In Weak Rivets, a Possible Key to Titanic’s Doom – the theories go on

Click here for the New York Times article. Once again, great catastrophes of made up of small shortcuts. Sounds like I have heard this before, like 2,000 years ago in the words of Jesus. Mat 7:13 – “Don’t look for shortcuts to God. The market is flooded with surefire, easygoing formulas for a successful life that can be practiced in your spare time. Don’t fall for that stuff, even though crowds of people do.” It feels like I live in a day of shortcut Christianity. Don’t have to pay attention to the rivets of building transformed lives – you can have it all today. But the rivets I use pop in a crisis. The ripping of the Titanic’s hull stopped at the point where the rivet materials changed from iron to steel. Rivets aren’t the ship, but they keep the ship strong. A lesson is in here somewhere for churches and those who attend them.

A case for a different kind of music in contemporary church

Last night I watched 60 Minutes, and they had a piece on The System. This refers to a classical music movement among children of the slums in Venezuela. Founded by an entrepreneurial philanthropist, over 300,000 children have learned the instruments and music we refer to as classical. The theory is that this music takes the children away from the slums in a different way than just economic assistance and the rudiments of the three R’s of education. As one student put it, this music takes them away from the music their parents drink to.

I wonder. As we use the popular forms of music in the church to bridge the distance between the church and its host culture, are we creating associations that blunt the force of the elevated message we preach? The tunes we use, if not the words, are the songs we drink to, make love to, party to. Do our souls long for more in church?

When I attend services in the Roman Catholic church along the way, I must admit that the music they present is of another kind – and that’s not a compliment. But still that style of music for a moment breaks me free from the gravity of pop culture. The Pope recently took a stand against the dumbing down of music in the church and called the church back to the use of Gregorian chants, etc.

I should not fail to remember that Luther and the Reformers, not to mention the Wesleys, took the message of the Gospel to the fields and mines to the tunes of the beer halls. The illiterate and poor learned the Gospel and remembered the Gospel through those lyrics put to the music of their times. But even as I remember, I should also recall that the church taught those same people to read so that they became less dependent on fast tunes and jingles to deepen their lives of devotion.

 

2008 Christianity Today Book Awards

2008 Christianity Today Book Awards
This year, 49 publishers nominated 359 titles published in 2007. CT editors selected the top books in each category, and then panels of judges — one panel per category — voted. In the end, we chose 10 winners and gave 11 awards of merit to the books that best shed light on people, events, and ideas that shape evangelical life, thought, and mission. Selections from judges’ comments are below.
posted 3/18/2008 09:47AM
Apologetics/Evangelism
There Is A God: How the World’s Most Notorious Atheist Changed His Mind
Antony Flew with Roy Abraham Varghese (HarperOne)

Biblical Studies
The Jesus Legend: A Case for the Historical Reliability of the Synoptic Jesus Tradition
Paul Rhodes Eddy and Gregory A. Boyd (Baker Academic)

Christianity and Culture
Faith in the Halls of Power: How Evangelicals Joined the American Elite
D. Michael Lindsay (Oxford)

Christian Living
Caring for Mother: A Daughter’s Long Goodbye
Virginia Stem Owens (Westminster John Knox)

The Church/ Pastoral Leadership
The Call to Joy and Pain: Embracing Suffering in Your Ministry
Ajith Fernando (Crossway)

Fiction
Quaker Summer
Lisa Samson (Thomas Nelson)

History/Biography
A Secular Age
Charles Taylor (Belknap)

Missions/Global Affairs
Disciples of All Nations: Pillars of World Christianity
Lamin O. Sanneh (Oxford)

Spirituality
The Jesus Way: A Conversation on the Ways That Jesus Is the Way
Eugene H. Peterson (Eerdmans)

Theology/Ethics
Resounding Truth: Christian Wisdom in the World of Music
Jeremy S. Begbie (Baker Academic)

Awards of Merit

Apologetics/Evangelism
Questions to All Your Answers: A Journey from Folk Religion to Examined Faith
Roger E. Olson (Zondervan)

Biblical Studies
Commentary on the New Testament Use of the Old Testament
G. K. Beale and D. A. Carson (Baker Academic)

Christianity and Culture
Amish Grace: How Forgiveness Transcended Tragedy
Donald B. Kraybill, Steven M. Nolt, and David L Weaverzercher (Jossey-Bass)

Christian Living
Ain’t Too Proud to Beg: Living Through the Lord’s Prayer
Telford Work (Eerdmans)

Gracism: The Art of Inclusion
David A. Anderson (Intervarsity)

The Church/Pastoral Leadership
The Dangerous Act of Worship: Living God’s Call to Justice
Mark Labberton (Intervarsity)

Fiction
Home to Holly Springs
Jan Karon (Viking)

History/Biography
The Great Awakening: The Roots of Evangelical Christianity in Colonial America
Thomas S. Kidd (Yale)

Missions/Global Affairs
Theology in the Context of World Christianity: How the Global Church Is Influencing the Way We Think About and Discuss Theology
Timothy C. Tennent (Zondervan)

Spirituality
Kingdom Triangle: Recover the Christian Mind, Renovate the Soul, Restore the Spirit’s Power
J. P. Moreland (Zondervan)

Theology/Ethics
Discovering God: The Origins of the Great Religions and the Evolution of Belief
Rodney Stark (HarperOne)