September 18, 2019

This is what Union Seminary in New York tweeted out yesterday. Today in chapel, we confessed to plants. Together, we held our grief, joy, regret, hope, guilt and sorrow in prayer; offering them to the beings who sustain us but whose gift we too often fail to honor. What do you confess to the plants in your life? — Union Seminary (@UnionSeminary) September 17, 2019 I’m not concerning myself with the obvious idiocy of confessing sins to vegetation. Lots… Read more

July 10, 2019

How Can We Stop Their “Singing” Words: Jonathan Aigner Tune: HOW CAN I KEEP FROM SINGING The church was once a place of rest, Of prayer, and chant, and preaching. But then they sold the organ pipes And hushed the choir’s singing. The praise band whines, and beats their drums, And all the while I’m thinking: “Oh my dear God, what have we done? How can we stop their ‘singing?'” They hired a hipster with guitar, Called him the “worship… Read more

July 2, 2019

Reports indicate that five music professors have been unceremoniously terminated from their positions at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary’s School of Church Music. A sixth position is being eliminated through attrition. R. Allen Lott, Professor of Music History, and Senior Associate Dean for the Academic Division, and a 33-year SWBTS faculty member Dr. Lott has degrees in piano (B.M., Trinity University) and musicology (Ph.D., City University of New York), and he has previously served as a research assistant for Grove’s Dictionaries… Read more

June 23, 2019

In response to yesterday’s post about the dismantling of the music program at Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, there were a few comments expressing hope that, at least, the once-prominent School of Church Music at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary was still offering legitimate church music studies. That is apparently not the case, according to multiple sources close to the situation Full-time faculty positions have been reduced from 11 to 5. (Update: Most music specialists are gone. This includes Distinguished Professor of… Read more

June 22, 2019

The School of Music at the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary was once a leading training program for church musicians, but it was shuttered in 2009, citing low enrollment and a change in trends. Education in church music has supposedly continued under the “School of Church Ministries,” but a glance at their degree plan indicates otherwise. Let’s take a look at it. The 67-credit hour degree plan includes a whopping 33 hours of study in biblical, theological, and ministry studies. Two… Read more

June 8, 2019

This was a common response to my last post about not needing song leaders (“worship leaders,” lead singers, whatever you call them): What do you do if you don’t have a choice? Maybe you’re just starting out in your position, and the church has always had someone in front singing into a microphone. Or perhaps you’re just filling in. Maybe the only accompanying instruments you have are guitar or piano. Maybe the congregation simply refuses to sing without a voice… Read more

June 4, 2019

In many ways the song leader is the single most important person in leading great congregational singing. A friend sent me this quote last week, found buried within promotional material for something called a “Word in Song” conference put on by some group called Emu Music. A look at their “Who We Are” tab reveals this group to be predominantly Anglican. Keep that in mind. We’re not talking about a bunch of Hillsong disciples or quasi-charismatic evangelicals here. In case… Read more

May 30, 2019

What business is it of yours how other people worship? What gives you the right to force your way on me? We all have different personalities, learning modalities, and preferences. Our different expressions in our love to God are valuable to Him and that is all that matters. You should have confidence in individual Christians to make discerning decisions for themselves. I get this kind of response a lot here on the blog and on social media. Basically, just, “Mind… Read more

May 22, 2019

“Wasn’t all worship once contemporary?” I’ve thought for a good while that using “traditional” and “contemporary” to describe different worship formats was pretty confusing. One of the things the “contemporary” worship apologists like to throw back in my face is that all worship, usually referring to music for worship, was once contemporary. They do have a point, of course, and it bothers me. We all know that “contemporary” doesn’t mean “like the music you hear on the radio.” It simply… Read more

May 17, 2019

From a funeral bulletin. Hopefully, the deceased had a sense of humor. And this – dear pastors, music directors, organists, church secretaries, and anyone else hanging around – this is why you always proofread. Oh, Lord my God, When I in awesome wonder Consider all the words thy hands have made I see the stars, I hear the rolling thunder Thy power throughout the universe displayed Then things my soul, my saviour God, to thee How Great Thou Art, How… Read more

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