Simpson fantasy. Here's mine: Jessica, hold your sister Ashlee down so I can kick her in the throat!"
Dave Attell

I'm not a huge Ashlee Simpson fan. I definitely don't dislike her as much as Dave here does, but I'm not lining up to buy her CD or Tivo'ing her latest reality show, so when the latest issue of Blender showed up with her on the cover I almost didn't open it up. I somehow got a complimentary subscription to this magazine, probably because I subscribe to other music mags like Rolling Stone. Anyway, I haven't been all that impressed with the writing or the reviews so I rarely even open up the magazine when it arrives. Last night I had some time to kill so I flipped through the pages and came across an article entitled "Emo Driven Life". Much to my surprise this secular magazine had an eight page spread on the worship team "Team Strike Force" of Mars Hill Church in Seattle! I've never seen this much attention given to a church organization (other than maybe Saddleback, or Willow Creek) in a secular publication. The article was surprisingly complimentary too! It even had a nifty little timeline that featured the history of Rock n' Roll in the church.
The best entry in the timeline was this: "Circa A.D. 30; Jesus establishes rock & roll credentials by hanging out with a prostitute, Mary Magdalene, and turning water into wine at a party. Your move Tommy Lee..."
The article talked a bit about the Church, the pastor, and the different worship teams that lead at Mars Hill.

Here's a small excerpt: "A thousand people are on their feet for Team Strike Force tonight. The band, in Converse and corduroy, smash out the power chords of an emo anthem. 'Give me a heart, a heart that is full,' moans Luke Abrams, his dirty blonde bangs flopping over his brow, his slight frame bent rapturously back. Matt Johnson smacks down the drums, sweat dampening his Dischord Records T-shirt. The room shakes with the crowd's singing. Hands raise invisible lighters aloft. This moment should be followed by cold beers in the dressing room as Dave Grohl drops by to say hello, a couple of skater babes in tow. But in the green room at this particular venue, none of that awaits. There is a deli tray with olives and turkey sandwiches, but the only alcohol is a chalice of sacramental wine resting next to a worn Bible on a side table.

'Our church attracts the young, urban, hip, arty, cool, play-guitar-on-the-weekend, workin'-a-desk-job-during-the-week, people. Some have grown up with church experience. But most haven't been for a couple years. This is cool enough that they can relate.'
'Many of us were going to churches where the music was cookie cutter and dry' says Claudine, 31, who's been attending Mars Hill for three years. 'Team Strike Force is something we can understand.' Pastor Mark Driscoll and his team of church elders have invested much thought and energy in making the physical environment of worship one where people like Claudine feel not only comfortable but impressed.
Everything in this vast former hardware store is sleek and modern, even the church motto: MEANING. BEAUTY. TRUTH. COMMUNITY. Aside from a distressed-metal cross that looks more like a design element than an icon and the shifting images on the 'digital stained glass' video screens, this could be any room Fall Out Boy would play on a nationwide tour."

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CLICK HERE to check out Mars Hill's website. Click on the downloads button to listen to music from Team Strike Force.

17 comments:

Katie H said...

that dave attel quote is classic. I almost threw up when I saw the cover of Blender. I told a co-worker that i was going to write "I quit" across her chest on the magazine and throw it on my boss's desk for having to sell such tom foolery. On the other hand, that article sounds pretty sweet. I'll have to check that band out. My old church tried to break away from the "cookie cutter" music thing, but it just ended up sounding like my grandma with two turn tables and a microphone.

jimmy said...

and just clap your hands, and just clap your hands...

lee said...

good stuff jimmy...

mars hill is a pretty cool place...

i was there last nov for the radical reformission conference w/piper, seay & driscol...

his is a great book too...

check it out...

that is, after you finish clapping...

Jeremy said...

Our senior pastors visited Mars Hill a couple of months ago. They loved the style and the atmosphere but felt the worship lacked a 'presence of God', and it felt a little too much like a performance. Different perspectives of course but It's hard to know without taking in a few services and not even being there myself but I've heard a few recordings and it sounds pretty cool.

We had our church music team christmas bbq yesterday and about halfway through all the cokes had run out and there was only fruit juice and beer left in the cooler. I was waiting for Dave Grohl but he never showed up ... shame.

Katie H said...

i can definitely identify with the last comment. the church i was talking about in my first comment definitely took worship to a "performance" level. they hired professional musicians and everything was flawless and over rehearsed (i know because i was a part of it for a while). . not saying that worship needs to be led by those with crappy voices and that there need to be mess ups in order for it to be authentic. It's just more about if the music allows you to be open to worship. That whole different strokes for different folks thing. I saw Switchfoot live last year and it was one of the most authentic moments of worship I had had in a long time.

Dan Price said...

That's awesome dude. I visited Mars Hill last year and we do a few Team Strike Force songs at our church. Is that article online at all?

jimmy said...

No they didn't post the article onine. Which songs do you guys do?

Anonymous said...

This is cool, although I fear the extreme version. A church that seems to try to set an "image" to attract people never seems to authentic. Without authenticity, people leave after a while. But hey, at least the church had the image.

Anonymous said...

That last comment was by Stephen.

ben said...

I have to wonder what END these kinds of churches are seeking by using these MEANS to attract people.

That aside, I used to be an active part of a church that could only be described as authentic.
It was authentic because every service was like we were starting at the bottom and working our way up, it was this way each and every Sunday and it was beautiful.
This Beautiful and Authentic way of serving God went on for a few years until the church came into a little bit of money due to some very kind-hearted and well-to-do people who wanted to see our church "Do more for the community"...

From that point on our little church services just didn't seem good enough or polished enough or organized enough for the pastor of that church or the board that suddenly was involved in the way the church was run...

Long story short - that church is just like a million other churches now, authenticity is still a word that is used to describe the church but it feels forced; like a fat man trying to fit into a child’s coat and seem natural about it.

Jeremy said...

Just thinking aloud here, but do those of you who have been part of both smaller and larger churches think that the small churches, without the means for big stages, lighting, huge sound systems etc and possibly only a piano and slightly-out-of-tune-guitar tend to be more authentic than those with the means for a huge performance?

Jeremy said...

... in addition, I've been part of 2 larger churches. One ended up being far too slick and perfect, which is one of the reasons we left, and the other is a lot more real, has awesome musicians but little focus on presentation and arrangement and is usually a more authentic worship time.

TGL said...

Having been a part of smaller churches and a couple of large ones, I really do not think that "authenticity" comes from the size one way or the other. I do love the large church I am a member of partly because of the different types of worship we can do because of our size and resources. I was in the choir for a number of years and so sang many traditional songs and hymns and loved that type of worship some of the time, and other times it didnt speak to my heart. I now normally attend our contemporary service and find the music quite nice, and it brings me to His throne. The authenticity seems to me to come from the overall tone and attitude, not the style or size of the place.

One of the awsome things about being at a large church is the opportunity to worship together with 2000 or more fellow believers on a regular basis. It is so uplifting to my soul, and I trust God to be working in the hearts of others as well as we all seek to worship Him.

Jarred D said...

love the dave attel quote, who can't relate to that? its just bewildering how complicated worship gets when its organized/coordinated. it seems like the end result is always a corporate body experience, not a personal one. with all the peer approval seeking this perpetuates its a wonder any worshiping gets done at all.

Dan Price said...

we do "at your feet", "infinite divine", and "deep".

Jedi said...

I live in Tucson, but have visted Marshill many times. I started visiting when they only had 150 people or so. Marshill has never been about performace. They just have a bunch of good musicians. Anyway, if people are watching you play music or preach, even if they are participating - it is a performance. God used Mark, Team Strike Force, Paul Mossbarger, and Brad Currah(all marshillians) to give me hope that somewhere people where really thinking about how to be missional and not attractional. My church plays only stuff we have written and marshill music. We do most of Team Strike Forces' stuff.

Anonymous said...

I used to go to mars hill when they were in a small theator called the paradox where I saw Team Strike Force for the first time. To be honest after the second song I was hooked on the curch. I was so used to over perfection no sence of direction, pander to every one, just for show, cookie cutter mush that many churches try to pass off as worship music today, that I instantly fell in love with there style of music.
Then Pastor Mark got up and deliverd a sermon on a proverbs that was very impressive. Mainly because he did not shy away from topics you would never think to here in a Chruch. Yet are things that people struggle with every day. As far as Team Strike Force. Very authentic. Very good musicians with there own style yet one of the first times I had listened to a band that was very in touch with indie rock.

They are not perfect, but between a collection of old hymns such as "all creatures of our God and King" and newer songs like "the deep" it was one of the best worship experiences I have ever had. Whenever I go back to Seattle to visit family I allways make it a point to stop by that Chruch

I went to a chruch this morning called new Life in colorado Springs,which absolutely dwarfs marshill with a profetional hired band.
All though the sermon was all right, the worship was so bland and un-origional that it was making me sick. No substance, no melody and the one hymn they did sing they ruined by an intergected "chorus" that was as uninteresting as a plate full of tofu

To adress what some people said about marshill being "for show" nothing could be further from the truth. As Blender magazine said these guys all had good bands going for them. They don't get paid, they just simply love, Jesus and want to to lead others in worship.