This morning I filled in for the worship pastor at church and needed to fix up some of the powerpoint slides for the service. I got to the second verse of one of the songs and had a mini panic attack. Not because I forgot the words, but because I forgot how to spell the words.
The line was supposed to be “I was lost in utter darkness till you came and rescued me.” Easy enough until you think about the other word that sounds like “utter.”
That’s right: udder.
Which one was it? I know that one of them means that something is complete and absolute. The other is cow boobs. And for the life of me I couldn’t remember which one it was!
I needed to figure it out quick or I was in trouble. That would seriously change the meaning of the song! What would being lost in udder darkness be like? I udder at the thought of that! (See how I turned that into a clever pun?)
So I went with my “utter” and prayed for it to be the right one. Even as I sang the word I hoped against hope that it was correct.
I got lucky that time. But there have been other times when I have not been so fortunate. It got me thinking about one of the most overlooked problems we worship leaders face every single week:
Yes. These subtle worship distractions can derail a service pretty quickly. But not all typos are created equal. They can range from the innocuous to the borderline heretical. I have done my best to categorize them for helpful reference.
So here is my list of the four basic powerpoint flubs:
1) The “Honest Mistake”
The “Honest Mistake” is just that, an honest mistake. This one just slipped by unnoticed and doesn’t cause much harm. But still, you are hoping this typo ends up on the slide that is only shown once. Examples include:
“My God is mighty to sve. He is mighty to save.”
“Shout to the Lord! All the earth let us sig”
Distraction Danger: low in a verse, high in the chorus due to the repeat factor.
Who will notice: Pretty much everyone, but they will forgive you and show you grace because, hey, who hasn’t made an honest mistake?
Solution: Just look over the slides before you start. You will probably catch all of thm.
2) The “English 101”
This typo might fly over some church members’ heads, but it will punch others right in the eyeballs. The “English 101” is when you use a word that sounds like the right one but is spelled differently and has a different meaning. The technical term for this is a heterograph. People make these mistakes all the time. Examples include:
“Your the God of this city. Your the King of these people.”
“You are beautiful beyond description / To marvelous for words”
“How grate is are God”
Ok, that last one was a little over the top but I was just emphasizing my point.
Distraction Danger: Moderate. You can hope that most people don’t know the difference. But those who do notice will really notice!
Who will notice: Grammar Nazis, English teachers, Snarks (What is a snark you may ask? A snark is the snooty hipster cousin of the Smurf and Snork.). But you know who won’t notice? Spell Check.
Solution: Get one of the aforementioned Grammar Nazis to proofread the words. On second thought, go with the English teachers. Their going to be less snarky.
3) The “Misheard Lyrics”
Never trust your ears when you write down song lyrics. Mishearing the words to songs is a time-honored tradition in our culture. Worship lyrics are every bit as susceptible to the occasional mishearing as your average Elton John song. Seriously, does anyone really know what that guy is singing about?
Sometimes this can be a simple confusion between “grace” and “praise.” Other times, it gets more serious. Examples include:
“Thy power and thine alone can change the leopard’s spots and melt the heart of stone.”
“I was lost in udder darkness till you came and rescued me”
Correct me if I am wrong, but didn’t Jesus heal lepers? I suppose God could change the leopard’s spots if he wanted to but why would we sing a worship song about that?
Distraction Danger: Moderate. Most of the time the word won’t change the song much. But if you aren’t careful, you get lost in the terrifying darkness of bovine mammary glands.
Who will notice: People who know the lyrics, leopards.
Solution: Look up the lyrics. Seriously. Look up the lyrics.
4) The “Accidental Heretic”
Ooh, this is a bad one. This typo not only changes the meaning of the phrase you are singing, it changes the entire theology of the song! You were typing up this week’s slides and accidentally hit the wrong letter on the keyboard changing the word “grave” to “grace.” This typo transforms a wonderful line like, “empty cross, empty grave” to the baffling:
“Empty Cross, Empty grace.”
Who's bright idea was it to put the “V” key right next to the “C” key anyway?
Or we could take a look back at "Shout to the Lord." Suddenly a "g" becomes the difference between a powerful call to worship the Lord and an invitation into Ke$ha-esque debauchery.
"Shout to the Lord all the earth let us sin!"
Distraction Danger: High. Pray that your church doesn’t still practice that whole burning at the steak thing.
Who will notice: The Senior Pastor, elders, armchair theologians, anyone who has a remote understanding of basic Christian doctrine, and the Spanish Inquisition.
Solution: Submit your Powerpoint slides to a rigorous Scriptural analysis. Does the word of God confirm what you have typed? Test the spirits. Pray for wisdom. Consult those who are older and wiser than you in spiritual matters. If necessary, recant and confess your sins.
Actually, just look up the lyrics and proofread it. You’ll be fine.
So those are the four Powerpoint typos.
Did I miss any?
What are the best worship typos you have seen?