April 8, 2022
It’s all yours today…
December 26, 2016
July 13, 2017
December 11, 2013
Something I came across today:
“Learn to appreciate the gifts of others. You will likely cross paths with people who are smarter, more eloquent, or more well-read than you. That is okay! Learn (or, re-learn) to rejoice in the gifts of others. This might also stimulate a humble contentment of the gifts the Lord has given to you. Humility is the necessary foundation for learning, ministry, and community.
In the vein of theological discussions…
When may head goes to bad places, I more often than not turn to music as one of my healthier coping mechanisms. I admit up front that the vast majority of the music I listen to is not by any means “Christian”, and based on the readership here, not even accepted as valid music even if it is Christian, but I am going to share this morning’s experience any way.
I put on the Dr. Beats this morning over coffee and started scanning my iTunes library. I came across some relatively old Christian death metal bands I used to love. I don’t know why my mind went there while listening, but I remembered a podcast I used to listen to a few years ago that was centered on interviewing musicians. Two came to mind as they referenced two of my most favorite Christian death metal bands.
A lyricist and guitar player for a very popular “secular” speed metal band was asked in his interview where his musical inspirations came from. Without one second of hesitation, he said, “A Christian death metal band named Living Sacrifice. They are hands down the most innovative, unique, professional, and talented musicians this genre has ever seen.”
About a year later, same podcast, a self proclaimed satan worshiper of an extremely popular band today called “Lamb Of God” (google them if you think the band name means what you think it means) was asked the same question. He paused and said, “Becoming The Archetype” (another Christian speed/death metal band).
The interviewer laughed (out loud for an uncomfortable length of time) and asked how that could be, and he replied, “The musicianship is unparalleled. They are top notch. They are all precision instruments who create riffs, harmonies, chord progressions and rhythm patterns that nobody ever dreamed of, including me. Nobody has heard of them, at least not in my circles, but everyone should. They are musician’s musicians.”
I have been through every debate with people over the years about what glorifies god musically, what does not, what “looking like the world” means to people, and even fought the mantra of “they sound like demons”. Nobody knows what a demon sounds like, there is no MP3 you can download from the Bible to learn this sound, and you have to do some serious gymnastics biblically to make claims that any form of music is demonic, or incapable of being Christian. I don’t believe it’s possible, but Christians will react emotionally, and lash out with nonsense anyway. They always do when cornered on a “prove it in the Bible” confrontation.
Back in the day, lyrically, Living Sacrifice and Becoming The Archetype were stoutly rivaling the lyrics of modern worship, in that they were unashamed of their passion for god, ministry, and proclaiming the gospel. Some songs they adapted were straight out of Hymnals. I watched Living Sacrifice play “How Great Thou Art” and watched Christian teens reduced to tears.
I perused YouTube today to see what BTA was up to these days, and since 2005, they are still doing it today, and the message is as strong, if not stronger. I truly believe these guys love Jesus, genuine in the faith they proclaim, and this is their ministry “calling”. Lord knows they are not making the money in the music industry like most modern worship bands, but they are still doing it.
My questions are really simple. Is Christianity generally false in assuming god only works through certain avenues? That it has to look Christian in order to be Christian with no valid biblical basis? Is it possible that Christianity fabricates a vast majority of what is deemed acceptable?
I ask because even when I was a pastor, I could not deny that vast forms of artistic expression have been flatly denied by Christianity because it is not molded to the contemporary Christian form. As a result, massive portions of the church are severed off as heretical, even demonic, and I have never found a basis for it.
A passing note on “they sound like demons”
There is strong evidence biblically that they would sound pleasant, constructive, and affirming, being precisely what you would expect from an Angel, after all, they were.
Well written…and perceptive.
Check your Mac email if you haven’t already…
That’s a good word…that many are deaf to these days…
Gary North has passed…
I have never bought into a divide between sacred and secular art. They are the same thing, technically. There may be some forms of art that are not suitable for Sunday morning worship service, and some forms that are not as well suited for a dive bar…but art is art. The intention of artist is what makes it worshipful or not.
That said, people can sometimes have reactions to certain types of music from connections they are even really thinking about. Maybe they heard a similar death metal riff in the background of a horror movie, and subconsciously relate it to the evil they saw take place. Or, they heard silly teaching from uptight white guys in the 80’s that thought everything not named Gaither was Satanic. Either way, there discomfort does not make it so.
Dread, thank you immensely for that. Immensely.
I have the Pulse version, it is without question the best work David Gilmore ever performed onstage. I tremble every single time I listen to it.
You are loved, my friend.
Josh, haha, I almost brought up the Gaither trio…
You’re welcome. Many have done such for me.
Michael-I had almost forgotten about Gary North. He and his ilk have always scared me. I think it’s because I lived for seven years in a country where one particular religious group had a hold on everything. Marriages by any other religious persuasion were not considered valid. You had to have a civil ceremony before you had your own religious ceremony unless you belonged to the “official” faith. You couldn’t advance in the civil service or army unless you shared that faith. Certain hospitals would not treat certain patients, and you couldn’t be buried in certain places. This was changed when the constitution was rewritten in 1992, but it probably has taken another 30 years for people to be unconditioned from all that came before. I appreciate the secular state, although I don’t always agree with it. Some of the things that North proposed could have totally squashed all religious freedoms, even for Christian groups that might not have fit his definition of “Christian.”
Gary North was a RWNJ. Can’t believe his shtick was taken seriously.
There is a lot of stuff I hear now that I am amazed that people take seriously. There is enough actually serious stuff out there that the imaginary things boggle my mind (think pandemic conspiracies). I have dear friends who have bought into some of these beliefs, and I barely know them anymore.
I agree totally. Perhaps the only way some folks will learn is the hard way, I don’t know.
I wonder, too. Two friends of mine, a couple of bwell-respected physicians in a congregation I once belonged to, joined America’s Frontline Dictors and peddle ivermectin prescriptions for COVID. I was floored!
North did a lot to dislodge the mind from pretrib madness — ‘nut job’ is not a helpful assessment though anyone who proposes Christian law would expect that kind of rejection.
As for wild theorists
We have just experienced a lot things that make for conspiracy theories. Our health officials have repeatedly lied, obfuscated, and been compromised by conflicts of interest. Our nation has seen government intervention that once again has transferred wealth to the wealthiest and limited freedoms of ordinary people. Policy makers have been unelected officials who should be advising not ruling.
Big pharma has a whole series of advantages and is insulated from responsibility. National emergency powers are exploited.
Along comes a series of inexpensive possible remediations and their advocates are demonized by those with the money and power. Corruption will be the legacy of the pandemic era.
My cynicism about the human propensity for self serving evil is immeasurable just now.
Ivermectin — the cheap drug that gets banned by the politicians who are paid handsomely by those with profit motive.
I trust neither the whore of big business nor the leviathan of big government.
But I often trust folk who are scorned by the principalities. The resistance to vaccination has been earned by those who press most for it.
Simple truth telling is the cure. People respond well to such novelties.
Insomnia has consequences
I tend to agree with you on most of this based on the latest data.
I will disagree on Ivermectin…the newest studies still show it ineffective.
Most of my friends and family in the medical field no longer have much certainty…except that there is a new wave coming and it will do more damage than the last because we think it’s all over.
History will judge this era harshly on many fronts…
All I am saying is that the drug companies have billions in incentive to falsify any hopeful inexpensive alternative.
I don’t have a clue if it’s effective other than the fact that much poorer nations than America that use it widely have fared far better.
I actually think the single co-‘morbidity of danger is obesity and that’s too politically incorrect for a widespread countermeasure. We dare not offend the food addicted nation.
“I don’t have a clue if it’s effective…”
Of course, double blind studies reported in the New England Journal of Medicine have shown ivermectin to not be effective…
Better to stay in one’s lane…
“I don’t have a clue if it’s effective other than the fact that much poorer nations than America that use it widely have fared far better.”
It is not a fact. In reality this claim has been disproven and widely reported…
Blogs are free range grazing. There are no lanes. But have the last word if you like.
Dread said: “I actually think the single co-‘morbidity of danger is obesity and that’s too politically incorrect for a widespread countermeasure. We dare not offend the food addicted nation.”
This, IMHO, is the bottom line. I’m NOT saying there are not other factors to consider, but if we got this issued handled, I believe that many, many other health issues would “mysteriously” either go away or be much more treatable.
As someone who struggles with obesity, I would say that it is not the single comorbidity but certainly heads the list.
There are many reasons I think the government and the media have not addressed this, one being a desire not to offend. Some folks (women in particular) who are obese — either by fact or labeled as such by moronic right-wingers whose definition of healthy seems to coincide with ‘hot chick’ — struggle mightily with self-image issues because of their size. Calling them fat@$$es and ripping them apart with mockery won’t resolve whatever issues they have. But ignoring the issue altogether is not helpful either.
You can tell someone they are made in the image of God, and/or as valuable and as good as anyone, and also tell them (gently and in love) what I tell myself (more pointedly): all that extra weight you’re carrying around, and all that bad food/drink you put in your body, won’t help you at all in the long run. What you can handle in your 20s and 30s might be the thing to kill you when you get older; and if heart disease doesn’t get you then, a virus just might.
What passes for Christianity in America IMO is one part tradition, one part profit, one part image, and one part a search for power and influence, with the true believers and legit ministry somewhere in the mix. Oftentimes the real ministry happens under the radar, or at the least you won’t see them on stage with Osteen, or paraded on Life Today hawking their book, or on the TBN Shareathon trying to get their piece of the slowly shrinking evangelical pie.
I started to watch The Family on Netflix, saw it was a six-part documentary, and put that aside for another day. I watched the first episode of the Hillsong doc on Discovery Plus yesterday, and listened to a podcast interview with Geoff Bullock this morning. Both are worth your while, especially the Bullock interview.
Driscoll as many of you know once boasted of the dozens who would be trampled underneath the Mars Hill Church bus as it rolled along winning the world for Jesus or building Mark’s kingdom or whatever the hell it was that he actually thought.
Listening to the Bullock interview I was impressed with someone who wanted to serve God, who wanted to know Jesus, and was bullied into serving the business that Hillsong became and the Important Man who led it. (Spoilers: he lost his faith and the machine used him, spit him out and didn’t even acknowledge his contributions afterwards).
Yes, when the media tells these stories it is certainly looking for viewers and yes I know it will almost never tell about the work of God nor of the good works done by the true believers. But it is important to note that, if there is a God, He surely is using them as a tool to expose the darkness to whomever will listen.
The Christian media, aside from a relatively few faithful bloggers, certainly won’t report on the crap. It’s like to them, it doesn’t matter that a major megachurch acts like a soulless satanic machine destroying lives, stealing their faith and killing their love of Christ.
But if someone comes out of the closet or does something that conflicts with the religious right-inspired narrative, then God help them, and be assured the evangelical media machine will be there to ‘expose the darkness’.
It’s impossible to take them seriously on that when they ignore an @$$hole who changed many lives for the worse and probably dragged the name of the God he professes through the sewer…and got away with it in skipping town and doing the same thing right now in another state.
Michael says it well: the people in the pews by and large don’t care.
“Blogs are free range grazing.”
Not when they injure people with false information. Those who claim to be pastors have a responsibility… just sayin’
Darwin Awards were made for such.
Insomnia equals paranoia….
I think you just left your lane pastor.
No one twisted my arm to come here and read the comments but WOW I am even more frigging discouraged then before I came here about life and “Christianity”.
What is a person to believe when even those who profess Christian beliefs are so at odds with one another.
I feel all that.
The drive to be the next big Calvary Chapel on the block was huge for me back in the day, but even then, I did not feel it was actual ministry. I felt people had to learn? That I had to teach them? And make them the people who go out to the highways and byways… but in retrospect, this was taught to me, I was told to be that way. And my success was measured by the size of the “ministry” I could build. I had to be preaching on the radio, standing in for all the big pastors at the big churches, coordinating the biggest youth conventions, play the best music on my guitar… it was a career, it was not a ministry.
My hatred for the religion of Christianity is not a secret to anyone here. My concept of “ministry” does not hardly even make sense to most Christians.
I found myself on the outdoor mall of Charlottesville Virginia buying a drunk a beer one night and asking if I could sit and talk with him. He unloaded his life on me, and how he had become such a worthless mess. I prayed for him after we talked. He cried. I went away broken hearted and knew that this was probably the closest to real ministry I had ever come.
I stand in absolute awe of the real ministry happening in Ukraine and Poland right now. I get sad because I wonder why I wasted so much of my life missing the real deal, and instead did “Christian” things. I would gladly trade it all for the ability to have done it right, out of sight, where nobody wants to be or care, let alone because of the pain it would have avoided me, and the pain I inflicted on others.
Man up and take responsibility…
Believe me when I say I was on the apology tour for years after leaving the faith, but the only thing that mattered to most of them was that I left the faith. The ones who heard me out had left the faith themselves.
I retain respect for you, regardless…
Then how do I man up and take responsibility?
He was trying to bully me not you
My apologies, I thought that was directed at me.
I did not advocate using Ivermectin I merely commented on the controversies.
The NEJM study was posted like an inerrant scripture it is NOT and has many detractors.
Our institutions are in full propaganda mode. None should be trusted without independent vetting. I can post the links if you need them.
I don’t post casually and don’t accept the smug responses though I do expect them.
Last week the same commenter had apoplexy when I posted actual government documents because they were “recommendations” not policies
I made zero recommendations about health just posted opinions. This is an opinion blog.
Might as well drop a Twitter thread summary
One always needs to consider the source of such “opinions”, which I do…
especially when they are used as political/cultural talking points.
Dread, you really shouldn’t consume all this right-wing nonsense. Its not good for you. And before you say, don’t consume left-wing either, that should go without saying. Funneling this crap into our brains 24-7 doesn’t help anything at all.
I live in a blue state and at least WRT the media, the Trump/Vlad cult’s propaganda is more prevalent. We have 1 progressive outlet for the entire state.
Right wing nonsense? Hmmmm
Em, yes. Stay away from it.
It’s not merely “nonsense”, it’s insanity…
Right and left wing media are insanity. Both can have valid point and, likewise, in terms their followers purely for their own financial or notoriety gain even if they claim “Christian Values.”
..”North did a lot to dislodge the mind from pretrib madness — ‘nut job’ is not a helpful assessment though anyone who proposes Christian law would expect that kind of rejection..”..
Dread. North and his Father in Law were Fascist. There is nothing good to say about them. It’s ok to speak ill of the dead when it is deserved in enemies of the Church.
It’s as though you are blinded by various subjects. Pre-Mil for instance.
If North hated Pre-Mil, that does not bestow him with some sort of redeeming quality, and negate his evil intent. Yes, there is madness. Rushdooney’s
As far as hating Pre-Mil, criticism of an ideology doesn’t require hatred for it, or it’s adherents. I don’t hate Pre-Mil in the least, but am in fact nostalgic for an element of my upbringing.
A desire to review and examine errors, is not born out of hatred but goodwill.
This Reconstructionist crowd where ministers of Satan. Their only desire was to turn the House of God into an agent of genocide. May a deserved curse come to rest, as Jannes and Jambres.
If any man have an ear, let him hear.
He that leadeth into captivity shall go into captivity: he that killeth with the sword must be killed with the sword. Here is the patience and the faith of the saints…
This is why Rushdooney was sent by his Father. To lure any who would, to their destruction. The lust for power and a desire to see many put to death, would necessitate punishment on those lured away from the truth.
Rushdooney’s ideology was sent to pollute followers of Christ. Judgements are in the hands of the Father alone. He alone is the judge.
Any who sat through a Reconstructionist sermon will likely recall the obsession with judgment.
These 2 chuckleheads lost me at “stoning gays.” Permanently.
Gary North was more than dangerous… as are those who give credence to his thinking.
“The long-term goal of Christians in politics should be to gain exclusive control over the franchise. Those who refuse to submit publicly to the eternal sanctions of God by submitting to His Church’s public marks of the covenant – baptism and holy communion – must be denied citizenship.”
Gary North (1989). “Political polytheism: the myth of pluralism”, Inst for Christian Economics
Regarding music, I think most of it is A-spiritual. It’s just music. I am not a fan of metal—my preference is more acoustic— but I don’t associate any real spirituality to it. Like a squeaky door in a horror implies something spooky. It’s just a squeaky door! We’ve imported the thought of ghosts and goblins to it.
What distinguishes music as Christian or not are the lyrics. But that’s a different conversation.
I disagree – Instrumental music can be Christian.
Was Gary North trying to make a new Jonestown?
I never heard of the guy. Thankfully.
Exactly Duane. I recall a 50 year plan detailing homeschooling kids growing up to achieve positions in society resulting in demographic drift towards Reconstruction’s acceptance. “The Sword of Government” was explicitly identified as the goal.
OK. But just for fun, can you explain to me why notes either on a page or heard in the ear, which have no spiritual value other than what we give it can be Christian
The same way words are Christian. Words are just sounds that we’ve assigned certain meanings. Even with the acknowledged vocabulary, the spiritual nature of words is completely subjective. If a song mentions Jesus, it certainly could be a Christian song, but there are many songs that use the word Jesus as a curse. So, the words themselves don’t determine the spiritual nature of the song, then what does?
2 things: the author’s intent, and the listeners interpretation. If Handel intended the hallelujah chorus to be a Christian song, then it is. Authors intent. However, if a listener hears a different message in a song, and determines for himself that it is Christian, then it is. Example: John Mark McMillan heard Dylan’s” Make you feel my love” as a Christmas song. Good singing to his people about the distance He would travel to prove His love. And I’ll be darn, hes right. It’s a Christian song.
So, when Bach writes am instrumental organ fugue, and signs it “To the Glory of God”, he has produced a Christian song. Author’s intent. Likewise, when I and stunned at the Beauty of a Slide Hampton composition, and I close my eyes and thank God for creating such astonishing beauty, I too have listened to a Christian song, regardless of the authors intent.
I appreciate your taking the time to respond. This could be an interesting in person discussion. While you make some good points, I don’t necessarily agree.
But we can still be friends! 🙂
Disagree and still be friends?!?! Inconceivable!
Can a foreign language song be Christian? If so, then an instrumental will have the same reasons for being considered Christian.
No one disagrees with me and lives to tell the story 🙂
I’m on a sabbatical from blogging (but not commenting) but I’ve been reading a Bob Wegman book on the controversy surrounding mensural polyphonic music in the early modern period in Europe (roughly 1470 to 1520 or so) and it’s been interesting reading that, according to Wegman at least, there was no disagreement that music was basically good and that the Devil hated music on principle. But when objections from civil magistrates to polyphonic music emerged it opened up a can of worms with polemics from both sides. Purgatory and the beneficial system (i.e. indulgences) were necessarily involved and there were theologians arguing that music was worldly and impermanent and other theologians and musicians arguing that the problem wasn’t the music so much as its misuse. Wegman ends up quoting Erasmus later in the book and points out that England was a unique case because people who objected to fancy church music could very swiftly get charged with advocating Lollard views and get executed. Reading excerpts of Erasmus where he ranted about how the problem was not so much the music as that no one untrained in Latin could understand what was being sung about and the wealth used to bankroll it could have been used to help the needy and that the English made attending certain services mandatory has been interesting. My sense is Wegman’s more a music historian than a church historian so far. But what comes across in the book is that the very idea that any kind of music could somehow “intrinsically” belong to the devil didn’t show up in Western thinking before 1470 polemics against mensural polyphony. The proposed alternative was plain old plainchant … so it’s an indicator that Zwingli and Calvin were not even remotely the first theologians to argue for a more stripped down musical approach.
Which has me thinking that there are some topics, notably music history, where people who are familiar with Calvin and Zwingli will tend to not to take the claims of Lutherans and “some” Anglicans at face value regarding how much Calvinists and Zwinglians hated music. Erasmus really went to town on the corruption of professional church musicians.
at the risk of belatedly sharing the title …
I am listening to a teacher who must be unnamed here…
He is telling his congregation that our responsibility is to inform this world of sin, righteousness and judgement, but ONLY God the Holy spirit can convict and bring to repentance and acceptance of salvation
Pray! ! !
This is dating me back to the height of Vineyard days, when they were in the pinnacle of worship music.
One of my old favorites, David Ruis, used the song by Foreigner “I Want To Know What Love Is” numerous times in his massive worship set lists. He would also incorporate the chorus into many of his songs. I remember crying like a baby every time David Ruis broke out in that song.
“The heart is deceitful above all things, I the Lord search the heart.” Jeremiah 9-10 (Paraphrase)
I believe that might be the right answer.
I think you make my point that the lyrics determine whether a song is religious or not. Josh makes a good point regarding intent of the author. But with out an explanation or without a title, a song, simply by the notes played, would be difficult to determine that it was religious in nature. In my incontrovertible opinion 🙂
That’s OK Hoppy. Its good to be wrong sometimes 🙂
I miss those days when Vineyard Music was the best worship music out there. It was great listening to Eddie Espinoza lead worship at the last Vineyard Conference.
I also liked 90’s alternative music, still listen to it……
We’ll, you would know! Ooooooohhhhhhhh!!!!
Of all the worship-oriented music I have, Vineyard and Maranatha! are the one’s I appreciate the most.
Hoppy, my point was god searches the heart. Nobody else can. I sure can’t.
On the subject of Vineyard worship music, Kevin Prosch was my favorite, and still is. All the baggage that comes with him is still acceptable in my mind.
On the subject of worshippers, Mississippi Mass is the GOAT. I saw them once in my dads home church. They blew the roof off the building.
I’ve never been big on the P&W genre. Played with some popular artists back in the day, cut a couple of cd’s with Furtick as a matter of fact. PLay some of it at church every Sunday. The black gospel stuff does grab me a lot more. Just the conviction, the desperation of the singers. I like it.
U2 was big for me, and I would certainly classify a lot of their stuff as Christian. Stavescare were sold in Christian stores, and were Christians, but the music was more about every day struggles. They still speak to me. PLayed an old John Mark McMillan song with my daughter this morning at church. His stuff is great.
Lately, I’m stuck on The Damned. I’m not getting Christian messages out of it, but some of it is just so good. I’m shocked they weren’t bigger at some point.
What instrument do you play?
Actually, i find listening to Christian music exhausting and musically unsatisfying. The worship music of today is a disaster. I also find listening to sermons rather uninspiring. Most pastors preach like therapists rather than theologians.
Having been in full time ministry for 35 plus years, i find encouragement and inspiration in small group discussion. Both the worship and preaching just leave me flat.
I play a lot of instruments. I was a bass major in college, and probably had most of my “success” as a bassist, but I play guitar, drums, keys, mandolin…a lot of stuff, really. Grew up in music. Both of my sisters are amazing singers. I’m a good singer, but nothing special. When we were young, we sung together all the time. When it became apparent that I wasn’t going to be able to sing like them, I started learning instruments.
I have been fortunate to play with some great—some well known—musicians.Not that I am any good—just lucky.
My area, for some reason, has had a wealth of great artists over the years. I got to play with some of my heroes, which was awesome. Friday night, some old friends were playing at a local bar. Ran down and caught a bit of their set. It was fun, but I also don’t really miss it. I only play at church and record nowadays.
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