Copied over from another discussion list. I'm responding to the person in italics.
In my experience too much of the church service is performance based, so we've lost the ability as an audience to make any meaningful distinction between performance and service, so we might as well go whole hog and just judge the participants on their performance rather than their heart. But as I've gotten older, I've been drawn increasingly to liturgical services in part because most protestant American churches that I've visited have not retained any vestige of the pulpit (much less the sanctuary) as a sanctified place.
In my opinion, performance comes with the territory, whether the church musicians are playing electric guitars or wearing matching gold robes in the choir. I don’t know how you escape that. I just think some people prefer certain types of performances (without acknowledging that they are, in fact, performances) rather than others, and that they are more likely to label what they don’t like in church music as “performance.” I know that personally, as a non-liturgical rock ‘n roll snob, I’ve seen some amazingly ostentatious, offputting performances involving virtuoso pipe organ. But that’s also my bias peeping through.
I also wonder about the notion of church as a sanctified place. For many people (an increasing number in our post-Christian culture), churches don’t represent something that is “sanctified”; they represent something that is “foreign.” To ask an unchurched member of our society to attend church, when their primary knowledge of Christianity consists of occasional glimpses of whatever ranting, toupeed televangelist they happen to skip by as they are channel surfing, is to ask that person to step deep into the unknown, the threatening, and the weird. And as hard as it is for liturgical types to understand, for this audience responsorial readings and four verses of “Come Thou Font of Every Blessing” are no less weird than Tuvan Throat Singing or taking a stroll over hot coals.
God is holy. And I struggle with the “you ‘n yer cosmic buddy” approach used by many seeker-sensitive churches too. But I wonder how effective a focus on church as a “sanctified place” can be. To ask the unchurched part of our society to step into a place of stained glass windows, massive pulpits, pews, and 80-foot pipe organs (with portentous Telemann and Buxtehude antiphonal and recessional hymns) is to ask them to lose their minds. It’s not going to happen. Like it or not, people raised on rock ‘n roll are going to be more receptive to a message if it is presented within the context of rock ‘n roll (or at least mid-'70s Fleetwood Mac tambourine shaking pop), and they’re not going to be able to relate, at all, to the same message if it is dressed up in what many consider to be an antiquated and irrelevant form. I’m not suggesting that that is so; I’m only noting what I suspect is a fairly common response.
I also question the implied dichotomy between the presumably more sanctified church service vs. the rest of life. Rather than setting aside an hour or an hour and a half per week as sanctified, and therefore excluding the garage band approach as somehow inferior to that goal, why can’t we bring the sanctified approach to the garage, and expect Christian rock ‘n roll musicians to play punk rock for the glory of God? I don’t believe that the world needs more punk CCM bands. But I do believe that Christians musicians can and should play any style/genre of music as an act of worship, and that there’s no reason why a particular genre should be excluded from the sanctuary.
The whole world is a sanctified place – every nook and cranny of it. We don’t need to compartmentalize it, and I’m all in favor of breaking down those walls and inviting those who feel threatened, weirded out, and distrustful of the artificial world of church in to a place where they can be welcomed, and can play amidst the holiness.