Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ category

Singing with Rationality

August 10, 2011

Today some of us discussed for a short time the pros and cons of what one of us called “Mantra Music”. He was describing the songs which go on for an extended time and repeat the same words over and over.

Something my son David wrote recently on his blog (aroundcambridge.org) jumped out at me and I wanted to put it before you. In his blog post, he lamented the fact that Christianity is often viewed by unbelievers as an irrational leap of faith. This leap has no rational basis, as the unbeliever sees it. People just “check their brain” and believe.

Is it possible that our aversion to “Mantra Music” is that it is often times “check your brain” music. It doesn’t say anything (at least after a while) and appears to have no rational basis for being sung. In Scripture, people often cry out, “The Lord Is Good!” For example, take the 5th verse of Psalm 100:

Psalm 100:5 5 For the LORD is good and his love endures forever; his faithfulness continues through all generations.

Here is a truth that loses its rationality if we just sing it over and over without connecting it to the first four verses:

Psalm 100:1-4 NIV Psalm 100:1 A psalm. For giving thanks. Shout for joy to the LORD, all the earth. 2 Worship the LORD with gladness; come before him with joyful songs. 3 Know that the LORD is God. It is he who made us, and we are his; we are his people, the sheep of his pasture. 4 Enter his gates with thanksgiving and his courts with praise; give thanks to him and praise his name.

There are at least three other ways music (both old and new) can demonstrate an irrational tone. First, we can sing about things that can’t really be true. Songs about touching God, for example, are not true to reality. I know that we can sing metaphor, but some songs speak about wanting to reach out and touch God and say that we love him. We can’t. We appear to have “checked our brains.”

Another example is the song that talks about how we pledge our love or service beyond what we really, rationally can or do actually do. One song I know ends with the line, “I will always love you with everything I am.” No unbeliever believes that believers do that, and no believer should either. God always loves us, but we are often not loving to Him. Why sing that when we know it isn’t true?

Finally, there are words in songs that just don’t mean anything (at least to me). I like the song, “How Great is Our God,” until the end of the second verse:
And age to age He stands
And time is in His hands
Beginning and the End
Beginning and the End
The Godhead three in one
Father Spirit Son
The Lion and the Lamb
The Lion and the Lamb

The Beginning and the End clearly refers to his control over the ages. So, what repeats after the lines about the Trinity should refer to the Trinity. It could be, “The Mystery of God, The Mystery of God,” or, “The Trinity of Love, The Trinity of Love,” etc. But—it reads, “The Lion and the Lamb, The Lion and the Lamb.” I don’t know how that connects. It seems irrational and becomes, for me, “check your brain,’ irrational music. I could go on with other examples I don’t understand (“you took the fall, above all,” rhymes, but I’m not sure what it means.)

So it seems to me that our music should be rational. That doesn’t mean we can’t sing experiential music, but it should be rational.

Advertisements

The Fear Of The Lord

March 5, 2010

In studying for Sunday I have discovered that the concept of fearing the Lord appears over and over.  In the Old Testament most references are to what comes to the believer who fears the Lord.  For example, “The Fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom.”  (Psalm 111; all over Proverbs)  In the New Testament, the Fear of the Lord is described more often as something we should do, or as a state of being.

There seem to be two popular schools of thought about the Fear of the Lord for Christians.  One says that fear is just that-being afraid of God-but in a healthy way.  He is all powerful and we need to watch our step.  The other says that fear refers to reverence.  Not actually being afraid, but respecting Him greatly.  I think they both miss the mark.

Sunday we will look at the relationship of  God’s Power, God’s Grace and Fear of the Lord.  Come and learn and enjoy your Fear of the Lord.

Murders In Huntsville

February 13, 2010

These past two weeks have seen school shooting in our town.  First, there was the shooting at Discovery Middle School.  Now, yesterday a UAH Professor was accused of killing three colleagues and wounding three others.
The community response to these terrible acts has been good, in the sense that most people are full of concern and compassion for the families.  There has also been talk about learning lessons from the shootings that will help prevent similar acts in the future.

What is surprising, considering the number of people who identify themselves as Christians, has been the surprise exhibited that such a thing could happen here.  Our theology informs us that people, since the fall, are inherently evil.  We do, according to Paul, the things we know we should not do. (Romans 7)  While Paul is speaking, I believe, particularly about non-christians, the same is true about us–we sin!

In fact, our faith is based upon an understanding that it was our sins which required Christ to die.  To put it truthfully, but perhaps too strongly, we are all forgiven murderers.

In Acts 2 and 3, that is the way that Peter preaches the Gospel–“Hey. you murderers, be forgiven and believe on Jesus!”

Now I understand that most of us will never actually commit a murder in this life, it is important for us to understand that sin in all its forms is related to murder.  We shouldn’t be shocked to see it happen.
So, when murder happens we do need to be filled with compassion for those who have lost family or friends.  We need to grieve with them.  We do need to think about what steps we can take  to restrain others from doing similar acts in the future.  We also, however, need to have compassion on those who are still alive and preach the Gospel to them.  Read Acts 2 and 3, and be prepared.  Tomorrow we will look at how Peter used his time to explain our need for the Savior to people exposed to murder.  Let’s learn from it.

How to make God disappear

October 1, 2008

On Jibsheet, I have posted about the bail out and consequences.  My point in that post is that events in life are to remind us that we need God.  When bad things happen, they remind us that there are consequences to our actions.  This leads to repentance, and a desire to do things God’s way.  When there are no consequences, then we don’t get reminded about God, we don’t repent, and we don’t desire to do things God’s way.  In child rearing, there are not nearly as many parents today who are willing to have their kids suffer the consequences of their action.  Should it surprise us, then, that there are fewer and fewer people (of all ages) that don’t believe in God.  We are slowly removing Him from everyday life by removing consequences from every day life.  This is not good.

See This Jib Sheet Post on Scripture Twisting

August 30, 2008

I have posted a comment on recent Scripture twisting in the current political race.  You can find it here.

Coming to a Church (and courtroom) Near You?

August 7, 2008

There is an interesting case before the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals right now.  You can read about Canyon Road Baptist Church here.  The bottom line is that a Pastor scheduled a movie one Sunday evening, dealing with the fight for one man/one woman marriage in the political area.   The movie came at the issue from a biblical perspective.  After the movie, petitions to support an effort to get the issue on the ballot were in the back of the church.  The church got dinged for not filing as a political committee under Montana law.

The church cited First Amendment religious grounds for not filing as a committee; every issue has religious overtones.  For a Christian, worldview means knowing how God thinks about everything.  The court lost in the Administrative Court, the Federal District Court, and is now before the appeals court.
One could argue that a more legally savvy Pastor could have gotten around the whole thing by moving the petitions outside–announcing that a separate organization was handling them.  But, shoud he have to?  How far a reach is it to imagine that even if there were no petitions, some group might bring an action against the Pastor and Church for political rhetoric on any issue such as marriage, divorce, abortion, or even theft!  Where does it stop?

Lest you think this is far-fetched imagining, Pastors have already been taken to criminal court for “hate speech” in Canada and Scandanavia.  So, when does a Sermon or teaching become a court case?  The answer for me is, I don’t know any longer.  The bigger question is, will this threat or perceived threat silence the church.  No!  That I do know.

Professing One Thing And Living Another

July 26, 2008

Wed. evening we will be discussing two recent blog posts that seem to me to hit right where too many of us Christians live–in and of the world!
The first is here, and is from our own Cindy Reaves.  It reminds me of Paul’s statement in I Cor. 15:32.  “If the dead are not raised, let us eat and drink, for tomorrow we die!”  But if they are, how should we live?

The second is here, and deals with the fact that one can’t be a theistic evolutionist.  If death is “natural,” then we don’t need salvation.  Again, how many Christians try and live with one foot in the Bible and one foot in a “natural” view of life?
These questions have a lot to do with what Peter is saying in our Sunday morning text.  So, do a little thinking and come to Game Day Grill Wed. at 6:30.