Monthly Archives: July 2011

Pastoral Meanderings: Children…. Not So Important…

Pastoral Meanderings: Children…. Not So Important….

Pastor Peters has a very thoughtful post on the value we place on children these days.  Like it or not, culture influences Christians who in turn bring it into the church with them.  These influences have affected attitudes of youth in the church toward marriage, family and children.  A couple of his observations are listed below.  Read the full post here:  Pastoral Meanderings: Children…. Not So Important…

Judging from the surveys and polls and musings of sociologists, the kids in catechism class may not be so different that the rest of the youth in our society.  If that is true, it is certainly because they have been shaped by the same factors so evident in the media, culture, and educational bias of our modern day America.  Abortion did not start it and neither did the entrance of women into the workplace during and after WWII but certainly these are markers of the shifting goals and priorities of our people.”

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I was reminded of something C. S. Lewis said, “Homemaker is the ultimate career. All other careers exist for one purpose only — to support the ultimate career!”  We have certainly forgotten that today.  Take a look at the birth rate for the average European, Scandinavian, Canadian, or American (excluding immigrant families) family.  We have determined that just as love is optional to sex and marriage is even less optional to sex, so children are even less linked with sex (sex being about the number one priority — or pleasure that comes from sex, among other things).

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Style vs. Substance — Does Praise and Worship Music Convey the Gospel?

Rev Jonathan Fisk of Worldview Everlasting has a great v-log addressing the difference between style and substance in the so-called worship wars. The use of contemporary Christian music has been justified on the basis of relevancy and stylistic differences. And if it was really JUST a matter of style, it would not be so controversial — especially in the Evangelical/Charismatic/non-denominational world.

We really are not asking the right questions, are we? One of the basic assumptions of the contemporary music movement is that Worship is all about praising God in His presence and hearing an inspiring talk for about 20 minutes. Since we gather to Praise and Worship, we need a leader trained in song to lead us into the presence of God, to get us in the right mood for God. But is that really what Worship is about? Is it about ME and what I do for God? Is it about ME doing, or better yet, ME following a worship leader into the presence of God? Or is Worship really a passive activity where we receive the forgiveness of sins and new life based on the action of the Word acting through the preacher and the sacraments delivered to me? Isn’t Worship really about Jesus, and His saving work for you and for me? Isn’t worship about the Gospel — the proclamation of repentance for the forgiveness of sins? And shouldn’t everything that comprises worship serve the purpose of proclaiming the Gospel message?

To determine whether music in your church is a style or substance issue, you merely need to look at the words — do the lyrics proclaim the Gospel? Do they lyrics talk about me and what I am doing or have to do or want to do, or do they really tell what God has done FOR US in Christ? Remember, the Bible is not about YOU…. Worship is not about YOU… It is NOT about ME and what I do…. Worship is all about JESUS. The Bible is all about JESUS. Christ is and must remain at the center of all we do. If not, well just look at the apostasy taking place in the church in America today.

Contemporary Christian Music and Worship: A Variety of Composition From Christianity Today

A Variety of Religious Composition | Christianity Today | A Magazine of Evangelical Conviction.

In its series on “worship music,” Christianity Today Magazine has published an article by Lawrence R. Mumford, PhD, a professor at the Biola University Conservatory of Music, looking at what Contemporary Christian Worship Music is.  Mumford spent many years playing in praise and worship bands, as a minister of music in two Los Angles churches, and writing pop music.  Mumford describes it, looking solely at the music, as a “subgenre of the American popular music that emerged in the mid-1960s and has been pervasive in society ever since…. This relatively recent pop music, with its almost infinite branches, includes soft rock, hard rock, country crossover, folk rock, punk rock, alternative, adult contemporary, rhythm and blues, hip-hop, and so forth. It has always been a model for CCM, and a few creative CCM artists have been musical innovators in their own right.”  Truth be told, CCM has its origins and roots in the “Jesus Movement” of the 1960s, part of the hippie counter-culture (with elements of mysticism, revivalism, and communal living), and the Charismatic Renewal Movement (with strong elements of unexplained spiritual experiences described as the baptism of the Holy Spirit, supernatural power of the Spirit and mysticism), particularly in Australia where some of the most popular praise and worship songs originate.

What are the characteristics of this music?  Rhythm with an off-beat accent, more rhythm with a rock beat, and a middle of the road vocal sound designed to appeal to a wide audience.  And do not forget the guitar solos and other improvisations that fill in some gaps in the music.  Mumford describes: Read the rest of this entry

The Action of a People — Leitourgia and the Lord’s Supper

Liturgy.  It is a word despised.  Tradition.  Your mom and dad’s Oldsmobile.  That stuffy old stodgy worship, filled with the “Thees” and “Thous” of Ye Olde Englishe, days of yore gone by and passed beyond our present contemporary expression.  Stiff and wooden, the organ plays, reminding us of the wooden teeth of old George Washington.  Days gone by, no longer relevant.  We are sleeker.  Cutting edge.  No longer do multiple melodies reign in music.  It is the thumping base…  driving rhythms of the bass guitar…  the sultry voice…  moving….  pulsing… pounding…  it is energy…

Liturgy… repetition… you speak, we respond…  ordered…  formal…  stuffy…  it does not speak to me.  it is hard to understand.  “make haste o God to deliver me.”  but, i need to experience God, feel His presence…  if i do not feel, experience for myself, it is not real…  your tradition, i cannot relate to it…. your truth does not speak to my experience… i need it to be relevant.

We fear what we do not know.  Reject what is outside of our experience.  Yet we seek connection, common understanding….  we look for points where we can come together…  do not turn me away from the table of the Lord…  we commune together, despite our differences…  Leitourgia.

“‘Liturgy’ is the name given ever since the days of the apostles to the act of taking part in the solemn corporate worship of God by the ‘priestly’ society of christians, who are ‘the Body of Christ, the church.’  The Liturgyis the term which covers generally all that worship which is officially organised by the church, and which is open to and offered by, or in the name of, all who are members of the church.”  Dom Gregory Dix, The Shape of the Liturgy.

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