Dan Wilt’s Response To Worship Star by Shekelback (Updated as Mark Hamilton Joins the Conversation)


I’ve been in too many Facebook, YouTube and email dialogues about this vid to not blog it.

So what I’m going to do is post a few of my comments related to it, and you guys can tease it apart.

In all that is processed (real process) below, cheers and great respect to Mark Hamilton, who made the vid. I understand his reasons for creating it. It went viral (over 12, 500 views at this writing), and he wondered if it was still good to leave it out there. The short answer is “Yes,” the long answer is “It needs context, and one edit in the first 44 seconds would have kept it from confusing the point – the satire became about the artist’s heart – not the industry.” He made it for the youth. Cool. It doesn’t work the same way for me or many others. Cool, too.

But, listen to my process, before I knew the context. Context, my friends, is everything. Always put things in a context as you create, as you speak, as you act in the world. We’re limited beings; context is everything.

An Artist + Worship Songwriter In Process
I’m an artist and worship leader. I’ve received royalties through the years. Enough to help, but never enough to support a family. Today, at 44, I bust a gut continuing to serve and make a living, and some of my dearest friends are well-off worship songwriters. Name some of the worship influencers of the past 20 years, and many of them are peers and pals.

I also try to pastor and nurture this crazy tribe of artists, creatives and worship leaders of all ilks. I dig Mark Hamilton’s reason for creating the vid – I think it went beyond his target group and was possibly misinterpreted for a number of “right” reasons. But, even behind the misinterpretations, is something else that should be addressed today. The stir is a gift, and thus the vid’s viral spillover is a gift.

(Note: Again, I hope it helps some kids working through it – I’ve worked with hundreds in this age group today, and the industry has got them by the tail, for sure.)

Why Something Behind The Vid Doesn’t Hit The Mark
I love satire and even some caustic humor; it’s not my point. I’m a songwriter, artist, writer and recording guy. I did my projects with Vineyard Music, and now I work with hundreds (okay, maybe thousands) of artists, musicians and worship leaders. I write for my local church, for my community, for my soul’s health. I write artist songs, poetry and more, and I write worship songs to serve communities (All You Are and Apostles’ Creed are two of them).

My point, as you’ll see below, is that in the first 44 seconds the innocent (and even well-motivated) guy (Mark Hamilton) who made the vid unintentionally (or intentionally?) satired the heart of the artist to be faithful and responsible to calling, vocation and family in a confusing world. The industry wasn’t mocked – the heart of an artist was unintentionally cast in a dim light. Social commentary can bring change, but not usually to pastoral issues like these, I’ve found.

I’m glad Mark teased it out in a UK way (satire). Truth is, he did it for some misguided kids – so they probably are helped by it. Problem is, it’s going around to everyone who cares about worship, the arts and feeding their families.

Thanks bud – really. But, the “family thing” – you should have picked something else. See my process below – it’s meant to be pastoral to those caught in your “cool vid to make a point” accidental crossfire, and those involved in the industry for all the right reasons.

First the Video, Worship Star by Shekelback, Then Dan Wilt’s Process + Response


My First (pre-context) Response (or “Dan is unsure why he doesn’t like it, though he ‘gets it.'”)
Thanks for this (to the friends who sent it). Actually, I saw it awhile ago and had the opposite reaction to many. Many seem to think it’s funny.

I found it irritating for all the opposite reasons the vid’s creator intended (from what I read).

Not for what would seem like an obvious reason – the satire has foundation, I’m sure, for some people – possibly many.

Good satire should speak to those folks.

Given that it was not satire that made any sense to me, and had themes that I’ve heard so often from folks in a certain “state of mind” in their own leadership and journey, it reminded me of that “bad taste in my mouth.”

Everyone is finding this funny, I know. I’m wanting to move on.

Just thought I’d be honest, because so many are sending it around. It’s just not my tribe, and feels immature to me – like a poor attempt to suggest a problem in a society into which they are losing their credibility to speak by the nature of their approach.

When I figure out how to say why I’m tired by it, I’ll do a blog post or something. For now, it’s just the opposite of funny for me.

For the record.

I wonder why,


My Second (pre-context) Response (or “Dan is welcoming the possibility that Dan is being a bit of an idiot about this and should lighten up.”)
Today at 9:47am
Maybe I need some bling too, and that would help me to lighten up. Could be I care about a precious jewel, and don’t do sarcasm well surrounding it; could be I just hate the music. I welcome the possibility that it’s just personal. I just didn’t find anything about it funny, from the moment I clicked play. Unsure yet. I welcome insights.

Again, nothing personal for it being sent around, just found it the opposite of funny.

Love to all in the whole universe of creatures great and small, gerbils AND squirrels,


Third Response (pre-context) (or “Dan is getting closer to why it tweaked him.”)
Today at 1:18pm
Thanks for the response. I think if I try to describe anymore what bugs me about it in this thread will just be irritating to everyone. But, one last thought since I’m in the thread and here we are and I’m in a friggin’ airport waiting for a flight….
I’m a fun guy; I appreciate even the most caustic of humor. I don’t do conservative whining over every satirical poke at all things churchy. However, I’m very close to these issues of the heart poked at here, and those issues are both in me and thousands of leaders I serve through the years – satire brings helpful play and revelation to social situations – but not necessarily to pastoral ones. Hearts are often good when it comes to worship, artistic expression and money – the evil rampant is softer, and quite different, than in the rest of the non-faith based industry. Yes, ‘softer’ is the word I choose.

When the desire in every artist is to feed one’s family, with all the wishes, questions and longings, one should use tender gloves when wanting to bring change. It’s not about being pastoral vs. being prophetic – it’s more like being pastoral as opposed to being unaware.

So, for me, maybe the vid played hockey with issues in good but misguided hearts (issues not unfamiliar to me, and many great-hearted people I know); when I think pastoral counsel is not only more effective – but the only appropriate response in a challenging world.

Note: Again, I’m a fun guy; I ‘get it.’

But this clip didn’t hit home because “I deal with the issue at which it pokes” – it played harshly with men and women who actually love God, and are confused about how He provides for their families and lives. At 44, it’s still hard.

Then when I think about how much time and energy went into it, I wanted to go watch a movie and after some fun go and bring real change in camps of people who are trying really hard to stay faithful.

If anyone jumps off a building because of this, let me know – I’ll catch a flight and try to catch you before you splat.

Big tumbles through the mystery,


Dan’s Final Thought (post-context)
(or “Dan watched the vid again. Read the details as to why Mark made it. Figured out what ticked him off.”)
Today at 1:26pm
Added Note: Found my beef in the video. O Happy Day.

In the first 30 seconds, the lyric is:

“I want a royalty check big enough to raise a family.”

Lumped in with big houses in Nashville, and rock star dreams.

The satire is not about the industry – it’s about artists. Artists who are my friends are shown in the mix – it gives the vibe that they’re not someone to be seen as a hero – unintentional, maybe, but accomplished regardless.

A real artist wants to feed their family through their craft – it’s the gift wanting to be found faithful and at the same time be responsible. I’m glad some can – and hope they can navigate the heart issues.

So an artist is once again mocked for their desire to wed their craft with their faith and their income, but anyone else doing it is fine. I’ve heard that stuff for years, and I’m tired of it.

They (the vid maker) doesn’t have my ear, or my attention. It’s hollow on too many levels, and there are too many bones in the meat for me.



SO, cheers to Mark and the vid and thanks for poking at something. I guess good art always does that. Hopefully me adding my honesty, frustration and hope aids the process of serving a younger generation (and their youth pastors) that sometimes utterly miss the point. Heck, so do we.

Peace on,



Sheltering Mercy: Prayers Inspired by the Psalms

Sheltering Mercy, along with its companion volume, Endless Grace, helps us rediscover the rich treasures of the Psalms—through free-verse prayer renderings of their poems and hymns—as a guide to personal devotion and meditation.

The church has always used the Psalms as part of its prayer life, and they have inspired countless other prayers. This book contains 75 prayers drawn from Psalms 1-75, providing lyrical sketches of what authors Ryan Smith and Dan Wilt have seen, heard, and felt while sojourning in the Psalms. Each prayer is a response to the Psalms written in harmony with Scripture. These prayers help us quiet our hearts before God and welcome us into a safe place amid the storms of life.

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