Thursday, April 05, 2007

Beats and Worship

I was involved in a conversation recently about music in worship, and whether or not certain beats were inherently sinful. I said no, and here is why;

I think we need to be careful not to place the sin in the "thing". Sin is something that *people* do. Rhythms and melodies and harmonies can be used in ways that do not glorify God, but they also can and should be used in ways that DO glorify Him. I don't think there is any such thing as a "sinful" beat, just sinful "beaters". But there are certainly "beats" that don't belong in the worship of God, since they are made for other purposes. Some music works really well when you are alone with your spouse with the lights down low, but it wouldn't be appropriate in a congregation.

How do you DO that?

There are a number of things that the Scriptures enjoin us to do, or recommend to us, and we don't have a handle on how to do them without sinning. I'm thinking of things like dancing (David in 2 Sam. 6:5), or drinking alcohol (Ps.104:15, Jn. 2:1-11), or shouting loudly (Ps.42:4), or how to throw a feast (Deut. 16:13), or making loud, fast, exuberant music (Ps.98). All of these things, I think we can all attest, can be used for sinful purposes. So how is a person supposed to learn how to do them in ways that glorify God? I would suggest that these are some of the reasons that God gives us elders. Elders in the church need to teach the congregation how to do these things. Which means that they need to learn how to do them themselves first.

I'll just take one of these as an example. I think that the cure for alcoholism, not to put too fine of a point on it, is that a man needs to drink with his pastor or elder every time he drinks, and to drink in the Church, at the Lord's Table. The wrong kind of company (either unbelievers looking for a buzz, or by himself) always leads him astray with drink. What he needs is godly company who will inspire him to enjoy, rather than abuse, God's good gifts. Someone that he can be accountable to in a godly way. Someone who loves him enough that they would be disappointed if he started slobbering in front of them, enough to make him wish to avoid such behavior.

But the same thing happens with worship as well. If the elders train a church how to sing exuberantly in worship in God-glorifying ways, the kids are less likely to show up at the rave. Learning how to sing whole Psalms at a good clip with lots of expression is like eating steak... who wants a hot dog afterward?

Monday, April 02, 2007

Short Summer...

It lasted long enough for the sun to melt the snowpack to about half it's winter-long depth, the remainder has become a thick, tough, crusty field which will take the sun that much more effort to disintegrate.

I woke this morning to a skiff of new snow, a northwest wind, and a -20 thermometer reading. Oh, April! Where are you?

Dreaming of April
Waiting for her to arrive
In all her finery...

The five day forecast called for sub-zero temperatures till Friday, by which time it is usually out of its reckoning anyway.

I've lived up here all my life, you would think that this wouldn't bother me by now. Maybe I'm just getting old and cranky.