All posts tagged "music appreciation"

Testing music


Ed Stetzer of Lifeway has seven helpful tests to filter through song selections for worship, five of which are cultural rather than theological. The third (Association test) has this anecdote: I was…speaking to a group of pastors, some of whom were Jamaican. I was challenging them to consider that there is no such thing as Christian music, only Christian lyrics. I asked if God could use jazz; they said yes. I asked if God could use country/western, they said yes. I asked a few others; then I asked if God could use reggae. They were shocked and clearly expressed that it was not appropriate. Reggae music was about drugs and there would be no reason to sing about drugs in church. They had a point. I then asked if it would be OK to use reggae music in my church where we have no concept of the drug connection. They agreed. The music was not the problem, the association was. The key question for the association test is this, “What does the music bring to mind in the heart of the worshipper?”  Note:  not what does it inspire in my heart– but what does it inspire in the heart of the worshipper. The history of church music suggests that every generation has its own music.  Today, many older Christians reject the contemporary music of the younger believers, while the younger don’t understand or use the music of past generations… His conclusion: God can use ANY form of music. God has no musical style or preference. Therefore, with the exception of the message and purpose test, the only tests that we have provided are cultural. The question is asked, “What impact does this music have on the culture via association, memory, emotions, understanding, and music?” These are not easy questions–but they are essential. Read the entire post here.


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Church bell ringing as art


I did not fully appreciate the musical art of church bell ringing until reading this piece from the New York Times, which in part says: Simple rope pulling it ain’t. Change ringing is a surprisingly difficult and subtle art that involves a series of coordinated hand movements and a sensitive touch. Ringers time their strokes partly by listening, partly by watching the movement of the ropes around them. A sense of timing is essential because of the one-second gap between the pull of the rope and the sound of the bell. More here. (Photo cred:  NYTimes)


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Why you should broaden your listening habits


Pastor Kevin DeYoung has a great post on Defending Musical Diversity in which he posits four ‘traditions’ of songs we should be singing: 1.  Psalms 2. Hymns 3. Contemporary songs 4. Non-anglo songs The fourth catagory he admits to being ‘artifical,’ but his points should be considered:  There is great room for Biblical and artistic diversity in music for Christian worship. Worth the read.


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Under the Radar radio


If you’re looking for a reliable source of new music, I recommend Under the Radar radio. Calling it ‘the best music you’ve never heard,’ host Dave Trout does a great job of introducing you to artists that you should know about if you haven’t. Says Dave: What music should you expect on UNDER THE RADAR? You’ll hear music from fairly undiscovered artists [Jill Phillips, Justin McRoberts, Lanae Hale, Andrew Osenga], some established artists who are under-appreciated [Derek Webb, Andrew Peterson, Cindy Morgan, Downhere], and some of the lesser-known songs from well-known artists [Sara Groves, Delirious?, Jars of Clay, Nichole Nordeman]. You can listen on-line, download, or find a station near you. Strongly recommended, especially if you’re an indie or grassroots or Americana fan.


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Hymn of an old insurance salesman


Bob Kauflin describes the story behind the song Great Is Thy Faithfulness: Thomas Chisholm, who sometimes described himself as “just an old shoe,”  was born in a Kentucky log cabin in 1866. He was converted when he was 27, became a pastor at 36, but had to retire one year later due to poor health. He spent the majority of the rest of his life as a life insurance agent in New Jersey. He died in 1960 at the age of 93. During his life he wrote over 1200 poems, most of which no one will ever hear. But back in 1923, at the “beyond his prime” age of 57, Thomas Chisholm sent a few of his poems to William Runyan at the Hope Publishing Company. One of them was Great is Thy Faithfulness, based on Lamentations 3:22-23. This means that your best songwriting may still be ahead of you! Kauflin’s full post includes an excerpt from a Chisholm letter that’s worth your time. (HT:  Between Two Worlds.  Photo cred:  Redbubble)


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Verbatim: Dumbing down worship music?


I think this dumbing-down is a result of the American Christian community’s forgetting its high calling. We have become seduced by the television mentality of pleasing the multitudes and worrying about ratings. We want to have people in the pews and are willing to conform to this world rather than be transformed by the renewing of our minds and hearts. I don’t mean to imply that a pipe organ and a great choir are better than a guitar and a praise leader. It goes far deeper than that. To mature both our minds and our hearts, we need more meat than milk. But in too many of our churches the world has crept in to the extent that one cannot tell the difference between a church and a conference center, between an altar and a stage, between sacred and secular music—all in the interest of attracting rather than challenging. John Nelson, Founder and Artistic Director, Soli Deo Gloria,  quoted from Christian Ce ntury.


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Classical music and shining eyes


This talk makes a good follow-up from the previous post on musical diversity. Benjamin Zander does a great job in not just sharing his passion for classical music, but explaining it in simple terms for everyone to understand. Best takeaway:  Understanding the importance of ‘shining eyes.’ When you adore or ignore classical music, this is worth 20 minutes of your time. Benjamin Zander: Classical music with shining eyes (from TED talks)


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