There are great gifts—both theological and musical—in the songs being sung in Japan and Peru and Zimbabwe. If those of us in the Northern Hemisphere do not within the next ten years sing the songs of Asia, Africa and South America in worship, our exclusion of them will be deemed racist. It will be seen as a case of musical apartheid.By joining other Christians in song, we in the body of Christ share the joy and the pain of fellow members, most of whom are black and poor, not white and affluent.
A tacit assumption is that PowerPoint computer presentations are merely a means to an end, a value-neutral tool used for innocent, even noble purposes: enlarging text for the hard of seeing; reducing the demand for printed materials; bringing younger people, who spend much of their lives in front of screens—TV, computer, cell phone, PDA—into worship. But PowerPoint is not value-neutral. As information design analyst Edward Tufte has argued, PowerPoint promotes a kind of cognitive style that routinely disrupts, dominates and trivializes content.
Singing the Gospel: Lutheran Hymns and the Success of the Reformation
The images abound in stock video footage accompanying stories on evangelicals, the religious right, megachurches and the culture wars—the obligatory shots of middle-class worshipers, usually white, in corporate-looking auditoriums or sanctuaries, swaying to the electrified music of “praise bands,” their eyes closed, their enraptured faces tilted heavenward, a hand (or hands) raised to the sky.
Wonderful Words of Life: Hymns in American Protestant History and Theology
Richard J. Mouw and Mark A. Noll, eds.
How Sweet The Sound: Music in the Spiritual Lives of Americans
"The rising of the sun / And the running of the deer, / The playing of the merry organ / Sweet singing in the choir” rings the chorus of “The Holly and the Ivy,” a favored carol of the season. It inspires me to a love song, an overdue tribute to the pipe organ, producer of merriment, inspirer of awe, mimic of angelic choruses, undergirder of hymns.
Back when 19th-century Methodists were debating whether to sponsor seminaries and promote a “learned ministry,” one bishop, it was said, opposed the idea. He connected vital faith and piety with ignorance. Challenged by a critic who asked the bishop whether he was thankful for his own ignorance, he proudly answered yes.
I’ve seen a lot of religious improvements come and go. I remember the “last day” emphasis in teen camp sermons. I was around for the concept of “sancta-nasium,” when the church sanctuary was combined with a teen-centered gymnasium.