A (reformed) object in motion, tends to stay in motion

Remember how you used to love ‘rocking out’ on Sunday morning?
Remember how some days you just couldn’t get into the groove, couldn’t feel it, and felt that that Sunday church service was a bust? Was it even called a ‘church’ service back then? I forget.

And then you got bit by the reformation bug.

Remember how quickly your taste for high-octane spirit filled guitar solos dissipated?
Remember how you started equating those worship teams with failed 70s bands that only appeared on stage in mid-American farmer’s fairs performing their almost remembered hit to crowds of anywhere from fifteen to twenty-nine people-for free?
Remember how stupid you felt every time you recalled how emotional you got during ‘worship’ songs containing less then 2% real juice? That would be biblical content, folks.
You remember. So do I.
Ewww, gross.

Ok, but we escaped, right? We came to understand what it meant to respond to our Lord’s Call to Worship. To Enter into His Rest every Lord’s day. To glory in Our Lord’s Glory. Worship came to mean everything; every part of the service came to be understood as an act of worship, not just the songs. And those songs! Those old, worn out hymnals and psalters. It was like singing the bible. Sure, maybe we’d think a bad thought now and again when the organist made a blunder and the building trembled and our ears bled a tiny bit, but we still don’t miss the guitar solos. Never.

But maybe, just maybe, you haven’t gone far enough. Perhaps, you used to REALLY be into that white hot spirit filled cutting edge rocking for Jesus worship music. Maybe it was YOU that played the guitar, stole that riff from your favorite song from Journey, or was it REO Speedwagon? Maybe there are ways to get even further away from that stuff, to escape the memories.

So, now you start thinking that it is probably a good idea to stick to singing only songs that are OT Certified. After all, God gave us a psalter, why should we think He wants us to make our own? So let’s only sing the psalms.

And now, those calluses on your fingertips start to ache at the first blaring note from that organ. She really is a sweet old lady, but no one else in the church can play that beast, and she is really pretty old; so maybe we should not be looking for a replacement. After all, aren’t these tunes just the 15th century equivalent to today’s Contemporary Crud? Or worse, wasn’t Martin Luther known to rock out, in a pub? ( I just had an image of Luther, in monks garb, wearing Elton John’s glasses, busting out A Mighty Fortress. I’d pay to see that.)
So lets only sing the psalms, using only our voices.
That’s right, acapella.

And that keeps you going for a while. It’s not pretty, but it sure isn’t anything even remotely how it used to be, in the Time Before. But well, objects in motion…

So what next? Maybe it’s time to stop singing altogether. Acapella was Ok, but isn’t there an R&B act that sings acapella? And they ARE popular…
So lets only chant the psalms. We don’t even need the psalter for that; as long as everyone is using the same translation we can read them straight from the Word itself.
It’s doable, especially since at this time you are already thinking KJV is really the only way to go.

I am imaging a future denomination where each Lord’s Day the community of ex-evangelical worship leaders and their groupies come together to NOT sing the psalms, in an effort to atone for those truly horrible, wretched years where we worshipped our emotional states in place of the Living God.
But I won’t be attending. Christ has forgiven me of my sins. Even THAT one. So for me it is ok to sing songs that embody the Holy Word of God, even if not literally. I can handle singing to a tune, accompanied by instrumentation, even one composed in the last hundred years. I can even recite a creed if it exemplifies the principles and doctrines of God’s Holy Word. All while upholding the regulative principal of worship. But I suck at juggling, go figure.
Paraphrase is not the enemy, it’s pride that comes before a fall. May The Lord watch our steps, and may He constantly direct our motion, heading ever closer to His wonderous presence.

Christianity, Religion

Who you calling green? I’m Reformed!

I hear it again and again.
Those treehuggers. Hippies. Liberals.
I find it ironic that the reformed community, where covanentalism abounds, and phrases like “the creation mandate” escape the lips of more than a few, still makes a sour-puss face when words like ‘green’, ‘sustainability’, or even #gasp# ‘ecology’ show up in the conversation.
Not like that happens much, in a positive sense anyhow.
What is up with that?
I suspect it has more to do with politics than it does religion.
So why do so many Reformed Christians appear to be on the wrong side of the fence? The fence being, the awareness that how we live in our environment has an impact on that environment, for better or worse.
Did you get that memo?
Francis Schaefer wrote ‘Pollution and the Death of Man’ in the early 70s.
Great book.
Read it.

I am gonna air my suspicions: there was a time when it was commonly understood that the creation mandate contained in its principles a sort of fiscal responsibility, ecologically speaking. But as the schisms continued, the liberal mainline, with its conflation of ‘social’ with ‘gospel’, created a knee jerk response in the orthodox community. If the liberals are going to make social causes their thing, than we are gonna make the pure gospel our thing. With those lines drawn, it is no surprise which camp is more cognizant of the current ecological crises (and it is a crises, to be sure).

The conservative camp has a few excuses in the form of dispensationalism: if the world is going to hell and the church is going to be raptured from it, then why spend time polishing the brass on a sinking ship? It’s all gonna burn, right?
But what about those non-dispensationalists? What do the amil and post-mil think? After all, it is at least conceivable that the millennium continue for quite a few more millennia. If that is the case, shouldn’t we want to be paying attention to certain ecological facts?  You don’t have to be a main liner to see how poor food quality is becoming in the USA. You don’t have to be a genius to understand that poor food leads to poor health, and poor health leads to poor economic production, not to mention exorbitant medical expenses on a national level. This is merely one issue on a very long list of issues.
Do not be confused, this is not a call for the church to go green ( I am reformed after all). But the church is to be the salt and light, to be the body of Christ, to be able to explain to the world that our Father’s creation is to be handled as if it mattered what kind of condition it was in when it was entrusted to our stewardship, as if it mattered to us that when our Master returns we might say “see, with what you gave me I was able to increase it a hundredfold”, and not, “oops. We had no idea that this or that activity would have caused such drastic long term damage to your creation, Lord.”
We may not be given the permission to destroy His work entirely, but I am pretty sure we can mess things up to the degree that our children’s children live lives in horrible contrast to the abundant lives we live today.
So what do you think?
Are we being good stewards, or not?
Does it matter, or is it all gonna happen the way it happens so don’t even think about it?