Eminem the Theologian

Zac HicksArt and Worship, Culture1 Comment

I recently posted over at LIBERATE on Eminem’s brilliant new album, The Marshall Mathers LP2. Art historian and cultural analyst at King’s College, Dan Siedell, has encouraged me of late to more honestly listen to the way art deals with dark themes. And Andy Crouch, who spoke at this year’s Liberate Conference, encouraged much of the same. I was blown away by the artistry and poignancy of the first song on Eminem’s album, and I quickly realized that it was … Read More

“Art Diagnoses Me” and Other Fabulous Thoughts

Zac HicksArt and WorshipLeave a Comment

I recently watched this 45-minute lecture by my friend, Dan Siedell, and I found it challenging, compelling, and fresh. He gives a very different angle on how Christians think about art and its purpose(s). I don’t hear others talking like this. It’s vulnerable and autobiographical, but its points aren’t just subjective musings. Teasers: What Dan describes as “art interpreting me” gets at art’s prophetic role in our lives, causing us to question ourselves, analyze ourselves, as it forth-tells truths to … Read More

How One Worship Pastor Prepares for a Performance of Handel’s Messiah

Zac HicksArt and Worship, Worship and Pastoral Ministry, Worship Leading TipsLeave a Comment

This Friday, at Coral Ridge, choirs from our church and and school (Westminster Academy) will join some of South Florida’s finest soloists, some of the best players from Miami’s musical scene, and organist Chelsea Chen to perform what will no doubt be a stellar interpretation of G. F. Handel’s Messiah. They will be conducted by Renee Costanzo, director of the choral program at Westminster Academy. The longer I dabble in this field of “Worship & Arts,” the clearer sense I get … Read More

Defending the Musical Simplicity of Worship Songs

Zac HicksArt and Worship, Songwriting7 Comments

From several directions is sometimes heard the critique that “all modern worship songs sound the same”–the same four chords, the same trite melody, the same form, the same epic rise and fall.  Songwriters like me, when sitting down to put pen to paper on a musical staff, feel these critiques both consciously and subconsciously. We feel pressure to come up with something new, fresh, and different.  So we try to think outside of the conventional box of chords and progressions … Read More

Doxology & Theology – FREE Book Giveaway!

Zac HicksArt and Worship, Worship & Mission, Worship and Pastoral Ministry, Worship Resources, Worship Theology & Thought3 Comments

Doxology & Theology Released May 1, 2013 I’m pleased to announce the release of Doxology & Theology: How the Gospel Forms the Worship Leader, edited by Matt Boswell and authored by some of my favorite worship leaders in the US.  I had the privilege of contributing a chapter on how the Worship Leader is shaped by the Trinity, synthesizing important theological reflections on what it means to be truly Trinitarian in our worship.  This book is by worship leaders, for worship … Read More

Why the Spirit is the Artist’s Best Friend

Zac HicksArt and Worship, Worship Theology & Thought1 Comment

“May Hour of Pentecost,” by Makoto FujimuraBringing Life & Bringing Beauty There is an interesting link worth pondering between the Holy Spirit’s creative and aesthetic roles.  Scripture speaks often of the unique role of the Spirit in vivifying—bringing life.  Job 33:4 exclaims, “The Spirit of God has made me; the breath of the Almighty gives me life.”  Isaiah prophesies, “The Spirit is poured upon us from on high, and the desert becomes a fertile field, and the fertile field seems … Read More

Gratuitous: We Worship as God Creates (Part 2)

Zac HicksArt and Worship, Worship Theology & Thought3 Comments

Gratuitous beauty one Sunday at Coral RidgeIn the previous post, we explored the shocking gratuity of God’s beauty displayed in the earth.  We discussed how the Trinity’s lavish outpouring of excessive beauty should be reflected in our worship, because our worship reflects our God.  We now briefly turn to the pragmatics of how we as worshipers and worship leaders might see that gratuitous beauty come to life in our churches. Toward a Way Forward Here are some thoughts, off the … Read More

Gratuitous: We Worship as God Creates (Part 1)

Zac HicksArt and Worship, Worship Theology & Thought2 Comments

God’s Gratuitous Beauty – courtesy of National GeographicTrinitarian Gratuity I’ve been getting a lot of spiritual mileage off reflecting on the Trinity, and Michael Reeves’ little book, Delighting in the Trinity,* has been the source of a lot of it.  I’ll no doubt be jamming on several Trinity-related posts over the next few weeks and months. Reeves discusses the Trinity’s fountain-like qualities—a relationship overflowing with so much love that it spills outward in perpetual giving.  Creation itself, he describes, is … Read More

What Modern Edgy Worship Leaders Can Learn From Modern Edgy Painters

Zac HicksArt and Worship, Church & Ecclesiology, Convergence of Old and New in Worship, History of Worship and Church Music, Songwriting1 Comment

Frank Stella, Untitled (1967), from Black Series IIMy new colleague at Coral Ridge, Daniel Siedell (author and curator of Liberate), has a terrific series of posts over at Patheos on “The Poetics of Painting.”  In the final installment, Siedell examines modern painter, Frank Stella, and his minimalist paintings from the 1970s, rehearsing questions about how a modern minimalist, who painted simple, repeated stripes on a canvas, could have been so enamored, enthralled, and informed by the tradition of painting that had come … Read More

Why We Choose to Still Print Bulletins in a Green World

Zac HicksArt and Worship, Worship Theology & Thought12 Comments

It’s common in our day and age to get our chops busted when we waste paper.  More and more, organizations are pushing toward a paperless work environment.  Besides cutting down printing and hard material costs, it’s obviously better for the environment. Churches use this same reasoning to advocate for worship services which are more projection-and-screen-based.  If they print anything for their service-goers, it’s often a simple half-sheet piece of paper.  Some, I have heard, even allow you to view the … Read More