Cruisos and reading part 2 (100th post)
Thursday, July 05, 2007
This is post 100 for Sing Unto the Lord (Hoorah Hoorah). I thought I would come back to what I had said a while ago about how important it is for Christian musos (Cruisos) to read and think about theology. I want to add to that to talk a little about why Cruisos should think about theology and how it applies to the way we do music, as well as sharing some stuff that I have found helpful.
Unfortunately, music in churches have been the cause of innumerable divisions and schisms (same sort of thing but schism is a funner word). From the reformation and before to now people have always fought about church music. What should we sing? Only Psalms? No Psalms? With music? No Music? With a wordly instrument like the Pipe Organ? With drums? Can we sing music written by heretics? Should the band be on stage? Should we dim the lights? Do the congregation sing or is it just the choir? Are there styles that shouldn't be sung? Can we sing secular songs and change the words? All of these arguments and more have gone on since the beginning of church history.
The first thing to note is how sad it is that these trivial things cause so much division. While many stakeholders in these arguments care for God's glory, too many care for their own preferences.
The second thing is that it is crucial for cruisos, music directors and pastors/ministers to be well thought out about why they do what they do. In an area that has had so much error over the years it's important that we are careful and deliberate in all decisions we make. Part of this will be making sure that we are always reading God's word to shape our decisions. But there are many issues that are not covered explicitly in the Bible. How can we be wise and thought out about stuff if we don't have it written down for us?
That's where reading and discussing comes in. I think that Cruisos should be regularly reading stuff that helps them sharpen their minds in thinking about why they do what they do. Particularly because there is good material out there for consumption.
Below I'm going to list some stuff that I have found extremely beneficial. Some of these things I have mentioned before but that's because I really think they are worth checking out. Perhaps you can grab some of these resources and distribute them to your music team with the intention of discussing them at your next meeting. This will force people to read and think. The last thing that we want is a group of musicians performing a task that can have the potential to fall into heresy and man-pleasing, who have never thought about why they do what they do.
Sovereign Grace - Heaps of song downloads + sermon downloads. Not too many articles for reading but there are some.
Worship Resources - This is the home to the monthly webzine 'Worhip Notes'. The site deals mainly with a European context but often the zine has some stuff that relates to us in Australia.
SBTS Institute of Christian Worship - This is the worship arm of Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. Here you can find lectures galore. Spend days listening to them. There are some gems here.
Indelible Grace - This site is devoted to hymns and rewriting hymns. Lots of thinking has been done about this area of church music. These guys have some good articles about this.
Bob Kauflin 'Worship Matters' - This is pretty much the best blog on this area of church life that I have come across. Lots to wade through.
Doxologist - This is the music arm of Mars Hill church in Seattle. They often have interesting stuff but spend more time on critiquing music culture in the secular world. Good reading. Not heaps regularly updated.
Worship.com - This is a multi-contributor blog on church music and worship related stuff. It has a wide readership and references to lots of good blogs. It would be great to have something similar in Australia.
Garage Hymnal - Here you can read guys who think more about our Australian context. Not regularly updated but well thought out.
'Music through the Eyes of Faith' Harold Best - This book has heaps to say about the 'why' of Christian music. I have found this book to be brilliant in the way it deals with creativity in a music context. Must read!
'Singing and Making Music' Paul S. Jones - Lots of essays on different issues in church music like... Kids music, hymn writing, is there a place for clapping?, other stuff. Deals with issues through the Bible.
'Worship by the book' Don Carson - This book has a lot of great stuff in it but the first chapter is particularly fantastic. It deals with worship from a biblical perspective.
'Engaging with God' David Peterson - This is similar to the above book but a more in depth look at what the Bible says about worship.
There are lots more resources than just the ones I have described. These are just some of those that I have found really helpful as I've tried to think through why we do what we do in our context. I would encourage you to check these resources out particularly if you are serving in a music team but also if you want to think a bit more about how we can worship God in the way he has told us to worship him.
Posted byDan at 7:19 AM