Thursday, March 23, 2017

  Considering Anti-Music-part-part 6   


Considering Anti-Music-part-part 6

        Lest I be misunderstood as a worshiper of musical tradition rather than  a worshiper of God, I am not purporting that all musical tradition is worthwhile.  That being said, those of us who believe and practice free worship must constantly guard against what I term traditional worship “rutual”.  Those of us who do not practice a formal worship ritual are in danger of getting in an unorganized rut.  If we would be the slightest bit honest we would have to admit that our patterns of weekly use of music in worship are far from free and worship would probably be much better if our patterns were organized and purposeful.  For instance, those who often pride themselves in the fact they have eliminated all, or mostly all, of the traditional hymns and gospel songs in favor of fresh new choruses, fall into the “rutual” of singing the same chorus sequences Sunday after Sunday until the worshipers do not need to look at the screen because they know what will be coming next.

            No doubt part of the reason that millennials are hocking their new strange musical wares on congregations of worshipers is that they are bored with traditional predictable worship music.  The answer is not the “hock and awe” of anti-music.  Although part of the answer must be discussed in another blog sequence, a fresh anointing on the worship leader will add reality, excitement and believability to musical worship.  Fresh new approaches to music used in public worship are not wrong in and of themselves.  The answer is reality and believability in the music that one uses in the context of public worship.

Scripture Thought for the Day   

Psalm 144:9, “I will sing a new song unto thee, O God: upon a psaltery and an instrument of ten strings will I sing praises unto thee.”




Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Considering Anti-Music-part-part 5


Considering Anti-Music-part-part 5

            The ancient Levite musician Chenaniah desired understanding and utilized music as a means to accomplish his purpose and mission borne in upon him of YHVH.  As one studies the OT, it becomes very clear that the work and purpose of the Levite musicians was not art music, anti-music, or noise-music, but rather the better understanding of the worshiper.  Whether a Christian musician likes it or not, the music part of worship music (the te’amim) or melodies of the entire OT was steeped in worthy tradition. This tradition of music worship was established by high authority as described in 1Chronicles 25:1, “Moreover David and the captains of the host separated to the service of the sons of Asaph, and of Heman, and of Jeduthun, who should prophesy with harps, with psalteries, and with cymbals…”

            1Chronicles 25, explains that this established worthy and worthwhile tradition or music praxis was established in ancient Israel by the chief Levite musicians and their sons (see verses2-31) and “according to the order of” i.e. the hands of King David, “Of the sons of Asaph; Zaccur, and Joseph, and Nethaniah, and Asarelah, the sons of Asaph under the hands of Asaph, which prophesied according to the order of the king.  Whether we like it or not, the Bible teaches very clearly in the 25th chapter of 1 Chronicles (and at other places in the OT) that all musical tradition is not to be avoided by the worship leader.  According to the Book, the Levite musicians were not turned loose on the ancient Israelite worshipers to hock their strange and shocking musical inventions.   

Scripture Thought for the Day

Psalm 33:2, “Praise the LORD with harp: sing unto him with the psaltery and an instrument of ten strings.”

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Considering Anti-Music-part-part 4


Considering Anti-Music-part-part 4

            Composers have often purposed to shock and anger audiences by composing music that is truly considered to be avant-garde music.  They have often expressed a desire to break with any established musical traditions.  One of the reasons has been their desire to leave a shocking footprint on the current musical scene in a particular generation.  This desire as come from a deep humanistic belief in “self” rather than having massa or spiritual burden borne in upon them of God. This desire is spoken of in 1Chronicles 15:22, “And Chenaniah, chief of the Levites, was for song: he instructed about the song, because he was skillful.”   

            Chenaniah’s musicing was not about self but rather about God.  He did not desire to cause shock and chagrin among those who worshiped but rather to music in a way that would cause the congregation to understand more fully the Word and will of YHVH.  This purposeful music praxis of the Levite musicians is mentioned in Nehemiah 8:8, “So they read in the book in the law of God distinctly (they intoned i.e. sang the Holy Writ), and gave the sense, and caused them to understand the reading.”  The Levites desired understanding in worship rather than novelty or obscurity.   

Scripture Thought for the Day
1Chronicles 25:7, “So the number of them, with their brethren that were instructed in the songs of the LORD, even all that were cunning, was two hundred fourscore and eight.”


Monday, March 20, 2017

Considering Anti-Music-part-part 3


Considering Anti-Music-part-part 3

            I believe it is a mistake for a Christian minister of music to refer to refer to sacred music as “noise” or “organized noise”.  I admit readily that some of the compositions that have been pawned off on the church in the last century and in today’s church may well be considered noise.  When it is justifiably considered to be noise it should not be considered sacred music. 

            The composer, arranger and the musicer must make a choice of either producing “noise music” i.e. anti-music or music that is worthy to be considered for sacred use.  Psalm 89:15 teaches that in the eyes of Almighty God who is here referred to as YHVH the self-existent, independent, eternal God who is ,when it states, “Blessed is the people that know the joyful sound: they shall walk, O LORD, in the light of thy countenance.”    Sound may not matter to millennials who are post postmoderns, but it does to God.  Certainly it should not take much musical discernment to distinguish noise music from music styles that are suited to the purpose of worshiping a high and holy God.  

Scripture Thought for the Day   

Ezekiel 26:13, “And I will cause the noise of thy songs to cease; and the sound of thy harps shall be no more heard.”


Sunday, March 19, 2017

Considering Anti-Music-part 2


Considering Anti-Music-part 2

            Noise-music is a form of so-called music that some would consider to be the “expressive” use of noise or distortion within the context of what the composer or arranger considers to be “music” or “anti-music” music. This type of composition challenges the distinction between musical and non-musical sound. It is directly related to the 20th century philosophy off the destruction of music absolutes.

            Where am I heading with this discussion?  The purpose is not to get entangled in the controversy over whether some secular music that is rightly considered to be anti-music is music or merely noise.  The purpose of this very brief mention of anti-music it to point out that it was not developed by God fearing Christian musicians who were desiring to worship God with a genera of music that negated the elements of traditional Western music.  Therefore, it is misguided for a Church musician to entangle public worship with such styles of music.  Such entanglement is one of Satan’s stratagems for squeezing religious music into the world’s mold.   

Scripture Thought for the Day 

Isaiah 14:11, “Thy pomp is brought down to the grave, and the noise of thy viols: the worm is spread under thee, and the worms cover thee.”

Saturday, March 18, 2017

Considering Anti-Music-part 1


Considering Anti-Music-part 1

            I believe that this name anti-music was originally a term tending to use irony or mockery to represent the negativism of some musical compositions of the 20th century. It was also a term discussed in a music web site called antimusic. As far as I can tell the name originally came from a coined term in the book Broken Record: The Inside Story of the Grammy Awards by Henry Schipper.  Schipper recounts in this book that the Academy and their awards program were initially set up as the old-line music biz’s answer to the growth of Rock n’ Roll, a form of music they considered “Anti-Music”. 

             Perhaps another way to look at the meaning of this word is to consider it any form of music that defies convention to such a degree that some people would not recognize it as musical or a legitimate music genre.  Perhaps a better understanding of this term would be any form of music intended to overthrow traditional conventions and expectations.   Some other related considerations of anti-music could possibly be anti-genre music or noise-music. 

Scripture Thought  for the Day

Amos 5:23, “Take thou away from me the noise of thy songs; for I will not hear the melody of thy viols.”


Friday, March 17, 2017

A Fresh Vision of God-part 3


A Fresh Vision of God-part 3   
            You may be skeptical of the reality of being in the Spirit when it comes to music making.  You may ask the question, “What can I hear from the voice of God?  What can the Spirit reveal to me?”  I confess to you that I do not know which of God’s secrets the Holy Spirit wants to reveal to you.  I don’t know how He will move upon your heart and warm it for His service.  I only know that He will.  If we are going to worship God with our musicing, we must have the anointing of the Holy Spirit.  I want to remind us all of the words of Jesus as he talked with the women of Samaria in St. John 4:23-24, “But the hour cometh, and now is, when the true worshippers shall worship the Father in Spirit and in truth: for the Father seeketh such to worship Him.  God is a Spirit: and they that worship Him must, worship Him in Spirit and in truth.”
             As I see it, the unction, or anointing of the Holy Spirit is one of our strongest defenses against being led astray.  I John 2:20-27 John warns against false teaching.  In the day in which we live everyone has an opinion about music and music ministry.  I believe that church musicians can profit from John’s warning and admonition in verse twenty.  He states: “But ye have an unction [chrisma 5545– a smearing or endowment or anointing of the Holy Ghost] from the Holy one, and ye know all things.”  (Words in brackets are mine.)  Later in verse 27 he concludes, “But the anointing (chrisma 5545) which ye have received of him abideth in you, and ye need not that any man teach you: but as the same anointing teacheth you of all things, and is truth, and is no lie, and even as it hath taught you, ye shall abide in him. The Holy Spirit will abide in us and teach us and protect us from falling prey to the matrix of Satan.  This unction or anointing will guide us into all truth which includes truth concerning music ministry in the 21st century.   
Thought for the Day 
Some church musicians may consider the use of the terms unction and anointing to be fanatical but, they are biblical and they are vital to a Christian musician if his or her musicing is going to be Spirit controlled.

Song for the Day Not My Will, but Thine by Hugh C. Benner

Thursday, March 16, 2017

A Fresh Vision of God-part 2


A Fresh Vision of God-part 2   
            When one reads the Old Testament accounts of the prophets it is apparent that when they saw visions of God it made a profound change in their attitudes and focus.  For instance, Isaiah said, “Woe is me” and Ezekiel said, “I fell on my face”.  When they saw God in proper perspective, they then saw themselves in proper perspective.  Finally, both prophets, when they saw the Lord high and lifted up and saw His vision, heard the voice of God.
            Every one of us who are church musician should ask the question, “How long has it been since I heard from heaven; since I have heard the voice of God?”  If we as church musicians are bored, or our ministry is stale, or if we are facing burn out, there is hope if we will get a renewed vision of God.  If for some reason we are in bondage to the trendy notions of others, or are about convinced that the time-honored music of the church will not reach the hearts of men and women today,  Isaiah 10:27 is saying to us, “...the yoke shall be broken because of the anointing”.  We can have the dunamis of the Spirit to give life and vitality to our music ministry.  St. John the divine reminds us in The Revelation 1:10, “I was in the Spirit on the Lord’s Day, and heard behind me a great voice, as of a trumpet...”  I believe that Christian musicians in this century are able to hear God’s voice and have the leadership of the Holy Spirit upon their musicing. 
            St. John the divine also saw a vision of God’s throne, the book with the seven seals, and the music of the four beast and four and twenty elders who witnessed the opening of the Book.  Revelation 5:9 records, “And they sang a new song, saying, Thou art worthy to take the book and to open the seals thereof: for Thou wast slain, and hast redeemed us to God by thy blood out of every kindred, and tongue, and people, and nation…”  Because St. John the divine was “in the Spirit”, the Holy Spirit was able to let him in on some of the secrets of the glory world.   
Thought for the Day
If we stay on our knees until God reveals his will to us, the struggle of prayer may not always be a “Sweet Hour of Prayer” but, the result of knowing His will is most certainly “sweet”. 
Song for the Day Guide Me, O Thou Great Jehovah by William Williams


Wednesday, March 15, 2017

A Fresh Vision of God-part 1


A Fresh Vision of God-part 1

            Ezekiel 1:1gives an account of his vision of the glory of God, ”Now it came to pass in the thirtieth year, in the fourth month, and the fifth day of the month, as I was among the captives by the river Chebar that the heavens were opened, and I saw visions of God.” Later in verse 28b of that chapter he records, “...this was the appearance of the likeness of the glory of the LORD.  And when I saw it, I fell on my face, and I heard a voice of one that spake.”

            If worship leaders could see a fresh vision of the Lord high and lifted up, they will be more careful of how they sing and play in God’s presence.  They will no longer be intimidated into believing “This is what the people will accept, therefore, I must to sing or play in this manner.”  Ministers of music who have seen a fresh vision of the Lord spend their lives as Ephesians 5:10 says, “Proving what is acceptable unto the Lord.”  They get rid of the attitude “prove to me that this is wrong.” They are no longer consumed with the desire to get as close to the musical styles of this godless generation as they can, but instead as Ephesians 5:11 states, they will “...have no fellowship with unfruitful works of darkness, but rather reprove them.”   

Thought for the Day

If we as Christian musicians desire to know God’s will, and if we are going to “walk in the light” we must keep our spiritual lamps “trimmed and burning”.

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Our Musicing Should Reflect God’s Light


Our Musicing Should Reflect God’s Light

            1John 1:4-5, “And these things write we unto you, that your joy may be full.  his then is the message which we have heard of him, and declare unto you, that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all.”  Every Christian musician’s musicing should be a message of God’s light.  It is no wonder that the Bible commands Christians to praise.  Christian musicians have a right to be full of joy and to have that joy reflected in his or her musicing.  As Christian musicians, we need to guard against allowing this dark evil world to influence the tenor of our sacred musicing with the hopelessness of a life lived without the light that God shines into this world.

            Much of the secular music that has been recorded in the last century represents the darkness of these musician’s hearts.  It is a fact that many times musicians who do not know Christ live surrounded by darkness and despair.  However, Ephesians 5:14 gives hope to those who are dead in trespasses and sins when it promises, “Wherefore he saith, Awake thou that sleepest, and arise from the dead, and Christ shall give thee light.”  So, those of us who are walking in God’s light should take a moment to thank God for the light of His presence. 

Thought for the Day

There is an element of truth in Bob Marley’s quip, “Don’t worry be happy”.  A Christian’s musicing should reflect joy instead of worry. 

Song for the Day This is the Day by Les Garrett