Brother David! Good morning from California. "Jesus Christ, the greatest story ever sold."
Oh, my, you did say that, didn't you?
Side note: by the way, yes, 1st century Christians had a great word for what you just said, a great Greek word. "χριστέμπρός," or for our Roman brothers and sisters, Christempros. What does it mean? Well, we know the word "Christ." After that there is "-empros." Buried in there is a word we know, but we might not know that we know it. "-empros," as in "emporium."
There are two words in the New Testament for "California Shopping Mall," "agora" and "emporium." Agora is community "market-center." Emporium, however, is "international trade center." Related to that, 1st century Christians had a term for people who were "Christ-Traders," as if they were Merchants of Jesus, selling him for import, export, and domestic consumption. No, sir, it was not very polite at all. Even been walking down a street in New York when the guy shouts out, "Hey, sailor, where's your date?!" That is exactly the tone that Greek word carried.
That aside, -
Brothers and sisters, I have a confession to make, I have tried, and tried, and tried to join and be a member of one of these huge Christian churches like in David's picture. Yes, time and time again, I have tried to squirm past the music and just try to appreciate it and celebrate God in all ways with all people. Brothers and sisters, my confession is this. I cannot stand the electric guitar. I am sorry. I cannot get past it, and I can get past a lot of stuff. It is perhaps a cultural thing. I prefer musical instruments that put me in direct harmony with God's total creation, the sympathetic harmony of God's total Cosmos. You are probably right; it is probably a cultural thing.
So, it isn't just the format that I cannot get my spirit and soul wrapped around, it is the instruments that they got from a North Korean prison yard sale that they use to make that racket.
1) It is entertainment, and God would probably rather have me help row than just watch the trireme go by.
2) It is musical elitism, but God wants all his children to have an opportunity to be in the band.
3) These "Cruise Ship Churches" only play one, that is one type of Christian music - theirs, and they do not value, accept, or open their doors and hearts to Christian music from other, more culturally diverse Christians.
Find me one of these huge Cruise Ships for Christ things that has ever invited a group of monks to sing in Aramaic and I'll paint the building. Why can't I walk into one of these places on Wednesday night to come and pray and then listen to some sisters sing who are from war-torn Lebanon? Why? Simple reason, their hearts are closed to outsiders.
4) It is entertainment for only a certain type of Christian, not all Christians.
When I go to fellowship and there is a guest speaker, I want to learn to sing the Lord's Prayer in Chinese, the way it is sung secretly in Chinese work camps.
I am sorry. Forgive me, but it isn't just the electric guitar. Although to my naive ears it sounds like a steel gauntlet on a black chalkboard, also it is that I have been Graced to visit small, secret Fellowships where everyone there sang very quietly, and it was a prayer. I once was taken to a home in the Middle East where the only place they could baptize each other was in the home's shower.
I could be wrong, so please forgive me. But I sense these musical shows are a manifestation of post-Reformation yew-yoga where you "sit, receive, and give money." I guess, - that isn't what I feel God has shown me what Christ and Christianity are actually all about. Matthew 10:1-12. It wasn't about "sitting, receiving, and giving money." It seems to me that Jesus was all about "going, sharing, and giving one's heart."
Paul said to "fight a good fight." Is that a mistranslation? Did Paul really say, "Sit a good sit?" Well, I have looked at that and "fight a good fight" is a pretty good translation, although anemic. The context means a cestus, put on the cestus, wrap your knuckles in iron straps, and get in the arena.
I honestly don't think that it is judging another person's form of worship, although some may feel that way. I think it is merely looking at scripture and looking for our own lives for what means what, and what is it specifically that God wants from us as unique individuals in his name to do.
The leadership of these places are just trying to make Byzantine Apollo Day, 10:00 AM to 12: 00 PM, Apollo's Hour (Law passed in 321 AD), more enjoyable. In my case, I don't just reject the music. I reject the paper that the music is written on.