How Christianity, for awhile, became cool

The 1970s was a time of hippies, free love, psychedelic drugs, and cultural revolution.  But it was also a time of major religious revival, with the “Jesus Movement” gaining headway in that very counter-culture.  How could that be?  Baylor professor Philip Jenkins credits the Byrds, who popularized a recovery of American roots music, much of which is explicitly Christian.  He explains:

At least part of the explanation lies outside the religious realm, in quite secular musical trends of the late 1960s, and the rediscovery of American musical roots — originally, without any religious intent whatever. As a driving force in the new cultural/religious upsurge I would point to one group above all, namely the Byrds. Through the mid-1960s, the Byrds moved ever more deeply into psychedelic experimentation, culminating with the 1968 album The Notorious Byrd Brothers, but at that point, things changed radically. David Crosby left the group, which now added Gram Parsons, with his enduring passion for country and western music. In 1968, the reformed Byrds began recording at Nashville, where they even played the Grand Old Opry. (The audience had no idea what to make of them).

In August 1968, the Byrds released the album Sweetheart of the Rodeo, which pioneered a new style of country rock. It also initiated a revolutionary change in the country music world, which was at the time very conservative musically and politically, and where long hair was strictly taboo. (Merle Haggard’s Okie From Muskogee became a huge hit the following year, and a confrontational conservative anthem). At first, country listeners assumed Sweetheart was meant as a mocking retro parody, while the rock audience was bemused. Over the next few years, though, the two genres increasingly coalesced, with all sorts of fusion styles inbetween — country rock, Southern rock, outlaw country, and the rest. (John Spong recently published a terrific history of this synthesis as it developed through the 1970s in Texas Monthly, but subscription is required).

Suddenly and shockingly, “country” culture became fashionable, as part of the Southernization that historian Bruce Shulman described as one of the key social trends sweeping America in the 1970s. This shift was greatly strengthened by the demographic and economic trends of these years, and the shift of wealth and population from Rustbelt to Sunbelt states.

Quite unintentionally, the Byrds also revived and legitimized Christian themes in music for an audience wholly unaccustomed to them. If you want to revive America’s roots music, it’s hard to do so without incorporating hymns, gospel and Christian songs, and Sweetheart of the Rodeo featured such evocative classics as I am a Pilgrim and The Christian Life.

In 1969, they recorded the Art Reynolds Singers song “Jesus is Just Alright with Me,” which became an anthem for the emerging Jesus People. Plenty of other artists jumped on the bandwagon, recording or adapting Christian roots — and that is quite distinct from the contemporary emergence of avowedly Christian contemporary music. (Christian rock largely dates from Larry Norman’s 1969 album Upon This Rock). The language of pilgrimage, redemption and sin entered rock music, as did Satan himself: in 1970, the Grateful Dead issued Friend of the Devil.

Suddenly, young people who knew nothing whatever about the American religious heritage were exposed to this music, in highly accessible rock/country fusion styles, played by hip musicians with long hair and beards. Along the way, they also heard key evangelical messages, which suddenly became cool and contemporary.

And that, I suggest, is a major reason why those Christian movements were suddenly able to find young audiences open and receptive to their messages.

via RealClearReligion – When Evangelicals Were Cool.

I love the Byrds!  I heard them play.  I do remember marveling at all of the Christian references I was hearing in their music and in other albums of that day.

And yet, I’m not sure I’m convinced by this analysis.  Why did those old hymns and gospel songs resonate with people like Gram Parsons and record-buyers the way they did?

I think a better explanation is that where sin abounds, grace breaks in.  Which means that we may be in for another spiritual awakening soon.

But this gives me the excuse to post some Byrds music. (“Jesus is Just All Right With Me” comes from 1970, though there is nothing particularly rootsy about it. Gram Parsons joined the group in 1968, but the far better “Turn, Turn, Turn”–a setting of Ecclesiastes 3:1-8 by Pete Seeger–came out in 1965. This YouTube version is stellar, but it is more recent, from 1990.)

UPDATE:  Thanks to SK Peterson for bringing up this STUNNING song by Gram Parsons (with harmony by co-writer Emmylou Harris AND Linda Rondstadt):  “In My Hour of Darkness.”  This is what the original article is talking about, not just with the coolness factor (though the accompanying pictures of these three performers are very, very cool) but with the way Parsons is taking that old-time gospel hymn structure and using it in a highly personal and expressive way.  (I think we will all need to purchase the two-album set GP / Grievous Angel.)

I would add that the difference between this and what passes for most contemporary Christian music in the pop vein, in addition to facing up to “darkness,” is that Parsons is drawing on the past, on the Christian musical tradition, rather than repudiating it.

About Gene Veith

Professor of Literature at Patrick Henry College, the Director of the Cranach Institute at Concordia Theological Seminary, a columnist for World Magazine and TableTalk, and the author of 18 books on different facets of Christianity & Culture.

  • Pete

    So is David Crosby a “cowardly lion” look-alike, or what?

  • Pete

    So is David Crosby a “cowardly lion” look-alike, or what?

  • SKPeterson

    Here’s a Gram Parsons/Emmylou Harris combo that’s illustrative:

    Hearkening back to our conversations about Thomas Kinkade and the tortured artist, what of Gram Parsons? A truly seminal artist in many ways in defining much of a new musical genre (although maybe simply picking up some loose strands, music is a very fluid artistic medium).

  • SKPeterson

    Here’s a Gram Parsons/Emmylou Harris combo that’s illustrative:

    Hearkening back to our conversations about Thomas Kinkade and the tortured artist, what of Gram Parsons? A truly seminal artist in many ways in defining much of a new musical genre (although maybe simply picking up some loose strands, music is a very fluid artistic medium).

  • reg

    Many of the later musicians of that band were Christians-Gram Parsons, Clarence White, Chris Hillman. I also read somewhere that Roger McGuinn is a Christian. I also want to put a plug in for two other musicians of that era who are now avowedly Christian and yet still put out pretty good rock and roll-Chris Hillman (great CD from 2010 with a fantastic blue grass version of 8 miles high) and Richie Furay who is apparently a pastor now (great double live CD from 2007 with both his classics and some new songs)

    Whether the Byrds made Christianity cool I do not know, but man the music is awesome.

  • reg

    Many of the later musicians of that band were Christians-Gram Parsons, Clarence White, Chris Hillman. I also read somewhere that Roger McGuinn is a Christian. I also want to put a plug in for two other musicians of that era who are now avowedly Christian and yet still put out pretty good rock and roll-Chris Hillman (great CD from 2010 with a fantastic blue grass version of 8 miles high) and Richie Furay who is apparently a pastor now (great double live CD from 2007 with both his classics and some new songs)

    Whether the Byrds made Christianity cool I do not know, but man the music is awesome.

  • Andy B.

    A few years back Roger McGuinn said that as a Christian he could not be unequally yoked with unbelievers and therefore could not be in a business relationship with “one of the Byrds” and would therefore leave the Byrds a happy memory.

    It is assumed that he was referring to Crosby.

    Chris Hillman became a Christian and was featured on the Seventy-Sevens Byrd’s sounding “The Lust, the Flesh and the Eyes”

  • Andy B.

    A few years back Roger McGuinn said that as a Christian he could not be unequally yoked with unbelievers and therefore could not be in a business relationship with “one of the Byrds” and would therefore leave the Byrds a happy memory.

    It is assumed that he was referring to Crosby.

    Chris Hillman became a Christian and was featured on the Seventy-Sevens Byrd’s sounding “The Lust, the Flesh and the Eyes”

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  • http://www.geneveith.com Gene Veith

    Oh, man, SKPeterson, what a great song! I’m updating the post to feature it (though I’m using a different video). And, yes, Gram Parsons was another tortured soul.

  • http://www.geneveith.com Gene Veith

    Oh, man, SKPeterson, what a great song! I’m updating the post to feature it (though I’m using a different video). And, yes, Gram Parsons was another tortured soul.

  • http://enterthevein.wordpress.com J. Dean

    On the one hand, yes; it did bring Christianity into the mainstream forefront for a bit, much like the song “I can only imagine” by MercyMe is doing, as I hear it on secular stations. Inasmuch as that it was a tool to bring people to saving faith in Christ, more power to it!

    But on the other hand, it also helped to set up the “entertainment” and “fad” mindset for Christianity as well. As a former rock and roll musician, I can say for a fact that the medium IS the message, and this is no different. It was “cool” to like Christianized music because it was the Byrds doing it, not necessarily because the lyrics were theologically piercing or convicting.

    Furthermore, it’s interesting to read the scathing remarks of Keith Green and Rich Mullins concerning the direction that the music went as time went on. When the church follows the bandwagon of the world, it inevitably starts looking like the world in ways it may not have intended, and that’s not a good thing.

    Last topic: I like Christian rock and entertainment, but not on Sunday morning. Things like this started finding their way into the services, and as a result it has produced a very adolescent Christianity, full of passion and emotion, but shallow regarding doctrine and substance (Need to thank you for recommending The Juvenilization of American Christianity, Dr. Veith! GREAT book!)

  • http://enterthevein.wordpress.com J. Dean

    On the one hand, yes; it did bring Christianity into the mainstream forefront for a bit, much like the song “I can only imagine” by MercyMe is doing, as I hear it on secular stations. Inasmuch as that it was a tool to bring people to saving faith in Christ, more power to it!

    But on the other hand, it also helped to set up the “entertainment” and “fad” mindset for Christianity as well. As a former rock and roll musician, I can say for a fact that the medium IS the message, and this is no different. It was “cool” to like Christianized music because it was the Byrds doing it, not necessarily because the lyrics were theologically piercing or convicting.

    Furthermore, it’s interesting to read the scathing remarks of Keith Green and Rich Mullins concerning the direction that the music went as time went on. When the church follows the bandwagon of the world, it inevitably starts looking like the world in ways it may not have intended, and that’s not a good thing.

    Last topic: I like Christian rock and entertainment, but not on Sunday morning. Things like this started finding their way into the services, and as a result it has produced a very adolescent Christianity, full of passion and emotion, but shallow regarding doctrine and substance (Need to thank you for recommending The Juvenilization of American Christianity, Dr. Veith! GREAT book!)

  • http://theoldadam.com/ Steve Martin

    I like Norman Greenbaum’s, “Spirit in the Sky”

    Great theology! And a great sound.

  • http://theoldadam.com/ Steve Martin

    I like Norman Greenbaum’s, “Spirit in the Sky”

    Great theology! And a great sound.

  • kerner

    Steve @7: “Great theology”?

  • kerner

    Steve @7: “Great theology”?

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  • kerner

    When I was a kid, I found some Christian overtones here:

    Written by Jackson Browne, but I liked Linda Ronstadt’s performance better. Great sound. But the theology may have been parly wishful thinking on my part. But at least it was there for me to wish about.

  • kerner

    When I was a kid, I found some Christian overtones here:

    Written by Jackson Browne, but I liked Linda Ronstadt’s performance better. Great sound. But the theology may have been parly wishful thinking on my part. But at least it was there for me to wish about.

  • SKPeterson

    kerner @ 8 – Relative to the theology that is absent in most modern praise songs, yes, “Spirit in the Sky” is great, deep theology. ;)

  • SKPeterson

    kerner @ 8 – Relative to the theology that is absent in most modern praise songs, yes, “Spirit in the Sky” is great, deep theology. ;)

  • Dr. Luther in the 21st Century

    @#6 The medium is not the message. It is a part of the message. The melody, key and rhythm affect how we receive what the song is saying, but it is not the entirety of the message. The beauty of music is that it engages us on many levels. So, it cannot be so simple as to say the medium is the message.

    Also, to make such a simplistic claim is to sell genres short no matter the genre. Nearly every musical genre can convey the entire spectrum intellectually and emotionally. Not to mention there is incredible overlap between genres as noted in the OP.

    Now in regards to the OP, the music industry’s fascination with Christian themes has not ended. There are several bands out there who are not “Christian” bands but still use a fair bit of biblical imagery in their music, Metallica, Avenged Sevenfold, and Apocalyptica come to mind.

  • Dr. Luther in the 21st Century

    @#6 The medium is not the message. It is a part of the message. The melody, key and rhythm affect how we receive what the song is saying, but it is not the entirety of the message. The beauty of music is that it engages us on many levels. So, it cannot be so simple as to say the medium is the message.

    Also, to make such a simplistic claim is to sell genres short no matter the genre. Nearly every musical genre can convey the entire spectrum intellectually and emotionally. Not to mention there is incredible overlap between genres as noted in the OP.

    Now in regards to the OP, the music industry’s fascination with Christian themes has not ended. There are several bands out there who are not “Christian” bands but still use a fair bit of biblical imagery in their music, Metallica, Avenged Sevenfold, and Apocalyptica come to mind.

  • Armand

    Re: Spirit in the Sky – Despite the theological vacuousness of most modern praise songs, I’d take them any day over a song that states, ‘I’ve never been a sinner, I’ve never sinned.’

  • Armand

    Re: Spirit in the Sky – Despite the theological vacuousness of most modern praise songs, I’d take them any day over a song that states, ‘I’ve never been a sinner, I’ve never sinned.’

  • SKPeterson

    DL21C @ 11 – Don’t forget the Arminians in System of a Down.

  • SKPeterson

    DL21C @ 11 – Don’t forget the Arminians in System of a Down.

  • kerner

    skp @10:

    Hey, this time of year we get to sing “God Bless America” in Church; composed by that great Christian hymnologist, Irving Berlin. ;)

    But seriously: “I’ve never been a sinner, I never sin. I gotta friend in Jesus…” Better put a ;) next to that, buddy.

  • kerner

    skp @10:

    Hey, this time of year we get to sing “God Bless America” in Church; composed by that great Christian hymnologist, Irving Berlin. ;)

    But seriously: “I’ve never been a sinner, I never sin. I gotta friend in Jesus…” Better put a ;) next to that, buddy.

  • Dr. Luther in the 21st Century

    @#13 Thanks a lot, I am trying desperately to forget System of a Down. ;) I can’t stand System of a Down.

  • Dr. Luther in the 21st Century

    @#13 Thanks a lot, I am trying desperately to forget System of a Down. ;) I can’t stand System of a Down.

  • Stephen

    “I would add that the difference between this and what passes for most contemporary Christian music in the pop vein, in addition to facing up to “darkness,” is that Parsons is drawing on the past, on the Christian musical tradition, rather than repudiating it.”

    You nailed it Dr. Veith. As a former rock musician, I CAN”T STAND the way contemporary, pop lite “rock” music has taken over our worship in the Lutheran church. In the first band I played in at 16 we did the Doobie Brothers version of “Jesus is Just Alright” but there really wasn’t much else one could mine for tunes in this vein.

    In my early 20s I stumbled onto T-Bone Burnet’s early records like Truth Decay and Trap Door (highly recommend for you roots music lovers) and found what seemed to be missing in other attempts at hip Christian music – poetry, as well as sensibility about the music itself. Though I avoid it, it is still the case when I come across the stuff. Years ago I played T-Bone Burnett songs at youth gatherings and bible camp and the kids loved it.

    Nick Cave has stuff about Jesus from a somewhat agnostic perspective that is pretty good. And then there’s Bruce Cockburn. His best records, IMO, are the ones he made with T_Bone – Nothing but a Burnin’ Light and Dart to the Heart – are flawless and really visceral roots influenced music either overtly or tacitly about Jesus. And Cockburn’s Christmas album is a must have. “Cry of a Tiny Baby” of that record is an amazing retelling of the Christmas Story.

  • Stephen

    “I would add that the difference between this and what passes for most contemporary Christian music in the pop vein, in addition to facing up to “darkness,” is that Parsons is drawing on the past, on the Christian musical tradition, rather than repudiating it.”

    You nailed it Dr. Veith. As a former rock musician, I CAN”T STAND the way contemporary, pop lite “rock” music has taken over our worship in the Lutheran church. In the first band I played in at 16 we did the Doobie Brothers version of “Jesus is Just Alright” but there really wasn’t much else one could mine for tunes in this vein.

    In my early 20s I stumbled onto T-Bone Burnet’s early records like Truth Decay and Trap Door (highly recommend for you roots music lovers) and found what seemed to be missing in other attempts at hip Christian music – poetry, as well as sensibility about the music itself. Though I avoid it, it is still the case when I come across the stuff. Years ago I played T-Bone Burnett songs at youth gatherings and bible camp and the kids loved it.

    Nick Cave has stuff about Jesus from a somewhat agnostic perspective that is pretty good. And then there’s Bruce Cockburn. His best records, IMO, are the ones he made with T_Bone – Nothing but a Burnin’ Light and Dart to the Heart – are flawless and really visceral roots influenced music either overtly or tacitly about Jesus. And Cockburn’s Christmas album is a must have. “Cry of a Tiny Baby” of that record is an amazing retelling of the Christmas Story.

  • Stephen

    Oops . . . this sentence somehow jumped out:

    Though I avoid it, it is still the case when I come across the stuff.

    That was the a reference to how bad contemporary Christian music is in my experience. IT was not in reference to T-Bone, perhaps one of the greatest music producers living today.

  • Stephen

    Oops . . . this sentence somehow jumped out:

    Though I avoid it, it is still the case when I come across the stuff.

    That was the a reference to how bad contemporary Christian music is in my experience. IT was not in reference to T-Bone, perhaps one of the greatest music producers living today.

  • Random Lutheran

    Any early death (indeed, any death) is sad, but Parsons’ is especially so. Of all the young American musicians who died young (from the 60s on; Buddy Holly had begun to move in very interesting directions before he died), there hasn’t been a greater loss of what could have been.

    There are some younger singers that have an interest in similar, though usually folkier directions, such as Will Oldham (aka Bonnie “Prince” Billy, Palace Brothers) and Iron & Wine.

  • Random Lutheran

    Any early death (indeed, any death) is sad, but Parsons’ is especially so. Of all the young American musicians who died young (from the 60s on; Buddy Holly had begun to move in very interesting directions before he died), there hasn’t been a greater loss of what could have been.

    There are some younger singers that have an interest in similar, though usually folkier directions, such as Will Oldham (aka Bonnie “Prince” Billy, Palace Brothers) and Iron & Wine.

  • SKPeterson

    DL21C @ 15 What about Alice in Chains? “Man in a Box” has some religious imagery.

    Better stop before this turns into dueling bands with kinda-Christian metaphors.

    Still, I will posit that many non-Christian bands have songs that better express the human condition in relation to God and the need for a Savior far, far better than most contemporary praise music has ever even aspired to.

  • SKPeterson

    DL21C @ 15 What about Alice in Chains? “Man in a Box” has some religious imagery.

    Better stop before this turns into dueling bands with kinda-Christian metaphors.

    Still, I will posit that many non-Christian bands have songs that better express the human condition in relation to God and the need for a Savior far, far better than most contemporary praise music has ever even aspired to.

  • Dr. Luther in the 21st Century

    @#19 No doubt about that.

  • Dr. Luther in the 21st Century

    @#19 No doubt about that.

  • kerner

    Amen.

  • kerner

    Amen.

  • Pete

    Stephen @16

    Wow – I haven’t thought about T-Bone Burnett for a long time. Heard him once, a long time ago, in San Francisco. He was doing a solo performance and was very good. Tall, lanky, somewhat awkward. “Trap Door” was very good, agreed.

  • Pete

    Stephen @16

    Wow – I haven’t thought about T-Bone Burnett for a long time. Heard him once, a long time ago, in San Francisco. He was doing a solo performance and was very good. Tall, lanky, somewhat awkward. “Trap Door” was very good, agreed.

  • Pete

    And since nobody in this obviously dimwitted blog thread has made reference so far, I will.

    Bob Dylan.

    Invented folk-rock. The embodiment of the vocation of singer/songwriter. You want Christian themes? “All Along the Watchtower”, “Isis”, “Shelter From the Storm”, “Everything is Broken”, “Summer Days”, etc., etc., etc.

  • Pete

    And since nobody in this obviously dimwitted blog thread has made reference so far, I will.

    Bob Dylan.

    Invented folk-rock. The embodiment of the vocation of singer/songwriter. You want Christian themes? “All Along the Watchtower”, “Isis”, “Shelter From the Storm”, “Everything is Broken”, “Summer Days”, etc., etc., etc.

  • Pete

    And, by the way, Christianity has never been “cool” and if what is being peddled as Christianity is cool, we should go running the other way. (Dylan did that little experiment.) Or else re-define “cool”.

  • Pete

    And, by the way, Christianity has never been “cool” and if what is being peddled as Christianity is cool, we should go running the other way. (Dylan did that little experiment.) Or else re-define “cool”.

  • Stephen

    Pete,

    And T-Bone played guitar with the Rolling Thunder Review ya know! If you don’t have them, you’ll love T-Bone’s early records. I used to see him every time he came to town. I even got to meet him once. Fantastic solo and with a little band. They call him the human juke box.

    How about Dylan’s “Property of Jesus?”

    And then there’s Peter Himmelman. Jewish, but also biblical.

  • Stephen

    Pete,

    And T-Bone played guitar with the Rolling Thunder Review ya know! If you don’t have them, you’ll love T-Bone’s early records. I used to see him every time he came to town. I even got to meet him once. Fantastic solo and with a little band. They call him the human juke box.

    How about Dylan’s “Property of Jesus?”

    And then there’s Peter Himmelman. Jewish, but also biblical.

  • SKPeterson

    T-Bone’s (ex?)wife, Sam Phillips, has turned out some very good stuff, which also has religious overtones to it. This thread did make me go listen to the Burnett produced and inspired Robert Plant/Alison Krauss collaboration, which was all too the good.

  • SKPeterson

    T-Bone’s (ex?)wife, Sam Phillips, has turned out some very good stuff, which also has religious overtones to it. This thread did make me go listen to the Burnett produced and inspired Robert Plant/Alison Krauss collaboration, which was all too the good.

  • Stephen

    SK

    When Sam Phillips was Leslie Phillips, The Christian artist, it seems she was perceived as the more gritty version of Amy Grant. And yes, she is T-Bone’s ex unfortunately for them. I saw her solo right after she made the “switich” – gritty, sad, trashy glamorous, and dark. She had a record out not too long ago with a song called “I love you when you don’t do anything” with lyrics that sound positively Lutheran. She can alos be heard in several sound tracks here and there such as Bertolucci’s “Stealing Beauty.” And get this, she played the girlfriend to Jeremy Irons’ sinister criminal mastermind in the second Bruce Willis vehicle (Die Hard 2). She she has no lines, but wields a curved dagger with evil results. How’s that for a change, eh?

    Also check out Jonatha Brooke, who is still making great music. She played in a band called The Story that had some of those sad, “save me Lord” kinds of feel. And she has a wonderful voice.

  • Stephen

    SK

    When Sam Phillips was Leslie Phillips, The Christian artist, it seems she was perceived as the more gritty version of Amy Grant. And yes, she is T-Bone’s ex unfortunately for them. I saw her solo right after she made the “switich” – gritty, sad, trashy glamorous, and dark. She had a record out not too long ago with a song called “I love you when you don’t do anything” with lyrics that sound positively Lutheran. She can alos be heard in several sound tracks here and there such as Bertolucci’s “Stealing Beauty.” And get this, she played the girlfriend to Jeremy Irons’ sinister criminal mastermind in the second Bruce Willis vehicle (Die Hard 2). She she has no lines, but wields a curved dagger with evil results. How’s that for a change, eh?

    Also check out Jonatha Brooke, who is still making great music. She played in a band called The Story that had some of those sad, “save me Lord” kinds of feel. And she has a wonderful voice.

  • Pete

    Stephen (@25):
    “Property of Jesus” is just way too explicit to be good Dylan. I think better stuff is like “Everything is Broken” (from “Oh, Mercy”?) which is a good rock treatment of original sin. Or give a listen to “Summer Days” from “Love and Theft” and try to do two things: 1) NOT tap your foot, and 2) hear it as Dylan’s depiction of the great wedding feast of the King. “Summer days, summer nights are gone..” but the singer knows “a place where there’s still something goin’ on.”

  • Pete

    Stephen (@25):
    “Property of Jesus” is just way too explicit to be good Dylan. I think better stuff is like “Everything is Broken” (from “Oh, Mercy”?) which is a good rock treatment of original sin. Or give a listen to “Summer Days” from “Love and Theft” and try to do two things: 1) NOT tap your foot, and 2) hear it as Dylan’s depiction of the great wedding feast of the King. “Summer days, summer nights are gone..” but the singer knows “a place where there’s still something goin’ on.”

  • Stephen

    Pete,

    “Everything is Broken” is practically my own refrain when I talk to certain friends about what sin actually is. You got it exactly right.

    Most people who have fallen away from the church (most of my friends that is) are certain that sin (and consequently church) has everything to do with doing and not doing. Somehow they sense the ultimate futility of this project and flee. But they are getting something right, and I don’t blame them for seeing through it and demanding something better. So in certain discussions about what sin actually is beyond a word that just sounds archaic, I’ll use that line and sometimes I have seen the lights come on. At some level, everyone gets that idea. I think that is the conscience in everyone working on them, tearing them down from the inside.

    I had some kids at bible camp one summer that loved Property of Jesus, so it has a special place for me. I think they felt sometimes “resented to the bone” and it helped them not feel like such weirdos for being Christians.

  • Stephen

    Pete,

    “Everything is Broken” is practically my own refrain when I talk to certain friends about what sin actually is. You got it exactly right.

    Most people who have fallen away from the church (most of my friends that is) are certain that sin (and consequently church) has everything to do with doing and not doing. Somehow they sense the ultimate futility of this project and flee. But they are getting something right, and I don’t blame them for seeing through it and demanding something better. So in certain discussions about what sin actually is beyond a word that just sounds archaic, I’ll use that line and sometimes I have seen the lights come on. At some level, everyone gets that idea. I think that is the conscience in everyone working on them, tearing them down from the inside.

    I had some kids at bible camp one summer that loved Property of Jesus, so it has a special place for me. I think they felt sometimes “resented to the bone” and it helped them not feel like such weirdos for being Christians.

  • Dan

    On the dark side, the one that stands out to me is Jim Morrison’s little monologue opening “The Soft Parade”, ending in a screaming “You CANNOT petition the Lord, with PRAYER!”. Jagger/Richards’ “Sympathy” is child’s play compared to that!

  • Dan

    On the dark side, the one that stands out to me is Jim Morrison’s little monologue opening “The Soft Parade”, ending in a screaming “You CANNOT petition the Lord, with PRAYER!”. Jagger/Richards’ “Sympathy” is child’s play compared to that!

  • Stephen

    Dan,

    I always thought the Stones tune was kind of threatening and a warning more than a celebration of evil. And as for the Doors – they still suck!

  • Stephen

    Dan,

    I always thought the Stones tune was kind of threatening and a warning more than a celebration of evil. And as for the Doors – they still suck!

  • Stephen

    Sorry, was that language too harsh? It’s a holdover from my youth. That’s the way you said it when a band was . . . overrated – like the Doors!!!

  • Stephen

    Sorry, was that language too harsh? It’s a holdover from my youth. That’s the way you said it when a band was . . . overrated – like the Doors!!!

  • Morgan

    @Stephen #32:
    I always thought that Jim’s “Cancel my subscription to the resurrection!” line was far more theologically ominous. And incredibly sad.

  • Morgan

    @Stephen #32:
    I always thought that Jim’s “Cancel my subscription to the resurrection!” line was far more theologically ominous. And incredibly sad.

  • Morgan

    Oops, s/h/b @Dan #30. Sorry Stephen!

    I do love The Doors, if we’re confessing, here…

  • Morgan

    Oops, s/h/b @Dan #30. Sorry Stephen!

    I do love The Doors, if we’re confessing, here…

  • Joe

    SKP @ 19. According to Layne Stanley (RIP) Man in a Box is about censorship in mass media. Taking the word of the guy who wrote it, then it is about censorship with Jesus Christ unfortunately used to invoke the image of the one who censors and forces people to stay inside their box, with their eys sewn shut. Not a great image of our Lord.

    Many have speculated that it is a song about religion — oddly you get about a 50/50 split between those who think it is pro-Christian and those who think it is anti-Christian. Taking a literal interpretation of the refrain you could see a pro-Christian theme:

    Jesus Christ
    Deny your maker
    He who tries
    Will be wasted

    Seems to indicate that one should not go around denying Christ or they may suffer some negative consequences.

    All this speculating just drives me back to my view of things: If you want to listen to music about Christ then get some hymnody on your iPod.

  • Joe

    SKP @ 19. According to Layne Stanley (RIP) Man in a Box is about censorship in mass media. Taking the word of the guy who wrote it, then it is about censorship with Jesus Christ unfortunately used to invoke the image of the one who censors and forces people to stay inside their box, with their eys sewn shut. Not a great image of our Lord.

    Many have speculated that it is a song about religion — oddly you get about a 50/50 split between those who think it is pro-Christian and those who think it is anti-Christian. Taking a literal interpretation of the refrain you could see a pro-Christian theme:

    Jesus Christ
    Deny your maker
    He who tries
    Will be wasted

    Seems to indicate that one should not go around denying Christ or they may suffer some negative consequences.

    All this speculating just drives me back to my view of things: If you want to listen to music about Christ then get some hymnody on your iPod.

  • kerner

    I once met Leslie Phillips in the 1980′s (Before she was Sam). When a lot of contemporary Christian music was just bad pop music (which I guess has not changed) she was producing music like this:

    which touched me so much that I convinced the “contemporary” musicians at our LCMS church to perform it during communion. And I still believe it to be appropriate for communion during Divine service. Far more so that the syrupy “praise” music that says nothing about sin and repentence and forgiveness. The theology of “Your Kindness” may not be perfect, but the general message and tone (We are sinners in need of forgiveness) is on the money.

    Stephen:

    As one who grew up when they were performing, you are absolutely right about the Doors. As far as I am concerned they only had one good song.

  • kerner

    I once met Leslie Phillips in the 1980′s (Before she was Sam). When a lot of contemporary Christian music was just bad pop music (which I guess has not changed) she was producing music like this:

    which touched me so much that I convinced the “contemporary” musicians at our LCMS church to perform it during communion. And I still believe it to be appropriate for communion during Divine service. Far more so that the syrupy “praise” music that says nothing about sin and repentence and forgiveness. The theology of “Your Kindness” may not be perfect, but the general message and tone (We are sinners in need of forgiveness) is on the money.

    Stephen:

    As one who grew up when they were performing, you are absolutely right about the Doors. As far as I am concerned they only had one good song.

  • Random Lutheran

    #36 – that would be Peace Frog, right? :D

  • Random Lutheran

    #36 – that would be Peace Frog, right? :D

  • kerner

    Nope.

  • kerner

    Nope.

  • Joe

    Kerner said “The theology of “Your Kindness” may not be perfect, but the general message and tone (We are sinners in need of forgiveness) is on the money.”

    Why settled for imperfect theology in any hymn/song used in the Divine Service?

  • Joe

    Kerner said “The theology of “Your Kindness” may not be perfect, but the general message and tone (We are sinners in need of forgiveness) is on the money.”

    Why settled for imperfect theology in any hymn/song used in the Divine Service?

  • Stephen

    kerner -

    I spent some time on a youth ministry music team waaaay back. We did that tune! She’s a closet Lutheran. And you’re right – perfect for the moment.

    It’s not that I’m against contemporary forms, it’s just we do not do it well. That is, in my experience thus far, which is probably a little more broad than most, it has gotten worse rather than better. I had high hopes, but I have almost no need or tolerance for it. Maybe I’m just getting old an picky, but rare is the moment when someone sings a solo it “works.” And yet I don’t doubt there is a lot of music out there that could be used well in worship. What is needed is a complete liturgy rather than mediocre songs that sort of fit.

    And I have to admit as well that when I am at one of these worship services with guitars I want to run up there, take the guitar away and sing some really growly blues version of whatever it is. It would work better in a lot of cases. I think it is the straining to be sweet that gets to me.

    That settles it. Next Sunday everyone heads to a black church to see how it’s done.

  • Stephen

    kerner -

    I spent some time on a youth ministry music team waaaay back. We did that tune! She’s a closet Lutheran. And you’re right – perfect for the moment.

    It’s not that I’m against contemporary forms, it’s just we do not do it well. That is, in my experience thus far, which is probably a little more broad than most, it has gotten worse rather than better. I had high hopes, but I have almost no need or tolerance for it. Maybe I’m just getting old an picky, but rare is the moment when someone sings a solo it “works.” And yet I don’t doubt there is a lot of music out there that could be used well in worship. What is needed is a complete liturgy rather than mediocre songs that sort of fit.

    And I have to admit as well that when I am at one of these worship services with guitars I want to run up there, take the guitar away and sing some really growly blues version of whatever it is. It would work better in a lot of cases. I think it is the straining to be sweet that gets to me.

    That settles it. Next Sunday everyone heads to a black church to see how it’s done.

  • Stephen

    Joe,

    I think kerner was wrong. That song is great theology. At the end of the killing law is the kindness of God in Jesus. Repentance is a fruit of the gift of faith.

  • Stephen

    Joe,

    I think kerner was wrong. That song is great theology. At the end of the killing law is the kindness of God in Jesus. Repentance is a fruit of the gift of faith.

  • http://enterthevein.wordpress.com J. Dean

    Dr Luther @ 11,
    I get what you’re saying, but at what point does the medium interfere with the message? No, the medium is not the entirety of the message, but neither should it be glibly overlooked.

  • http://enterthevein.wordpress.com J. Dean

    Dr Luther @ 11,
    I get what you’re saying, but at what point does the medium interfere with the message? No, the medium is not the entirety of the message, but neither should it be glibly overlooked.

  • kerner

    Joe: @39:

    Because that would limit us to hymns written by Lutherans who were perfectly confessionaly minded at the time they wrote their lyrics. Hymns like “I know that my Redeemer Lives” and “Silent Night” would be excluded if we insisted on that kind of perfection.

    “Your Kindness” is about sin and repentence. The ubiquitous presence of sin in our lives and the need for undeserved forgiveness from God, based on the sacrifice of Jesus Christ, seems pretty clear to me from the lyrics, as well as being good theology. But Leslie phillips is not a Lutheran, and whether:

    “It’s your kindness that leads us to repentence O Lord, knowing that you love us, no matter what we do, makes us want to love you too”

    can be understood as:

    “He calls, gathers, enlightens, and sanctifies the whole Christian Church on earth, and keeps it with Jesus Christ in the one true faith; in which Christian Church He forgives daily and richly all sins to me and all believers,”

    is less clear.

    But I don’t think there is an overt contradiction and it is a beautiful melody with what I believe is an appropriately reverent tone.

    So, just as I can tolerate the unspoken hetrodoxies believed by the composers of “I Know That My Redeemer Lives” and “Silent Night”, I gues I am willing to give this song the same kind of leeway.

  • kerner

    Joe: @39:

    Because that would limit us to hymns written by Lutherans who were perfectly confessionaly minded at the time they wrote their lyrics. Hymns like “I know that my Redeemer Lives” and “Silent Night” would be excluded if we insisted on that kind of perfection.

    “Your Kindness” is about sin and repentence. The ubiquitous presence of sin in our lives and the need for undeserved forgiveness from God, based on the sacrifice of Jesus Christ, seems pretty clear to me from the lyrics, as well as being good theology. But Leslie phillips is not a Lutheran, and whether:

    “It’s your kindness that leads us to repentence O Lord, knowing that you love us, no matter what we do, makes us want to love you too”

    can be understood as:

    “He calls, gathers, enlightens, and sanctifies the whole Christian Church on earth, and keeps it with Jesus Christ in the one true faith; in which Christian Church He forgives daily and richly all sins to me and all believers,”

    is less clear.

    But I don’t think there is an overt contradiction and it is a beautiful melody with what I believe is an appropriately reverent tone.

    So, just as I can tolerate the unspoken hetrodoxies believed by the composers of “I Know That My Redeemer Lives” and “Silent Night”, I gues I am willing to give this song the same kind of leeway.

  • Stephen

    No need to defend that refrain to my mind kerner.

    Romans 2:4

    “Or do you show contempt for the riches of his kindness, forbearance and patience, not realizing that God’s kindness is intended to lead you to repentance?”

    and

    1 John 4:19

    “We love because he first loved us.”

    My sense of that song is it was to all those kids who hear law, law, law, and no clear gospel all their Christian lives. I can tell of the hunger for this kind of message in teenagers who, if they feel anything, it is how they do not measure up – to friends, parents, school, church.

  • Stephen

    No need to defend that refrain to my mind kerner.

    Romans 2:4

    “Or do you show contempt for the riches of his kindness, forbearance and patience, not realizing that God’s kindness is intended to lead you to repentance?”

    and

    1 John 4:19

    “We love because he first loved us.”

    My sense of that song is it was to all those kids who hear law, law, law, and no clear gospel all their Christian lives. I can tell of the hunger for this kind of message in teenagers who, if they feel anything, it is how they do not measure up – to friends, parents, school, church.

  • Stephen

    And they’re singing “I Know That my Redeemer Lives” at my funeral.

  • Stephen

    And they’re singing “I Know That my Redeemer Lives” at my funeral.

  • Jon Bonine

    Dr. Vieth,
    If I remember correctly, your comments are mediated, so that this will not appear in the blog comments without you first reading it. I’ve searched your blog but cannot find a contact email to share this link.

    Having read your blog for the last year or so, I thought you might find this interesting, as would your readers. I don’t remember if I’ve seen this blog linked to your sight, perhaps you have already read it. Anyway, there is the link for Art of Manliness: The generations of men.
    http://artofmanliness.com/2012/07/12/the-generations-of-men-how-the-cycles-of-history-have-shaped-your-values-your-place-in-the-world-and-your-idea-of-manhood/

  • Jon Bonine

    Dr. Vieth,
    If I remember correctly, your comments are mediated, so that this will not appear in the blog comments without you first reading it. I’ve searched your blog but cannot find a contact email to share this link.

    Having read your blog for the last year or so, I thought you might find this interesting, as would your readers. I don’t remember if I’ve seen this blog linked to your sight, perhaps you have already read it. Anyway, there is the link for Art of Manliness: The generations of men.
    http://artofmanliness.com/2012/07/12/the-generations-of-men-how-the-cycles-of-history-have-shaped-your-values-your-place-in-the-world-and-your-idea-of-manhood/

  • Jon Bonine

    And I was wrong about comments being mediated. My apologies.

  • Jon Bonine

    And I was wrong about comments being mediated. My apologies.

  • kerner

    @44:

    It would be very like Leslie Phillips to get the refrain of one her songs from a Bible verse. That this one might come from Romans is a good sighn because that epistle is so thoroughly directed to explaining Law and Gospel. I agree that this song is more about Gospel than Law, but it kind of presupposes that the Law has already been preached, which is why the singer is aware of her sin and shame, and the song then delivers the Gospel, which is why I thought before or during communion is a good place for it.

  • kerner

    @44:

    It would be very like Leslie Phillips to get the refrain of one her songs from a Bible verse. That this one might come from Romans is a good sighn because that epistle is so thoroughly directed to explaining Law and Gospel. I agree that this song is more about Gospel than Law, but it kind of presupposes that the Law has already been preached, which is why the singer is aware of her sin and shame, and the song then delivers the Gospel, which is why I thought before or during communion is a good place for it.

  • Stephen

    Kerner -

    You got it exactly right there brother. Like I said, lots of young people responded to this song back in the 80s for just that reason. You’ve really brought back some great memories. This whole thread has. Listen to the tune I mentioned “I Love you when you don’t do anything” by Sam. Same feel there. This is someone so worn down they need to hear that someone loves them in spite of themselves and expects nothing. Perfect.

  • Stephen

    Kerner -

    You got it exactly right there brother. Like I said, lots of young people responded to this song back in the 80s for just that reason. You’ve really brought back some great memories. This whole thread has. Listen to the tune I mentioned “I Love you when you don’t do anything” by Sam. Same feel there. This is someone so worn down they need to hear that someone loves them in spite of themselves and expects nothing. Perfect.

  • http://theoldadam.com/ Steve Martin

    kerner @#8,

    Did you not listen to the lyrics?

    “I’ve never been a sinner…I’ve never sinned…’cause I have a friend in Jesus…”

    When God looks upon us He will not see a sinner…but Christ. It will be as though we have never sinned.

  • http://theoldadam.com/ Steve Martin

    kerner @#8,

    Did you not listen to the lyrics?

    “I’ve never been a sinner…I’ve never sinned…’cause I have a friend in Jesus…”

    When God looks upon us He will not see a sinner…but Christ. It will be as though we have never sinned.

  • http://theoldadam.com/ Steve Martin

    Armand,

    In Christ, we are considered sinless, for righteousness sake.

    “We are to consider ourselves dead to sin.”

    I’m really surprised that this is so foreign to some of the folks here.

  • http://theoldadam.com/ Steve Martin

    Armand,

    In Christ, we are considered sinless, for righteousness sake.

    “We are to consider ourselves dead to sin.”

    I’m really surprised that this is so foreign to some of the folks here.

  • Joe

    Please note, I did not alleged any false doctrine in this song. Kerner did, I only asked why one should settle for false. Personally, after listening to it, I find it has incomplete — not false doctrine. It presuppose the Law has done its work.

    I do favor aiming for doctrinal purity in the hymnody. The hymns are among the first things our children learn in church. They are not gap or silence fillers. They are tools of catechesis. It appears Walther agreed:

    http://www.intrepidlutherans.com/2011/03/cfw-walther-filching-from-sectarian.html

    Ascetically, I would rather have no music than this song playing while I communed. Sorry Kerner but I didn’t find this any less syrupy than most other contemporary church music.

  • Joe

    Please note, I did not alleged any false doctrine in this song. Kerner did, I only asked why one should settle for false. Personally, after listening to it, I find it has incomplete — not false doctrine. It presuppose the Law has done its work.

    I do favor aiming for doctrinal purity in the hymnody. The hymns are among the first things our children learn in church. They are not gap or silence fillers. They are tools of catechesis. It appears Walther agreed:

    http://www.intrepidlutherans.com/2011/03/cfw-walther-filching-from-sectarian.html

    Ascetically, I would rather have no music than this song playing while I communed. Sorry Kerner but I didn’t find this any less syrupy than most other contemporary church music.

  • Stephen

    Joe,

    Your impression may be the production values. 1980s – eeew! A lot of it is delivery. But I don’t see it theologically much different than the sentiments of Jesus Loves Me.

    Somewhere along the way it has been alluded to the “medium is the message” and I agree. We allow ourselves to be taken over in some significant ways by the music we listen to. I think that is why it seems so very spiritual and sensual at the same time, and why we feel the need to be cautious. I agree. Professionals only please!

    And by the same token, I would hate to think we inhibit good artistic expression in the church because we feel the need to stay “true to form” (a good thing). I guess I am probably conflicted. Part of me wants nothing but the hymnal and another wants better art from the new stuff. I guess I want both, and the latter seems deeply flawed so far.

    Steve @ 50, 51

    Excellent!!! I think you got it.

  • Stephen

    Joe,

    Your impression may be the production values. 1980s – eeew! A lot of it is delivery. But I don’t see it theologically much different than the sentiments of Jesus Loves Me.

    Somewhere along the way it has been alluded to the “medium is the message” and I agree. We allow ourselves to be taken over in some significant ways by the music we listen to. I think that is why it seems so very spiritual and sensual at the same time, and why we feel the need to be cautious. I agree. Professionals only please!

    And by the same token, I would hate to think we inhibit good artistic expression in the church because we feel the need to stay “true to form” (a good thing). I guess I am probably conflicted. Part of me wants nothing but the hymnal and another wants better art from the new stuff. I guess I want both, and the latter seems deeply flawed so far.

    Steve @ 50, 51

    Excellent!!! I think you got it.

  • Stephen

    Steve Martin -

    I thought of this when I read that line, but didn’t get it until your post.

    1 John 5:18

    “We know that anyone born of God does not continue to sin; the One who was born of God keeps them safe, and the evil one cannot harm them.”

  • Stephen

    Steve Martin -

    I thought of this when I read that line, but didn’t get it until your post.

    1 John 5:18

    “We know that anyone born of God does not continue to sin; the One who was born of God keeps them safe, and the evil one cannot harm them.”

  • Joe

    Stephen — but we have actual hymns (not songs) being written even today. Searching for modern church music does not mean we have to accept sappy pretend pop music that often delivers little more than the message that Jesus is my boyfriend. (I don’t think this particular song at issue is only a Jesus is my boyfriend song; it has more theology than than in it, but is sappy pretend pop music).

    I left unanswered something else from one of Kerner’s earlier posts pointing out theological deficiencies in some of the hymns in our current hymnal. I agree — we have junk hymns in our hymnal right now and we ought to toss them out.

  • Joe

    Stephen — but we have actual hymns (not songs) being written even today. Searching for modern church music does not mean we have to accept sappy pretend pop music that often delivers little more than the message that Jesus is my boyfriend. (I don’t think this particular song at issue is only a Jesus is my boyfriend song; it has more theology than than in it, but is sappy pretend pop music).

    I left unanswered something else from one of Kerner’s earlier posts pointing out theological deficiencies in some of the hymns in our current hymnal. I agree — we have junk hymns in our hymnal right now and we ought to toss them out.

  • Stephen

    Joe,

    Believe it or not, I think you are right. And I think I said earlier I could do without a lot of it, or maybe any of it. I don’t really care about church growth. I want my kids to hear and know the liturgy. I want them properly catechized.

    My defense of kerner here is somewhat of a plea for keeping an open mind. What I fear, and have felt myself, is a church that doesn’t have a place for artists, or at least that space seems to narrow. We end up with two extremes.

    So, perhaps a song like this is more appropriate for a youth concert of some sort. I get that. But I also think that hymnody does have a connection to folk music of past eras. It is a music of the people not of professionals, something being lost in our commodified musical environment. Perhaps there is a way to have “songs” that do not reek of pop sensibilities, but perhaps not. I guess I don’t quite know.

    I think hospitality seems to be the order of the day in worship styles, which equates to the popular music vibe. But it is not so hospitable to the old faithful ones in our tradition, and like you, I have some resentment about it. I’m working on checking that, and hearing what is meaningful to others is helpful.

    Thanks for your thoughts. It will be great day when I can bring my old red hymnal to church (not gonna happen).

  • Stephen

    Joe,

    Believe it or not, I think you are right. And I think I said earlier I could do without a lot of it, or maybe any of it. I don’t really care about church growth. I want my kids to hear and know the liturgy. I want them properly catechized.

    My defense of kerner here is somewhat of a plea for keeping an open mind. What I fear, and have felt myself, is a church that doesn’t have a place for artists, or at least that space seems to narrow. We end up with two extremes.

    So, perhaps a song like this is more appropriate for a youth concert of some sort. I get that. But I also think that hymnody does have a connection to folk music of past eras. It is a music of the people not of professionals, something being lost in our commodified musical environment. Perhaps there is a way to have “songs” that do not reek of pop sensibilities, but perhaps not. I guess I don’t quite know.

    I think hospitality seems to be the order of the day in worship styles, which equates to the popular music vibe. But it is not so hospitable to the old faithful ones in our tradition, and like you, I have some resentment about it. I’m working on checking that, and hearing what is meaningful to others is helpful.

    Thanks for your thoughts. It will be great day when I can bring my old red hymnal to church (not gonna happen).

  • kerner

    Joe:

    I agree with your propositions, but I don’t understand how you come to your conclusions. Certainly I agree with Walther that our hymnody should be catachetical, which means that hymns written by non-Lutherans should be subject to fairly strict scrutiny. But that doesn’t mean that we remove all hymns written by non-Lutherans from the hymnal or ban any non-Lutheran music from the choir loft. We just have to scrutinize it more carefully.

    And the Divine Service itself follows kind of a Law-Gospel arc, does it not? With the Law (e.g the Confession of Sins) more prominent at the beginning and the Nunc Dimitis (an almost pure Gospel canticle, so is the Nunc Dimittus “incomplete” as well?) and the Lord’s Supper (which is pure Gospel) coming at the end. Which I believe is by design.

    Accordingly, music emphacizing the Gospel (like the Nunc Dimitis, or othe hymn) is appropriately catachetical if sung at a point i the service when the Gospel is being emphacized.

    But I still don’t see your objections. Examine the lyrics:

    “Waiting for angry words to sear my soul. Knowing I don’t deserve another chance…”

    “No excuse, no one to blame, nowhere to hide. The Eyes of God have found my failures, found my pain. He (God) understands my weaknesses and knows my shame…”

    This is “syrupy”?!? How is this language not evocative of someone broken by the Law, and therefore teaching exactly what we need to know?

    And the point of the song is that, despite having no excuse, nowhere to hide, shame that is known, etc. God Loves us anyway and gave us his Only Son. And the refrain probably comes right out of Romans 2:4 which is, again, the Gospel. How is that teaching something that contradicts sound doctrine?

    As I said, I don’t believe that the composer ever was a Lutheran, but I fail to see obvious error in her lyrics and I believe that they, when used in conjunction with other words and music that enunciate sound doctrine, teach the right doctrine too, especially in the hands of a decently trained pastor.

    I guess our point of disagreement is that I think the service should be taken as a whole, and that each idividual component need not be “complete”, as long as the Law/Gospel character of the service is intact.

  • kerner

    Joe:

    I agree with your propositions, but I don’t understand how you come to your conclusions. Certainly I agree with Walther that our hymnody should be catachetical, which means that hymns written by non-Lutherans should be subject to fairly strict scrutiny. But that doesn’t mean that we remove all hymns written by non-Lutherans from the hymnal or ban any non-Lutheran music from the choir loft. We just have to scrutinize it more carefully.

    And the Divine Service itself follows kind of a Law-Gospel arc, does it not? With the Law (e.g the Confession of Sins) more prominent at the beginning and the Nunc Dimitis (an almost pure Gospel canticle, so is the Nunc Dimittus “incomplete” as well?) and the Lord’s Supper (which is pure Gospel) coming at the end. Which I believe is by design.

    Accordingly, music emphacizing the Gospel (like the Nunc Dimitis, or othe hymn) is appropriately catachetical if sung at a point i the service when the Gospel is being emphacized.

    But I still don’t see your objections. Examine the lyrics:

    “Waiting for angry words to sear my soul. Knowing I don’t deserve another chance…”

    “No excuse, no one to blame, nowhere to hide. The Eyes of God have found my failures, found my pain. He (God) understands my weaknesses and knows my shame…”

    This is “syrupy”?!? How is this language not evocative of someone broken by the Law, and therefore teaching exactly what we need to know?

    And the point of the song is that, despite having no excuse, nowhere to hide, shame that is known, etc. God Loves us anyway and gave us his Only Son. And the refrain probably comes right out of Romans 2:4 which is, again, the Gospel. How is that teaching something that contradicts sound doctrine?

    As I said, I don’t believe that the composer ever was a Lutheran, but I fail to see obvious error in her lyrics and I believe that they, when used in conjunction with other words and music that enunciate sound doctrine, teach the right doctrine too, especially in the hands of a decently trained pastor.

    I guess our point of disagreement is that I think the service should be taken as a whole, and that each idividual component need not be “complete”, as long as the Law/Gospel character of the service is intact.

  • Joe

    Kerner — I don’t think we disagree as much you think. My objection to this song is that its music is syrupy — its content was not my issue. My earlier comment about why should we accept songs with poor theology was made in response to your assertion that its theology was in question. I specifically said this song is not merely a Jesus is my boyfriend song @ 55. I did label is sappy pretend pop music and I stand by that statement.

  • Joe

    Kerner — I don’t think we disagree as much you think. My objection to this song is that its music is syrupy — its content was not my issue. My earlier comment about why should we accept songs with poor theology was made in response to your assertion that its theology was in question. I specifically said this song is not merely a Jesus is my boyfriend song @ 55. I did label is sappy pretend pop music and I stand by that statement.

  • fws

    Hey, don’t forget the importance of Lonnie Frisbee , the gay founder of Calvary Chapel!

  • fws

    Hey, don’t forget the importance of Lonnie Frisbee , the gay founder of Calvary Chapel!

  • kerner

    Sorry Joe:

    I see that I wrote my comment @57 before reading your comment @55. I’ll give you this. Leslie Phillips has one of those whiney voices that were popular for female pop vocalists during the 1980′s-90′s. And as I listen to her sing some of her other music, I can see your point. But I still don’t agree about the music itself. In the hands of a decent choral soprano soloist, singing from the choir loft, the song didn’t sound like light pop to me.

  • kerner

    Sorry Joe:

    I see that I wrote my comment @57 before reading your comment @55. I’ll give you this. Leslie Phillips has one of those whiney voices that were popular for female pop vocalists during the 1980′s-90′s. And as I listen to her sing some of her other music, I can see your point. But I still don’t agree about the music itself. In the hands of a decent choral soprano soloist, singing from the choir loft, the song didn’t sound like light pop to me.

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  • Joe

    No worries Kerner.

  • Joe

    No worries Kerner.

  • Zbee

    I have had the pleasure of learning from one of the great bond-slaves of the Lord Jesus who via the Holy spirit helped start the “Jesus Movement”: pastor John Higgins of Calvary Chapel. It’s palatable to proclaim that folk/rock music helped start it, but the Lord Himself calls people to Him. That’s it in a nutshell.
    Also agree with someone who wrote that if Christianity is cool–in the human way of looking at “cool”; that is trying too hard to be hip–better walk the other way. Real “coolness” is making it all look easy. Now, Mick Jagger is cool. I prefer his music to folk/rock and modern “christian” bands. He’s not sittin on any fence.

  • Zbee

    I have had the pleasure of learning from one of the great bond-slaves of the Lord Jesus who via the Holy spirit helped start the “Jesus Movement”: pastor John Higgins of Calvary Chapel. It’s palatable to proclaim that folk/rock music helped start it, but the Lord Himself calls people to Him. That’s it in a nutshell.
    Also agree with someone who wrote that if Christianity is cool–in the human way of looking at “cool”; that is trying too hard to be hip–better walk the other way. Real “coolness” is making it all look easy. Now, Mick Jagger is cool. I prefer his music to folk/rock and modern “christian” bands. He’s not sittin on any fence.

  • http://edunderwood.com Ed Underwood

    I was there. I trusted Christ during the Jesus Movement and wrote an entire book about it: Reborn to Be Wild, David C. Cook publisher. It was true revival. Full circle: John York of the Byrds and Barry McGuire are doing a concert, Trippin’ the 60s at the church I pastor, Church of the Open Door on July 21st.

  • http://edunderwood.com Ed Underwood

    I was there. I trusted Christ during the Jesus Movement and wrote an entire book about it: Reborn to Be Wild, David C. Cook publisher. It was true revival. Full circle: John York of the Byrds and Barry McGuire are doing a concert, Trippin’ the 60s at the church I pastor, Church of the Open Door on July 21st.

  • http://www.geneveith.com Gene Veith

    Wow, Ed. Where is your church?

  • http://www.geneveith.com Gene Veith

    Wow, Ed. Where is your church?


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