Recently I finally bit the bullet and forced myself to read this book. I had taken a non-resistance class at Bible School and this was supposed to be one of the books we were to use for class material. Due to some mixup at the publisher, I didn’t get my copy until later in the summer. I had perused it but never really taken the time to really read it. Until now. Written by Steve Russell, a instructor at Faith Builders Educational Program, it is a one of the better books that I’ve read on the topic of non-resistance. A easy read. Although if you want a quick overview of what the book is all about, read the last section. It is just that, a summary of the entire book. But if you have the time, don’t shortchange yourself. Read the book in its entirety. You’ll find it to be Biblically based and from the perspective of a conservative Anabaptist. I heartily endorse it!
What does Oasis chorale and a common church chorus have in common? Is it simply music? Is the common denominator worship…praise? Or is one so far above the other that any comparison inevitably fails?
Ideally, there should be no comparison. What is common in both groups is music. And music is the vehicle that we use to express every emotion that we as humans feel within ourselves. Be it joy, sorrow, depression, praise, adoration or anger, we find a outlet for it in music. Music is by no means the only way we feel emotion. We can rant, throw a tantrum or vent in dialogue with a friend or two (editor’s note: these ‘dialogues’ can be quite heated and emotional). One way or the other, we will find a way to express ourselves. But where music shines is in its ability to express worship and praise, both individually and corporately. Worship and praise is unequivocally linked to God. Here, I pause temporarily…and resume and standby that comment until I’m persuaded otherwise. Anger and depression can also be directed to God but rarely is this expressed in music…music of the genre sung by the two aforementioned groups.
It is my belief that among these 2 groups, worship/praise is and should be the common denominator. Worship is not about hitting every note in perfect harmony among your part and that part among the other parts. Music sung exclusively in this manner cannot justifiably call itself worship. It is a performance. The written sheet music is memorized…how it should sound and then regurgitated in live concert. On the other hand, worship comes from the heart and should lead both singer as well as listener into the presence of God…the object of all adoration.
But, I can agree, in theory, to the concept behind ‘artistic worship‘. Just don’t confuse a ‘performance‘ with worship if it is dispassionately and without life. On the other hand, participating in a church chorus is not something that should be shrunk from. The goal of both a church chorus as well as a disciplined group of singers should be the same.
So for those that sometimes struggle with your hometown Sunday morning worship experience, relax. The Bible does not command us to make ‘perfect 8 part harmony before the Lord‘ but rather, make a joyful noise unto the Lord.
Until later I remain…
Normally I don’t expect to be challenged by a secular periodical. However, yesterday I happened to pick up the latest copy of Reader’s Digest and was pleasantly surprised by the article Joe Kita wrote on “Bouncing Back”. One line from the article caught my attention. “Lots of Americans are tasting failure for the first time and immediately trying to spit it out. Whether it’s a home foreclosure, unemployment or the evaporation of hard-earned savings, the have-it-all generation suddenly doesn’t.”
The author mixes research with a handful of real stories. All in all, a very well written article.
This is my $0.02 for the day…