This post is a follow-up to my post about Zeitgeist and how it affects us without us knowing it.)
When I was in college, I worked for two summers as a pastoral intern. The church where I worked was between pastors, and hired a kind and retired pastor named Jimmy to fill the pulpit as the interim preacher. I loved Jimmy. He was an old country boy from the coal fields of West Virginia. He was intelligent, but mostly self-taught. He loved to laugh and never seemed to take himself too seriously. We would sit in Tuesday morning staff meetings, which he didn’t lead, and I didn’t have much of value to add, and he was constantly passing me notes and playing jokes on people. I was trying to be serious and impress the other pastors, and Jimmy didn’t care. He was wiser than me. Continue reading
The Gettys have written some great music. I’m glad to see they are still at it, and have a real sense for what it takes to get a whole congregation to truly worship through music together.
Similar to hymns such as “Amazing Grace” or “Be Thou My Vision,” the song (“In Christ Alone”) makes people want to sing along.
That’s a lost art, said Mark Hosny, artistic director of the National Praise and Worship Institute at Trevecca Nazarene University in Nashville.
Newer Christian music often makes the band or lead singer sound good but doesn’t engage the congregation. That’s missing the point, Hosny said.
“A lot of today’s melodies are not singable. That’s why they don’t stick,” he said.
Hosny recently attended a Getty concert at the famed Ryman Auditorium, which featured their hymns as well as gospel songs and traditional Irish music. Everyone was singing along, he said.
That’s what hymns are supposed to do, said Dave Clark, director of creative development, publishing and A&R for Nashville-based Lillenas Publishing. They make space for people to join in.
“There is a familiarity in hymns — that even if you are hearing it for the first time, you feel like you know it,” he said.
Christianity Today Gleanings: Modern Hymn Writers Revive Lost Art with Surprising Success.
(Now that I’m an out of the closet Ancient-Futurist, it’s time to explore this topic a little more. Let me say that I don’t claim to be an expert, but I have studied this stuff, and have worked as a full-time pastor for almost 9 years. So, I think I’m at least a little qualified to think and talk about these things. So, here we go…)
Ok kids, I want to introduce you to the neighborhood bully. His name is Zeitgeist, but we call him Big Z. Zeitgeist (spirit of the age or spirit of the time) is the intellectual fashion or dominant school of thought that typifies and influences the culture of a particular period in time (thanks Wikipedia). Why is Big Z important? Well, he’s all around us whether or not we are fully aware of him. We are influenced by him as was every generation before us. Big Z has an uncanny knack for making us think and act in certain ways without us realizing that we are in fact being controlled by the thoughts and feelings of someone else. Studying history allows us to see Big Z at work. His work is not always positive, though it certainly isn’t always bad. Today, we want to look at some of the negative aspects of his handiwork.
Big Z is a bully. He’ll push you around, and call you names. He’ll call you a traitor to the cause, unpatriotic, authoritarian, ignorant, naïve, uneducated, bigoted, close-minded, and irrelevant. Whatever it takes to make the Church submit. Sometimes, Big Z acts like a tsunami that swallows everything in its path. Sometimes he acts like a slow boil. You’re the frog that doesn’t know he’s being cooked until it’s too late. “Submit or die,” is the message, but what Big Z doesn’t tell you is that if you submit, you will inevitably die. Continue reading
I have a confession to make. In fact, I’ve needed to make this confession for some time, but the timing has never felt right. However, a few Sundays ago, the adult Sunday class that I teach (and of whom I am really fond) had an interesting conversation about worship, and about some of the adjustments we’ve made to our worship service over the last couple of years. Some of the adjustments have been subtle, and some have been obvious, but at this point they are all noticeable.
I have many thoughts on the subject, but I’ve resisted putting too many specifics of my changing views on this blog because, as a pastor, my perspective is not simply my perspective. My views and beliefs have consequences for a wider range of people other than myself and my family. Since the topic is now (relatively) out in the open within my church, I feel like now is a good time to lay some cards on the table. I’m glad to do so, because this is the stuff I’ve really wanted to talk about on this blog, but have felt the need to keep it largely to myself.
I have become what Robert Webber has called an Ancient-Future (AF) Christian. An AF is a generic evangelical like myself who has discovered the ancient worship and devotional practice and patterns of the Church, and has determined that the path to meeting the challenges of the future lies through the past. I have come to fully embrace the idea that if Evangelicalism is going to survive the combined onslaught of postmodernism, secularism, and consumerism, we must retrace our steps and figure out where our movement went off track.
On Friday, I posted an interview about New Testament canon formation. Today, I bring you a post from Dr. Dan Wallace discussing one of the things that came up in that podcast, that is, the Gnostic gospels. Dr. Wallace briefly discusses the authenticity of the Gospel of Judas. We should remember that the Gnostic gospels like this one have been around for a long time. They have never been accepted by the Church universal as authentic scripture. They are sort of like the fan fiction of their day, except that some people tried to form a religion around them.
8 Reasons for the Media Blackout on Kermit Gosnell – Trevin Wax.
Continuing to draw attention to the Kermit Gosnell case. Trevin Wax considers why this isn’t getting more attention. Follow the link.