Okay. So Tony is up to part 3 of his twist posts. Philip takes over after this. He'll have positive and useful things to say.
But here are some of my thoughts. In list form, because I like lists.
1. If a song has nothing good or substantial to say, why would we sing it in church?
2. If a song makes me feel nothing, if it stays just words, why would I sing it in church?
3. Even when singing the best songs, it's hard to get into it if you feel exposed.
4. I feel exposed at church when there aren't many people, when we are spread out, and when we are poorly led.
5. I find it easy to get into the singing and think about what I'm singing when I'm led well - by the song leader up the front, by the musicians, by the sound guys, and by the people around me. (Twist pastor's conference last friday ticked all these boxes for me.)
6. I've been reading up on right brain / left brain stuff. All fascinating. Here's a pop psychology table about left-right hemisphere stuff.
This is not completely right, but it's true to some extent. What is undisputed amongst psychologists is that the left brain does verbal and the right brain does visual-spacial. Singing has verbal stuff, so the left brain is involved, but metaphors, images (and the music) fire up the right brain as well. I think this is why God wants us to sing. More of us gets involved...
I have no patience at all with any singing (or life) experience that remains left-brain. Words need to be transformed into something else... a picture, a possibility, a dream... for them to belong to me. But we are not all the same. There are many people out there who are strongly left brain dominant. Such people will need much less right-brain involvement to be satisfied.
7. I wonder if many of our arguments are actually just us expressing our left or right brain preference.
8. A really good song will have stuff to satisfy left and right brain dominant people. Take 'In Christ Alone' - There's a beautiful chain of logic to grip the left brainers, but there's also compelling pictures to draw in the rest of us.
9. In a doctrine text book, singing belongs in the 'church' chapter, not in the 'worship' chapter. It just does. (But let's not be smug about it.)
10. Singing in the new creation will be superb.