Friday, May 26, 2006

Totally Rethinking Church

Totally Rethinking Church

Some good points.

14 comments:

The IBEX Scribe said...

I didn't read all of the arguments here particularly carefully, but I have to say that I appreciate the emphasis he places on parents taking responsibility for the spiritual upbringing of their children.

And these words, which I command thee this day, shall be in thine heart:
And thou shalt teach them diligently unto thy children, and shalt talk of them when thou sittest in thine house, and when thou walkest by the way, and when thou liest down, and when thou risest up.
And thou shalt bind them for a sign upon thine hand, and they shall be as frontlets between thine eyes.
And thou shalt write them upon the posts of thy house, and on thy gates.
(Deut 6:6-9)

If the word of God is constantly before us in our homes and constantly on our lips perhaps we wouldn't "need" colleges and seminaries to teach the Bible.

One of his points of "extra-biblical" church practice:
Music styles borrowed from the world and used for worshipping God and taking rock music (which we all know is of the devil, right?) away from the young people and how it will make them happier.

I'm not sure if the style of music is the issue or if it is the content of the music that the young people listen to that matters. In this article, from what I can tell, there is no distinction made between very worldly and Christian "rock" music. And when he continues to quote verses about God not accepting the musical offerings of the people, he is addressing an issue of their hearts, not the style of music that they are playing. I think this point was really weakly argued, but we've already had some discussion about the appropriateness of various kinds of music in the church. He does say that the music should be played and sung well, which I do agree with. I'm just wondering from a practical standpoint how to avoid music that is influenced by secular music to some degree.

With regard to sports teams, I think that's one way that people can fellowship by sharing life together. Many people enjoy playing sports, so why not do it with other believers? I think of all of his arguments this is perhaps the one that I find most nonsensical. I am sure he would have no objection to ladies getting together to scrapbook, so why not allow for sports? It's extracurricular, and not the main focus of the church. It can also serve as an outreach opportunity. He's so fond of his agricultural analogies that he seems to forget how many athletic analogies are made in the New Testament. Sports are not inherently idols of the world.

I think some of the issues that he takes regarding studying the Bible and having a pastor guide people is so much more of a problem of the individual Christian than it is of the church meeting (or at all related to the building). Going to a church building on Sunday does not preclude studying God's word at home. There is more accountability with a smaller group of believers, true, but I don't think changing the setting of the meeting is going to necessarily change the way people commit to reading on their own.

Overall it is an interesting article, but sometimes he just seems to have a chip on his shoulder, like he had some nasty experience with a very arrogant pastor and just assumes that all of them are like that.

Dyspraxic Fundamentalist said...

Thanks for reading that.

"I'm not sure if the style of music is the issue or if it is the content of the music that the young people listen to that matters."

I think legitimate questions can be asked about different styles of music. I think the style of the music can have an effect on how the music comes across. I think Reggae music might not very easily communicate the awesome holiness of God. I think Reggae music woudl tend to make one feel that Christianity was all about having fun and being jolly. As I am not a fan of Reggae music, I may be mistaken there, but that is my impression of that musical style.

"He does say that the music should be played and sung well, which I do agree with."

Is music something that glorifies God in itself, or is the worship only in the hearts of the worshippers?

"With regard to sports teams, I think that's one way that people can fellowship by sharing life together. Many people enjoy playing sports, so why not do it with other believers?"

Maybe I am prejudiced, but I think there quite a few things about sport which are helpful. Though, I would not want to necessarilly rule them out as legitimate activities.

Every Blessing in Christ

Matthew

wilsford said...

complete aside: what is it about fundamentalist-types that they disdain the use of good Website development?

probably the same reason so many of them refuse to develop good speaking skills (justified with the "foolishness of preaching" phrase.

wilsford navigates to a new thread, muttering as she clicks

The IBEX Scribe said...

Is music something that glorifies God in itself, or is the worship only in the hearts of the worshippers?

Worship is from the heart, and it ought to be lifted up to God as such. The point is, however, that it is used as a vehicle for worship, and that should never be dull (which I know is a bit of a matter of opinion) or taken lightly. Make a joyful noise, and if you can produce quality music you probably should because you want to give your best to God. We do have a little saying, though: If you can't sing well sing loud. Some smaller churches probably have fewer people who can produce particularly fine music, but they should still do their best, should they not?

I think rap is horrid myself (and shouldn't be called music!) and probably would have difficultly worshipping God through it, but someone who has enjoyed it can take that medium and use it to worship God. There is a man at the church I went to in CA who did ministry at a juvenile prison. He shared the Gospel with a young man there who believed and composed a rap "song" in response to what the Lord had done for him. The man from the church is not into that kind of music, but he was deeply moved by the new song that this young man sang to the Lord. He spoke the language of music that he understood. While you and I may have trouble finding it worshipful, I think God smiled at the music offering.

Dyspraxic Fundamentalist said...

Wilsford, I do know what you mean.

Angie, I am not sure I convinced that quality of music in worship really matters at all. I think it is the act of entering into worship and meaning the words that one is singing. I have trouble with the idea that the music is an offering. I think a lot of it hinges on the way one understands the use of instruments in the OT.

I would seriously question the use of Rap music. I am not convinced that one can separate the style of music from the values that underly its secular expression.

It is vitally important to recognise that medium has a an effect on the message.

Are you familiar with Semiotics? I think Semiotics has some value in explaining how non-verbal signs such as rhythm and beat have a part in communication. Unpicking these non-verbal signs may demonstrate the complexity of musical communication.

Every Blessing in Christ

Matthew

Jenson's Blog said...

As much as I would agree with some of the points of these articles, I'm suspect they were written by those who have a poor (or biased)understanding of society and history.

Dyspraxic Fundamentalist said...

You may be right.

The IBEX Scribe said...

I have never looked into semiotics, no, although I have heard the term (not sure in what context). There are some types of music that I think express anger and malice quite well. Such musical temper has no place in worship, so I don't think we completely disagree on this. But don't you think that if you are giving something to God (worship through the medium of music, in this case) that you should give Him the best you can? What is the function of an offering? If we can agree on a function perhaps we can discuss whether or not musical worship can be used as an offering.

Dyspraxic Fundamentalist said...

I suspect rap is quite suited to communicating unhelpful attitudes.

Good question about the offering.

Naturally, we would not want to sing badly. However, if our worship is in spirit and in truth, we will be more concerned with our attitude and spiritual state than with the quality of the musical performance.

Having instrumental worship might in fact detract attention from the spiritual preparation for worship and onto the musical aspect.

On the other hand, if the music has some intrinsic value to God it is a part of worship which needs to be executed with considerable effort. To my mind this seems a very earthly and Old Testament approach to worship. I do not think this is how God's heavenly people should worship.

If we are to mind heavenly things, should we be fussing over musical arrangements?

Every Blessing in Christ

Matthew

The IBEX Scribe said...

I don't think "fussing" over musical arrangements is what we should do at all! It really does cause problems when people get bent out of shape over music. That does not mean that those gifted in music should not attempt to work together to make beautiful music for the edification of the saints and to worship God.

Consider Psalm 150
1 Praise ye the LORD. Praise God in his sanctuary: praise him in the firmament of his power.
2 Praise him for his mighty acts: praise him according to his excellent greatness.
3 Praise him with the sound of the trumpet: praise him with the psaltery and harp.
4 Praise him with the timbrel and dance: praise him with stringed instruments and organs.
5 Praise him upon the loud cymbals: praise him upon the high sounding cymbals.
6 Let every thing that hath breath praise the LORD. Praise ye the LORD.

The psalmist lists many different kinds of instruments here - wind, string, percussion - and I think that praising God with instruments is a good thing.

The IBEX Scribe said...

However, if our worship is in spirit and in truth, we will be more concerned with our attitude and spiritual state than with the quality of the musical performance.

Yes, you are quite right about this.

Dyspraxic Fundamentalist said...

I think it is important to recognise differences between the worship of the Old Tesament and our dispensation.

We do not worship in tmeples made with hands. Our worship is of a more spiritual character, wihtout so many physical rituals. Hence, I am not sure that musical instruments are a necessary aid to worship now.

I am not even sure that music being very beautiful is a necessity, though of course we would not want to sing badly. I think God is more concerned with the beauty of His redeemed and gathered people than with the beauty of their music.

Every Blessing in Christ

Matthew

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