Tuesday, January 29, 2008

How to eliminate confusion

Define terms
An example: traditional worship.
What does that mean? Is there such a thing? In my experience most churches and people who hold to traditional worship are typically referring to a tradition that is around 200 years old and uniquely American. Normally, "old fashioned" hymns were mostly written after the 1800s, not the 100s, 200s, 300s, 400s, you get the idea. If someone were to truly be traditional, their worship service would be quite different from nearly any service the average American would know.

Now, there is a great movement among many in the American Church toward the ancient-future paradigm. There's a great article on this in the current Christianity Today, which for some reason is not online. I think one of the problems in American fundamentalism and evangelicalism has been to throw the baby out with the bathwater. As I have mentioned this month, just because Roman Catholics may do something doesn't mean Protestants can't.

Basically, what I am getting at is that we need to stop pretending that because we sing a hymn that is 150 or 250 years old, that somehow it is traditional. Our traditions are much, much older. In fact, there are so many beautiful hymns and chants which are 1500 years old, we cannot begin to exhaust the great bodies of work left by those from long ago.

But how? In my opinion, I believe Christians should use draw upon older works and newer ones as well. We should strive to employ the richness of our heritage, while expanding upon it with new songs and hymns. They should reflect truth and our unique context. Meaning, lets write tunes that sounds like they are written today and not 1877 when revivalism was running through America. I also think that we can take older hymns that may be difficult to sing to their original tune and update the music so it is accessible. There are many groups doing this today from Indelible Grace to Sovereign Grace Music. Let's get out of our boxes and discover the richness of our past and present.

Monday, January 21, 2008

Coming this Christmas....

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Congratulations Mick Cornett

It was about 10 years ago and I was at a local dining establishment in OKC with a relative and we saw a local celebrity. It was Mick Cornett, who at the time, was a sports anchor for channel 5. I basically grew up watching him on TV and when you only see someone from the chest up, you don't have a good idea of what they look like other than their face. Well, I was surprised at how heavy he was.

Fast forward to 2007/2008
Mayor of Oklahoma City, Mick Cornett has lost his weight, looks great and is encouraging my great home city to do the same. I for one, commend him for this crusade. He's not trying to bring "big brother" into people's lives, like some may fear, but is using his office to encourage people to make better choices in their lives. I, for one, hope he succeeds and Oklahoma City loses 1 million pounds and becomes one of the more healthy cities in the country.

Kudos to you, Mr. Mayor.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

In honor....

In honor of the so-far fantastic American Exodus: The Dust Bowl Migration and Okie Culture in California I am reading, I present to you Merle Haggard's classic Okie From Muskogee. This was a satirical song written to protest the protestors in the late 1960s and helped spur the notion of the "forgotten Americans" whose voices were not heard.

We don't smoke marijuana in Muskogee;
We don't take our trips on LSD
We don't burn our draft cards down on Main Street;
We like livin' right, and bein' free.

I'm proud to be an Okie from Muskogee,
A place where even squares can have a ball
We still wave Old Glory down at the courthouse,
And white lightnin's still the biggest thrill of all

We don't make a party out of lovin';
We like holdin' hands and pitchin' woo;
We don't let our hair grow long and shaggy,
Like the hippies out in San Francisco do.

And I'm proud to be an Okie from Muskogee,
A place where even squares can have a ball.
We still wave Old Glory down at the courthouse,
And white lightnin's still the biggest thrill of all.

Leather boots are still in style for manly footwear;
Beads and Roman sandals won't be seen.
Football's still the roughest thing on campus,
And the kids here still respect the college dean.

We still wave Old Glory down at the courthouse,
In Muskogee, Oklahoma, USA.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Dear Congress,

Please stop your crusade against baseball players to gain headlines. There are more important things to consider at this point in time. In case you have forgotten, gas and oil prices have nearly tripled since 2001, there is a looming financial crisis, a war, and many other issues which need solved. Baseball, while one of the greatest, if not the greatest game ever, will be fine without your meddling. In fact, baseball is one of those things which helps take our minds off our government's inability to actually treat real issues with substantive results. Please do not mismanage America's pasttime the way you have mismanaged most everything else.


A Voter

Wednesday, January 09, 2008

Johnny Cash recorded this song on his last album, American V. From what I understand this song was an old spiritual, which Cash put his own spin on. What is amazing is the fact that he recorded the album in between June's death and his own, even writing and recording one song about being prepared to die himself.

This video is quite something, though. All these celebrities, many whom are not Christian or claim to me, all lip-syncing these lyrics. I find a bit of irony in it, but irony is an overused word. :-)

Monday, January 07, 2008

Article on Liturgy

As someone who believes that worship services are more than simply warm-up for the sermon, parts of this article made me very happy. I am very glad that more Evangelical churches are moving toward more frequent communion and adding more to worship services than songs and a sermon. It's great and I think it does justice to many Biblical presentations of corporate worship.

I know there are some who object to more "structured" services and weekly (or frequent) communion on the grounds that it "looks Roman Catholic." To that, I ask this: if someone is getting something right, they're getting it right. One thing I appreciate about liturgy, which encompasses aspects of the historic Christian faith, saturated with Scripture, and great singing with a sermon that compliments the entire service and frequent communion, is that no one is the "star" and the service can be reverent with older styles of music, or more contemporary, or jazz styles.
It's great.

Wednesday, January 02, 2008

Oh, another year

I am really not good with New Year's resolutions. To be honest, I cannot remember the last time I made one. I sometimes set goals for myself, but I do not know if those count as resolutions. This year, I do not know what I want to accomplish. Is that sad or what? I see this year as a transition year. It's one that I basically need to keep on the course I began in August and wait to see what happens when it's closer to December.

I know that Jen and I would love to have a child as we experienced such grief last January with our miscarriage. I know that we would love to continue to have a great marriage, but that's a daily goal, not simply a yearly one. I know that we would love to travel, but we do that anyway. I know that we want to do a lot of things, but I cannot really think of any monumental things we have planned. It would be nice to have my "youth director/minister" position upgraded to a bivocational call to Assistant Pastor so I could take ordination exams. (I hate tests and want to get them over with quickly)

I guess some people need to set goals at the beginning of the year. Maybe it's because January 1 seems like a new beginning, a redemption of sorts. You have the chance to do something better than you did before.

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