Posts Tagged music

Ordinary Grace – Jo Turner

The Daily Cup
 Jun 21, 2017 08:54 pm

According to the Church calendar, we are in the season known as Ordinary Time. The 28 weeks are marked by … well, not much. No angels and wise men, empty tomb, tongues of flame, no ascending Messiah. It’s not called ordinary because it’s boring, however. The name actually comes from the root word “ordinal;” we are counting the weeks following Pentecost, all the way to Advent.

I’m more than comfortable with it just being plain old ordinary, though. It’s Holy Spirit season, when we are reminded that God is with us exactly where we are, not just in mountaintop experiences. I don’t know about you, but I don’t live a life of banners and fanfares, and life certainly is not always a celebration. Loving those enriching holy days as we do, we now have the opportunity to be Spirit-fed in our everyday living. Particularly here in Washington, we are often braced for the next dramatic turn of events. We may miss the gift of uneventful days to recharge in every way, including spiritually.

I left my office early today. Not in the best if moods, I was struggling, so I came home and scrubbed my kitchen floor. And I mean down-on-hands-and-knees scrubbing. In the silence of an empty house, applying myself to a simple task that humans have done for thousands of years, I started to feel at peace. As often happens, a bit of music started playing in my head as I worked.

From Bernstein’s Mass:
Sing God a simple song:
Lauda, Laudē
Make it up as you go along:
Lauda, Laudē
Sing like you like to sing.
God loves all simple things,
For God is the simplest of all,
For God is the simplest of all.

Whether we are scrubbing floors or sipping morning coffee or waiting for sleep at night, we can be quietly vulnerable to the workings of the Spirit. God longs to be in relationship with us, it is indeed that simple. Ordinary Time is a gift. Let us always keep an empty chair at our soul’s kitchen table for the heavenly guest. Our ordinary lives can be transformed.

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Songwriterter sees good news in declining role of church music.

JEFF BRUMLEY | MAY 24, 2017 Baptists News Global

Some people were surprised — and worried — to learn from that sermons are a much stronger draw to church attendance than music. And it was worse than that for music lovers. The Gallup presented a list of motivations Americans give for going to worship, and music was solidly in last place. But with a month to reflect on the discovery, Christian musician, songwriter and minister Kyle Matthews is not worried. Far from it. “I think it might be good news,” Matthews said during a recent conference call. “It indicates people are more hungry for substance than we give them for,” said Matthews, minister of worship arts at First Baptist Church in Greenville, S.C. Matthews has had his eye on Christian music, and what churches want and don’t want, for a long time. he was a artist and a songwriter for publishing companies in Nashville, Tenn. He’s won a Dove Award and other Christian songwriting achievements. 38 37 an April poll survey FaithSoaring Churches Learning Community credit For more than 20 years recording FEATURED We are reader supported DONATE N S EARCH ews Opinion Curated More i 5/24/2017 Songwriter sees ‘good news’ in declining role of church music – Baptist News Global https://baptistnews.com/article/songwriter­sees­good­news­declining­role­church­music/#.WSXcH2grI2x 2/7 Kyle Matthews But Matthews said he left the industry for its focus on profit at the expense of providing theological education and Christian formation. Through his current church ministry, he pursues worship songwriting that places liturgy above entertainment. But music that provides inspiring, substantive lyrics does not sell in a praise­and­worship world, Matthews said. That’s why the Gallup poll’s findings are so interesting, he told other ministers on the conference call. The Christian music industry, he said, is made up of people who are trying to serve a market. “They are business people, not theologians, historians or music educators. They are business people.” And what sells is music with shallow lyrics with little or no theological content. Matthews said he’s known songwriters and performers who are unfamiliar with Scripture. As a result, music has become “wallpaper instead of furniture” in worship. Rather than working to instruct Christians in the faith, contemporary worship music is filled with mantras and clichés designed to alter moods, Matthews said. That kind of music comes and goes because it’s become disposable. “I don’t think people are allowed to get to know church music well enough to interact with it.” But the industry isn’t the problem, Matthews added. “If the church would demand a different product, they would get a different product.” It’s also the people in the pews. The industry is “responding to what the public is asking for.” That has been praise music which is entertaining and happy, and avoids darkness and difficult concepts, he said. “It can become a form of escapism rather than a form of encounter with God.” It’s why the April Gallup poll could be good news. It may signal that people in the pews may want something more. That could be why sermons are at the top of the list, and contemporary Christian music, with its mantras and clichés, is at the bottom.

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Communication as Blessing

Good conversation like good music or a good book nourishes the soul. Good communication builds relationships. Nothing says more about a person’s caring than his or her willingness to listen without judgment or interruption. Sometimes our greatest ministry is simply to be one hundred percent present and to listen without judgment or interruption.

There are times when there are no words capable of conveying what is in our hearts, but there are no times when being one hundred percent present with another is not effective. Raymond DeSchazo, former professor at Mars Hill University, was fond of saying, “The way you know when you really love another person is when you can be in a room together for hours and neither of you says a word.” Just being present is enough.

We all need and search for connectedness. We know how it feels to be in a crowd and yet feel utterly alone and isolated. We need and want to belong. We need to touch and be touched. We can be warmed by another person’s smile or simple acknowledgement.

The ability to communicate is a gift. We can bless others by the way we use our gift to heal, to build-up and not to harm.

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Thankful Thursday – Pat and Bud (Ernest) Brown

On this Thankful Thursday I am grateful for the presence of Pat and Bud Brown in my life. Pat and Bud are the co-hosts of Baptist House at the Chautauqua Institution in western New York State. They have made the beautiful old denominational house a place of thoughtful conversation, relaxation and mental and spiritual stimulation. They have welcomed and encouraged me in the promotion of Christian Civility. Bud is a Baylor graduate. He received a Master’s degree from Simmons College and the Ph.D. from the State University of New York at Buffalo. He is a pianist, organist, and music director. Pat had a great teaching career and is a wonderful hostess. On this Thankful Thursday, I am grateful for the gifts that Pat and Bud Brown bring to my life.

Thankful Thursday is a day set aside to recognize the importance of someone to our lives and to let her or him know of our gratitude. Develop an attitude of gratitude. Say Something Nice; Be a Lifter. You will be glad that you did.

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