Tag Archives: worship

A&E, This Means War!

So I’m going to do exactly what the Bible and the Church teach me to do.

I’m going to pray for decision makers at A&E.

I’m going to pray for the Robertson family.

I’m going to pray for GLAAD.

I’m going to pray for the LGBT community.

I’m going to pray. And I’m going to worship. And I’m going to repent. And I’m going to commune. And I’m going to lift up my hands. And I’m going to sing Psalms. And I’m going to love my neighbors.

And I’m going to ask you to join me.

I’m not going to ask you to stop doing whatever else you might be doing: boycotting A&E, calling A&E, writing letters to A&E, emailing the Robertsons your support, or posting articles to your favorite social media streams. I am going to ask you to remember these other things too, though, and join me.

Why Church Music Has Changed

Music is wildly diverse. People’s tastes affect music, cultural influences affect music, wars affect music, philosophy and worldviews affect music, and–what should have been obvious to me and probably is to others–architecture affects music. The combination musical notes that would sound good in a gothic cathedral are different than the combination of musical notes that would sound good in a auditorium. Musicians know this and are affected either consciously or unconsciously by the architecture they are envisioning their music will be played.

Historically, the music being written for the Church and her worship was written for churches with a specific architecture–or at the very least a limited range of architectural designs. This led to a certain kind of music being produced.

Today, our churches meet in all manner of locations: gothic buildings, cafeterias, gymnasiums, homes, auditoriums, outdoors, storefronts, and who knows where else. Thus, the Church’s music is being written for what would be suitable in the majority of churches: the cafegymnatorium. And, thus, our music has changed drastically. Depending on your particular view of what Church music should be, it has either improved or declined. I lean toward the latter, but that isn’t the point. The point is that I know now what at least one of the influences have been for this.

David Byrne, of the Talking Heads, explains in this TEDTalk.

(HT: Caleb Skogen for the video and the thoughts.)

Scheduled Attention

My friend, Jacob, recounts how he grew up in a large family: four boys and two girls. Dad was busy, working hard to make money to pay for all of the stuff his boys broke: things, sometimes each other. He had a habit, however, of scheduling time, occasionally, to spend with his kids where they would have his full attention. Sometimes it was an all day affair, sometimes it was with the boys in the morning and the girls in the evening. But they always had his full attention, and he theirs.

That is what today is for us. God has scheduled this day that we might have his full attention, and he might have ours. Today, we spend the day with our Father. Part of this day includes an hour or so where we are gathered together in worship to renew that relationship with him. Today is our special day with God.

God’s Boot Camp

Worship is the time when God conforms us to the image of Christ. He does so by wrestling with us, just as he did Jacob. First, he calls us unto himself. Then, he reveals our sinfulness to us through his Word and we fall on our faces in repentance, just as every person in the Bible has when in the presence of the Almighty. Then, he forgives us our sins, and cuts us to pieces with his sword, the preached Word. Renewed, we offer to him the fruits of our labors, we eat with him, and then we are blessed and sent back out into the world by him.

The rest of the week, we are the image of Christ to this world. We call it to God. We confront it with its sin. We move them toward repentance and forgive their sins. We disciple them with the same sword. We bless them.

In a sense, worship is both something we offer to God, and something he does to us. It is a kind of boot camp for righting this world. Where do you train for this work?

Six Thoughts Toward a Christian Perspective on War

Many of my Christian friends, pastors and lay people alike, support the current hawkish views of the Republican and Democrat parties. I don’t and I’m trying to consider why that is from a Christian perspective. Here are my preliminary thoughts on the matter.

I think God, even in the OT, is fairly opposed to aggressive wars. Here’s why.

  • Israel never engaged in preemptive war, even in their taking of the Promised Land.

Joshua made war a long time with all those kings. There was not a city that made peace with the people of Israel except the Hivites, the inhabitants of Gibeon. They took them all in battle. For it was the LORD’s doing to harden their hearts that they should come against Israel in battle, in order that they should be devoted to destruction and should receive no mercy but be destroyed, just as the LORD commanded Moses (emphasis mine). Jos 11:18-20

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Family-Integrated Balance

There is a movement afoot in the Church. There are calls from various corners of the Church asking churches to integrate families into their worship. This is often referred to as Family Integrated Worship (FIW). Organizations like Vision Forum and the National Center for Family Integrated Churches are active promoters of FIW. Coincidentally, one can find a plethora of churches listed on the NCFIC website who have FIW. The movement is an important and necessary one. Documentaries (like Divided), studies, and books are available showing that non-FIW churches are losing their children faster than those with FIW. I applaud and affirm the work being done.

As can be expected, however, sometimes (often?) the Church swings too far in trying to react to and correct social and theological issues. This may be one of those times.

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