I didn’t know until just now that the electronic musical instrument maker Roland values the Christian music industry so much they set up a dedicated website for worship technology: http://www.rolandinworship.ca
But something is a little disturbing when I read this from the Music Technology in Worship page:
Challenge: The keyboard player is not available for choir rehearsal.
Example: Use a digital recorder to record his performance earlier in the week and use the recording to supplement the live musicians during the rehearsal.
Okay, if digital substitutes are permissible for rehearsals, why not during live performances?
What does the physical presence of a worshipper mean anymore when we can recreate sounds that are just as good as a live performer?
Every single act of music playing, rehearsal or live, is an act of worship in the real presence of God. We need to develop a doxological theology of “now”, valuing the physical presence of the worshipping musician (i.e. right here, right now, in the present moment before God), before the convenience of technology replaces us in worship.
Now when we start having robotic musicians playing violin for us in the future…
… the interesting question becomes: Are these robots worshipping or not?