Singing Mouth Open – Mind (partially) Closed
Calvin: "We must beware lest our ears be more intent on the music than our minds on the spiritual meaning of the words.”
In Protestant Christian worship, music has always been in a subordinate role to aid the worshiper in taking to heart and mind the meaning and richness of the poetic lyric. Though Calvin knew and appreciated the incredible power of music to move hearts, he cautioned against getting music and the objective meaning of the words... Continue Reading
Pairing Cherry Coke with Filet Mignon in Worship
The placarding of the music and composer has shifted us from high thoughts of God to high-brow thoughts of Western art music
In the interest of doing everything we do in word and deed as we sing Psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs in the name of Jesus (Colossians 3:16-17), a Christ-centered liturgy would do well to include neither the composer’s name nor the poet’s name in the progression through the printed guide to worship. “Beautiful music,”... Continue Reading
Let’s Not Be Big, Fat Contradictions People!
There must be something in the water if we want to celebrate these images for young women to model while congratulating a vague, Christian message beside it.
Why do such a seductive picture for a Christian song about new birth? Carrie looked much more modest before the music industry got a hold of her. She also looked about 20 pounds heavier—and beautiful! She isn’t even close to overweight in her early days on American Idol. But healthy and wholesome isn’t the right... Continue Reading
The Only Movie Villains Left: Republicans, Christians & God
With the Sony hack, no more North Korean villains in movies
Dang. With the Sony hack, no more North Korean villains in movies. China is funding our movies now, so no Chinese villains. Castro is now a hero, so no Communist villains of any stripe. Muslims will fatwa, riot or bomb, so no Islamic villains. Liberals still rule Hollywood, so still no Left Wing villains. Looks like... Continue Reading
Moroni From the Realms of Glory
Mormons share just enough of our beliefs that they can masquerade as Christians if we do not look deeper than the surface.
This video serves as a helpful reminder that Mormons and many others use new media very well. These Mormon evangelistic efforts are always very clever and very compelling. They always give away enough information to make it seem like Mormons are just another friendly group of Christians, and they withhold the information that distinguishes them... Continue Reading
Christmas Carols: ‘Joy to the World’
‘Joy to the World’ faithfully conveys the resounding message in Psalm 98 that Jesus saves
We can learn from Joy to the World and Psalm 98 not to sentimentalize Christmas by merely seeing Christ as a helpless baby apart from His mission. Christ our Savior must also be our Victorious Warrior and Judge. He fulfills the psalmist’s prayer for God to “deliver me in Your righteousness” (Psalm 31:1). He “makes the nations prove... Continue Reading
Singing In A Strange Land
As I sat back to consider the legacy of Negro spirituals to the African-American experience, I see this same importance of hymns for the life of the believer
“The third verse of Psalm 137 provides more details about the situation: “For there our captors required of us songs, and our tormentors, mirth, saying, ‘Sing us one of the songs of Zion!’” We are able to see that this Psalm was written during the Babylonian capture of the Kingdom of Judah. Here we see... Continue Reading
Exclusive Psalmody in the Early Modern Kirk?
There's not much historical support for the idea that the earliest Reformed Scots were ideologically opposed, or unaccustomed, to singing uninspired songs in corporate worship
“There’s no question that the Reformed Kirk embraced the practice of congregational psalm-singing in worship. In this, as is many aspects of worship, the Kirk took its lead from Geneva. There is, however, a difference between singing psalms and singing only psalms in worship, and I’m not sure there’s much historical support for the notion... Continue Reading
Do You Hear The People Sing?
What do you hear when your church worships God in song?
“The Maker has wired music into the fabric of every soul, even those of us who are not especially musical by nature. It’s not just another way people artistically experience and express their gratitude and awe to God — like painting or journaling or fishing or serving. Throughout the Bible, God’s people — saved by... Continue Reading
A Beginner’s Guide to Singing the Psalms for Corporate Worship
If the idea of singing the Psalms for corporate worship is a daunting our outdated proposition, here’s some practical help
Why should we care about singing the Psalms in corporate worship in the 21st century? First, because the Psalms are a divinely-inspired school of prayer. Then also realize that they offer a point of contact with nearly every human experience: from desolation to gratitude, loneliness to community, anger to joy. If the idea of singing the... Continue Reading