Sunday, April 27, 2008

Finding the Holy in the common, or even the unholy...

I was driving down the highway the other day, and Forever Young by Rod Stewart came on. I understand that he wrote this song for his son, wishing him a good and happy life. I never really listened to the lyrics before, but for some reason I paid attention this time. I was somewhat dumbfounded to find him singing scripture.

Now, Rod Stewart isn't really known for morality or faith. If you look at many of his songs and his lifestyle, it's pretty clear how he has lived. (Not judging his current spiritual state, as I have no idea, but in the past, I think it was pretty clear where he stood.) From the same guy that sang songs like Tonight's The Night, Maggie May and Do Ya Think I'm Sexy, comes a song like Forever Young.

Makes me wonder what other common things, or even unholy things there are out there that contain a glimpse of the Holy... What are we missing?


Forever Young - Rod Stewart

May the good Lord be with you
Down every road you roam
And may sunshine and happiness
Surround you when you're far from home
And may you grow to be proud
Dignified and true
And do unto others
As you'd have done to you

Be courageous and be brave
And in my heart you'll always stay
Forever young, forever young
Forever young, forever young

May good fortune be with you
May your guiding light be strong
Build a stairway to Heaven
With a prince or a vagabond

And may you never love in vain
And in my heart you will remain
Forever young, forever young
Forever young, forever young
Forever young
Forever young

And when you finally fly away
I'll be hoping that I served you well
For all the wisdom of a lifetime
No one can ever tell

But whatever road you choose
I'm right behind you, win or lose
Forever young, forever young
Forever young ,forever young
Forever young, forever young
For, forever young, forever young

Monday, April 7, 2008

To Hymn Or Not To Hymn...

It really bothers me, this debate about hymns vs. 'modern' songs in the church. Not so much the difference in the music. That's just a matter of taste. Music is neither moral or immoral. It is amoral, so the difference in the music is just a matter of personal preference.

No, the issue for me is when people say that the old hymns are just so spiritual and full of scripture and sanctified and all that. Then they say the new stuff is shallow and they talk as if they are evil or something. Their opinion is based on the music style rather than the message of the song, and since they don't care for the style, it's automatically a bad song. That just kinda pisses me off.

I don't think the hymns need to go away. I like hymns, in moderation. It's no secret that I prefer contemporary music. But I do like some of the hymns. I just wanna see a good blend between the two styles in a church service.

Last night Pastor Craig was talking about the hymns in the hymnal. He was talking about how there are 100 hymns in the hymnal about consecration (being dedicated to a sacred purpose ). As he was listing some of them, this lady says, "So why don't we sing those songs anymore? We didn't sing any hymns this morning, the songs that we grew up with!"

Ok, well, first of all, our church sings MOSTLY hymns, so he really has no valid point to make there. And to assume that everyone grew up on those songs is pretty vain.

(We are starting to bring in some of the more contemporary stuff, but in my opinion it's watered down, cause instead of singing them the way they were intended to be sung, they are slowed down. But at least it's a little progress.)

Pastor had invited a bunch of college kids to the service and to a special lunch after church. Considering that demographic, if we had sung just hymns, do you think it would grab their interest and make them want to come back to our church? Probably not. Most kids that age are into the contemporary worship music. I think the song selection yesterday was very wise in one aspect. It was geared more toward those kids. But my problem with it is, if any of them come back, they may feel somewhat decieved when the music is reverted back to what is normally done and hymns are dominant.

Our church has stated that one of our primary target demographics is younger people, especially young couples with children. We're not going to attract that demographic if we continue to do things like it's 1955. The church has to change with the times. NOT compromising the gospel message or the integrity of what we are doing, but it must incorporate new things if it wants to attract the people of this day and age. People in 1500 were not singing the same songs that the disciples sang, and the church has endured. People in 1800 were not singing the same songs that people in 1500 sang, and the church has endured. So why do we place such importance today on songs that were written 200 or 300 years ago?

It's great to preserve traditions and all that, but the world looks on at the church and sees it stagnant, doing the same things as it was doing 200 years ago, and the world says, "Yuk." Why would a 30-something non-believer want to come to a church where the service looks like it's modeled after the church on Little House On The Prairie?

Written in 1885 by Carl Gustav Boberg, How Great Thou Art is a classic hymn of the church. It celebrates God's great creation and praises Him. It's one of my favorite hymns. Let's compare it to God of Wonders. Written in 2000 (115 years later) by Steve Hindalong and Marc Byrd, it, too, celebrates God's great creation and praises Him.

What makes one better than the other? What makes one more spiritual than the other? What makes one more scriptural than the other? What makes one more sanctified than the other?

The answer to all those questions is.... Nothing. The only real difference between the two is the accompanying music.

How Great Thou Art - Carl Gustav Boberg
O Lord my God, When I in awesome wonder,
Consider all the worlds Thy Hands have made;
I see the stars, I hear the rolling thunder,
Thy power throughout the universe displayed.

Then sings my soul, My Saviour God, to Thee,
How great Thou art, How great Thou art.
Then sings my soul, My Saviour God, to Thee,
How great Thou art, How great Thou art!

When through the woods, and forest glades I wander,
And hear the birds sing sweetly in the trees.
When I look down, from lofty mountain grandeur
And see the brook, and feel the gentle breeze.

Then sings my soul, My Saviour God, to Thee,
How great Thou art, How great Thou art.
Then sings my soul, My Saviour God, to Thee,
How great Thou art, How great Thou art!

And when I think, that God, His Son not sparing;
Sent Him to die, I scarce can take it in;
That on the Cross, my burden gladly bearing,
He bled and died to take away my sin.

Then sings my soul, My Saviour God, to Thee,
How great Thou art, How great Thou art.
Then sings my soul, My Saviour God, to Thee,
How great Thou art, How great Thou art!

When Christ shall come, with shout of acclamation,
And take me home, what joy shall fill my heart.
Then I shall bow, in humble adoration,
And then proclaim: "My God, how great Thou art!"

Then sings my soul, My Saviour God, to Thee,
How great Thou art, How great Thou art.
Then sings my soul, My Saviour God, to Thee,
How great Thou art, How great Thou art!
God Of Wonders - Steve Hindalong and Marc Byrd
Lord of all creation
Of water, earth, and sky
The heavens are Your tabernacle
Glory to the Lord on High

God of wonders beyond our galaxy
You are holy, holy
The universe declares Your majesty
You are holy, holy

Lord of heaven and earth
Lord of heaven and earth

Early in the morning
I will celebrate the light
And as I stumble through the darkness
I will call Your name by night

God of wonders beyond our galaxy
You are holy, holy
The universe declares Your majesty
You are holy, holy

Lord of heaven and earth
Lord of heaven and earth

Hallelujah to the Lord of heaven and earth
Hallelujah to the Lord of heaven and earth

God of wonders beyond our galaxy
You are holy, holy
Precious Lord, reveal Your heart to me
Father holy, holy
The universe declares Your majesty
You are holy, holy, holy, holy

Hallelujah to the Lord of heaven and earth

Lord of heaven and earth
Lord of heaven and earth

Early in the morning
I will celebreate the light
And as I stumble through the darkness
I will call your name by night

God of wonders beyond our galaxy
You are holy, holy
The universe declares your majesty
You are holy, holy

Lord of heaven and earth
Lord of heaven and earth

Halleluiah to the Lord of heaven and earth
Halleluiah to the Lord of heaven and earth

God of wonders beyond our galaxy
You are holy, holy
Precious Lord reveal your heart to me
Father holy, holy

The universe declares your majesty
You are holy, holy, holy, holy

Halleluiah to the Lord of heaven and earth
Halleluiah to the Lord of heaven and earth
Halleluiah to the Lord of heaven and earth
Halleluiah to the Lord of heaven and earth
Halleluiah to the Lord of heaven and earth
Halleluiah to the Lord of heaven and earth

What do you think about this song? Some of it is in Latin, but I've provided the translation for you:
Gloria
I try to sing this song
I, I try to stand up
But I can't find my feet
I try, I try to speak up
But only in you I'm complete

Gloria in te domine (Glory in You Lord)
Gloria - exultate (Glory exalt Him)
Gloria - gloria (Glory, Glory)
Oh Lord, loosen my lips

I try to sing this song
I, I try to get in
But I can't find the door
The door is open
You're standing there
You let me in

Gloria in te domine
Gloria - exultate
Oh Lord, if I had anything, anything at all
I give it to youI give it to you

Gloria in te domine
Gloria - gloria
Gloria in te domine
Gloria - gloria
Gloria - miserere (Glory, have mercy)
Gloria - gloria


Sorta sounds like a hymn. Maybe a Catholic one, with the Latin?







Nope. It's a song by U2 and it rocks! Referring to Psalms, Corinthians and James, how can you get more scriptural than that? We should be singing that song in church!

Friday, April 4, 2008

Shot rings out in the Memphis sky. Free at Last...

"And when this happens, when we allow freedom to ring, when we let it ring from every village and every hamlet, from every state and every city, we will be able to speed up that day when all of God's children, black men and white men, Jews and Gentiles, Protestants and Catholics, will be able to join hands and sing in the words of the old Negro spiritual, "Free at last! free at last! thank God Almighty, we are free at last!"

Full text of the I Have A Dream speech: http://www.usconstitution.net/dream.html

Pride (In The Name Of Love) - U2

One man come in the name of love
One man come and go.
One man come he to justify
One man to overthrow.

In the name of love
What more in the name of love.
In the name of love
What more in the name of love.

One man caught on a barbed wire fence
One man he resist
One man washed up on an empty beach
One man betrayed with a kiss.

In the name of love
What more in the name of love.
In the name of love
What more in the name of love.

Early morning, April four
Shot rings out in the Memphis sky...

Free at last, they took your life
They could not take your pride.

In the name of love
What more in the name of love.
In the name of love
What more in the name of love.
In the name of love
What more in the name of love.
In the name of love
What more in the name of love.

Thursday, April 3, 2008

MLK

MLK - U2

Sleep, sleep tonight
And may your dreams be realised.

If the thunder cloud passes rain
So let it rain, rain down on he.

So let it be.
So let it be.

Sleep, sleep tonight
And may your dreams be realised.
If the thunder cloud passes rain
So let it rain, let it rain
Rain on he.

After 30 years...

I've been subscribing to CCM Magazine since ninteen eighty-something. I still have every issue I ever bought, much to my wife's chagrin. Mostly they are packed up in boxes in the attic.

I just received the final in-print copy of the magazine in the mail. It was kind of a weird feeling, knowing that I'd never hold a new CCM again...

After 30 years of publication, CCM has gone totally online. While I can still read up on whats going on in the CCM world, it's still strange knowing that it won't come in my mailbox anymore.

I guess if it can be said that video killed the radio star, it can maybe be said that the internet killed everything else.

Anyway, a quote in an article by John Styll caught my eye and I think it really applies to the church as a whole, in particular the church we're currently attending:

Harold Best, former Dean of Wheaton College’s Conservatory of Music once said on these (CCM's) pages, “Sincerity of heart is never a substitute for excellence, even though far too many Christians hide behind this, excusing mediocrity or defending quick results. As has often been said, holy shoddy is still shoddy.

Whatever you do, you should do it with excellence, to the best of your ability, then leave the results up to God. (This is something I'm still trying to learn!)

Another very appropriate quote, "Too much blind acceptance of the status quo is like a rudderless journey to oblivion."

That's so true. Some people get so stuck on the way things have been that they can't accept change. Without change comes stagnation, and with stagnation, putrid disease. "We've been doing it that way for 30 years!" Yea, so? If something is clearly not working anymore, you have to change it to be effective.

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

We Need Each Other - Sanctus Real
I think I caught a glimpse of Life without friends
Bitter, empty, hollow, dark and lonely
We never meant to hurt each other
So can’t we trust again
And take it as a chance To keep on growing

I don’t know why it doesn’t come easy
But I know that we could be happy If we’d only learn to love

Oh oh we need each other
So what’s the fighting for
Oh oh we need each other
Please don’t close the door
Oh oh we need each other
Through all the highs and lows
Oh oh we need each other
Cause no one’s meant to live alone

Life revolves around the need
Of having someone
Causing every complicated feeling
Oh and I don’t want to loose you
And there is nothing wrong with
Telling me what you need
To keep our love strong

It’s just a part of being a family
Taking the good with the bad and the ugly
If we could only learn to love

Oh oh we need each other
So what’s the fighting for
Oh oh we need each other
Please don’t close the door
Oh oh we need each other
Through all the highs and lows
Oh oh we need each other
Cuz I don’t want to be alone

Oh Oh we need each other
Fathers and Mothers
Oh oh we need each other
All your sisters and brothers
Oh oh we need each other
We need friends and lovers
Oh Oh we need each other

Well I need you
You need me
Cuz that’s the way
It’s meant to be
I need you
We need each other
(I don’t want to be alone)

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

A New Direction...

Well, I had what might be called a 'spiritual experience' last night. It was a dream that I was in Radio City Music Hall watching Cavalli's Giasone. In my dream, I thoroughly enjoyed it and actually understood all the words. I now can understand opera, and I've taken this as a sign that I need to abandon my current collection and only listen to opera and classical music.

I've decided to sell my iPod and only listen to vinyl records, because the true sound of opera can only be reproduced on vinyl. Fortunately, I still have a turn table, so this isn't an issue. The issue is finding good operas on vinyl. I'll have to scour Ebay and all the used music shops, garage sales, and thrift shops.

I just hope selling all my current vinyl and CD's will bring in enough for me to amass a grand collection of opera and classical. Surely an original Beatles 'White Album' will bring in a few bucks. Maybe some of the Elvis, Abba, Monkees and U2 records will as well...


Oh crap, this means I have to rename my blog....