August 9, 2018

As a church musician, I’ve done my share of denominational sojourning. Every time I join a new tradition, I make sure I have funeral plans ready following its liturgy, even though I hope to not be using them any time soon. This service follows the Presbyterian Book of Common Worship. A Service of Witness to the Resurrection Gathering Prelude Solemn Melody H. Walford Davies Greeting Grace and peace in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. We gather today in… Read more

August 9, 2018

One of the things the baby boomer generation has introduced into the liturgical sphere is the “celebration of life” service. That’s quite unfortunate. A “celebration of life” points to a dead person. A funeral points to the cross. A “celebration of life” sidesteps grief. A funeral confronts grief head-on. A “celebration of life” ignores resurrection. A funeral depends on resurrection. Funerals aren’t celebrations of human life. Funerals are proclamations of another life, a life that ended in a death that ended… Read more

August 7, 2018

Well, discussion on last week’s post on the Rocky Mountain Church job listing didn’t go as expected. You might recall that I wrote about the Colorado church that was looking to hire a “pastor” to plagiarize and impersonate other celebrity pastors every Sunday. Ridiculous, right? Yes, of course. But a strange thing happened in the comments. Instead of people discussing the ridiculousness of the Rocky Mountain situation, and other more common trends the megachurch movement has inspired, a number of… Read more

August 4, 2018

My name’s Jonathan, and I struggle with depression. So please know that when I wrote a post like this, I do so out of experience and deep empathy. These are not just vapid gospel songs that salve the soul but offer little truth. I’m not going to tell you what others have said; that if you just praise God all your troubles will melt away. Those are evil lies. Reliance upon God doesn’t melt away your troubles, and those who… Read more

August 3, 2018

I thought I had heard everything from the church growth crowd. I really did. Wrong. First, there was the celebrity pastor. That was bad enough. Now, there’s the celebrity pastor plagiarizer. I am not making this up. Rocky Mountain Church is a new aspiring megachurch in Woodland Park, Colorado. So far, their strategy has been to have fun “worship” music and watch a YouTube video of a hip celebrity pastor. Now, they’re upping their game. According to their website and… Read more

August 2, 2018

In my last post, I talked about the weird, unnecessary, overly pragmatic reasons we have for omitting stanzas of hymns. Of course, I forgot about my Southern Baptist background and some of their weird idiosyncrasies: They think you have to bring a covered dish to heaven with you when you die. They think the promised land is in Nashville, Tennessee. They think they should abstain from sex, lest it lead to dancing. They think it’s in the Bible somewhere that… Read more

August 2, 2018

In my time as a church musician, I have gotten more than an occasional gripe about why we have to sing all the stanzas of all the hymns. Often they come from the pews, occasionally they come from choir members. More often than you’d believe, they come from pastors. Fortunately at my current post, this really isn’t an issue, but other places, it’s been made into a big deal. Of course, there are many clergy who align a little closer… Read more

August 1, 2018

(A brief warning for anyone who finds the subject of breastfeeding to be gross or inappropriate. If you can’t tell from the title of this post, I’m going to talk a little bit about how liturgy is like breastfeeding. If this offends you, I invite you to consider why, and possibly seek help from a mental health professional to get over yourself. Thanks!) My beloved wife, the mom of my two little children, is my hero. After nine months of… Read more

July 21, 2018

I’m admittedly not the biggest proponent of Vacation Bible School as a ministry strategy. In fact, I think VBS as it’s currently packaged by the likes of DeathWay, Orange Church, and other publishers and peddlers of jesusy crap is just another one of the marketing techniques that has so alienated the millennial generation from the American church. Even with the best of intentions, it’s hard to package Jesus up into a product that can be sold to small children within… Read more

July 11, 2018

Okay, I admit it. I was wrong. I’m sorry. Sorry, sorry, sorry. I take it back. At least I take one thing back. A couple days ago, I wrote an open letter to the United Methodist Hymnal Revision Committee just to say a friendly “hello” and just let them know I’m rooting for them. And to make a few suggestions (again, very friendly ones) regarding their course toward a new United Methodist hymnal. As usual, my opinions received some mixed… Read more

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