Christian music these days is pushing across the boundaries of what many churches and denominations used to regard as acceptable. The introduction of new styles of music in worship—often styles associated with secular popular culture—symbolizes the extent of a given church’s cultural relevance and outreach. For that reason, it’s increasingly important for churches to become not only more inclusive and diverse, but also more discerning and discriminating in their musical offerings.
Some years back, I was surprised to hear John called the beginner’s Gospel. Surely the Gospel to begin with was Mark, the shortest and most likely the oldest, or Luke, with all those wonderful stories. John seemed to me a second-semester topic—or a graduate-level course. I saw it as an astonishing theological elaboration and re-presentation of the person of Jesus of Nazareth seen in the other books. The testimony of those sources needed to be heard first, I thought, before John’s majestically self-describing Christ could be understood.There was an additional reason that I thought it a mistake to hand the fourth Gospel over to “baby Christians.” I thought the book dangerous.
Spin cycle: The American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials recently approved a national network of bi cycle paths and lanes of over 50,000 miles. Called the U.S. Bicycle Route System, it will largely incorporate existing trails and roadways. The success of the system will depend on state highway departments and agencies that oversee roads and trails (Bicycling, March).