Thursday, April 17, 2014

Thought for the Day

Thought for the Day

I have observed over many years that musicians, who will not learn from others, will not learn.  Also, I have found out after dialoguing with musicians who have never committed their philosophy to pen and ink, that many times they have a long list of things they doubt, but a very short list of things they are committed to philosophically.

 

Defending Philosophy Biblically Part 2

Defending Philosophy Biblically Part 2

So, it seems logical to deduce that there is much support in the Bible for a Christian musician basing his or her systematic beliefs about the nature and value of the whole of music on wisdom found both in and out of the Bible. I believe that much of the wisdom concerning music and musicing may be found in the Bible.  However, I do not claim that I believe in sola scriptura as the only source of wisdom concerning music philosophy. 
I am often reminded of Jesus’ parable of the steward in Luke16:8 which states, “And the lord commended the unjust steward, because he had done wisely: for the children of this world are in their generation wiser than the children of light”.  I know that this parable had absolutely nothing to say about music.  However, I believe that there is a principle in Jesus’ parable that applies to us all. The principle is that sometimes stewardship requires getting the job done with the help of others.
I do not believe that Jesus was commending the unjust steward for his unjustness.  Jesus said in Luke 16:9, “And I say unto you, Make to yourselves friends of the mammon of unrighteousness; that, when ye fail, they may receive you into everlasting habitations.”  I do not profess to know all that Jesus was teaching in this statement, but it appears that He was saying that we can gather wisdom from people who are not Christians. However, Christians are warned in Colossians 2:8 “Beware lest any man spoil you [i.e. lead you astray] through philosophy (philosophia 5385) and vain deceit [kenos apate 2756 539 i.e. empty delusion], after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ.” 

 

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Thought for the Day

Thought for the Day

From ancient times until the twenty first century there has been interest in knowledge of wise things.  Music philosophy is as ancient as philosophy in any other of the major disciplines.  So, it is not a novel idea that Christian musicians have a love for wisdom concerning music and musicing.

Defending Philosophy Biblically Part 1

Defending Philosophy Biblically Part 1
             Philosophy is generally understood to be a love for the pursuit of wisdom. It is a method of pursuing wisdom through logical reasoning. It is an academic discipline through which logical reasoning is employed to critically analyze one’s fundamental presuppositions and beliefs about some area of life.  Philosophy investigates the nature, value, principles, knowledge, and causes of that discipline.  After logically and critically analyzing one’s systematic beliefs, a unified field of wisely developed knowledge is established that becomes a system of values and beliefs by which one operates within that discipline To the Christian this philosophical pursuit is always deeply grounded in Bible principles.
            It seems only logical to find out what the word philosophy means and if it is ever mentioned in the Bible before one attempts to write a book about music philosophy. The English word philosophy is only used once in the AV in St. Paul’s first epistle to the Colossians where he warns in chapter two, verse eight, “Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy (philosophia 5385) and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ.”  The word philosophia is derived from philosophos (5386) which is a word which comes from the two Greek words Philos (5384) and sophos (4680) which mean one who is fond of wise things i.e. wisdom. 
So let us consider philosophy’s mention in the Bible.   Philosophia is used only once in the New Testament in Colossians 2:8; philosophos is also only used once in acts 17:18; sophos is used 21 times and is translated wise, wiser, and wise man in the AV. I define wise as meaning having knowledge, and good judgment and wisdom as the quality of a person being wise.  The English word wisdom is used about 55 times in the AV New Testament.  The word wisdom is found in 266 verses the AV Old and New Testament!  The exact number of references is not important, but it is important that the Bible speaks so often of wisdom. 

 

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Prayer, Song , and Scripture for the Day

Prayer for the Day

Lord, I know in my head that You are my source of help during the times that I am misunderstood, but help me to believe it in my heart.  Help me to trust that You not only can help me but that You will help me!  During the times of misunderstanding help me to not lean on my understanding but to trust you like a little child trusts his earthly father. Lord, I want you to know that I love You and thank You for what You have done for me and what You will do in the future.  These things I am praying in your wonderful name.  Amen.
Song for the Day  Trust and Obey  by John H. Sammis
Scripture for the Day   Hebrews 4:15, “For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin.”

 

 

Trusting God During Misunderstanding


Trusting God During Misunderstanding
 Lamentations 3:14, “I was a derision to all my people; and their song all the day.”
It is rewarding when others sing your compositions, but it is another thing when they make fun of you with their musicing. In his Lamentations, Jeremiah, in verse one of Chapter Three recounted that, “I am the man that hath seen affliction by the rod of his wrath.  One must read the complete chapter or it will appear that Jeremiah was completely negative.  However in verse twenty two states, “It is of the LORD'S mercies that we are not consumed, because his compassions fail not.”
           If you take a stand musically, you are probably going to be made fun of by others.  This derision may come from those that are close enough to you to hurt you deeply.  The only musicians that I know that are not misunderstood at times are those who are not doing anything for the Lord musically.  So, get prepared to be misunderstood and at the same time get prepared to understand that the Lord will not let you be “consumed”.  The Psalmist put it this way in Psalm 121:2 which is one of  one of the songs of ascents, “ My help cometh from the LORD, which made heaven and earth.”  Since the creator of the universe desires to help you, let Him do it when you are misunderstood.

Monday, April 14, 2014

Thought for the Day

Thought for the Day
The Revised Standard Version translates Psalm 81:1 as, “Sing aloud to God our strength; shout for joy to the God of Jacob!”    Young’s Literal Translation renders Psalm 81:1, “Cry aloud to God our strength, shout to the God of Jacob,” That sounds to me like a biblical call for emotional passionate musicing.

 

 

Does Emotion in Music Have Meaning? Part 6

Does Emotion in Music Have Meaning?  Part 6
I want to say this as kindly as I can, but refusing to music with emotion to exhibit humility, though perhaps well meaning, is a misguided philosophical position.  One of the reasons I believe this so strongly is that real humility is not an act but rather a condition of the musicer’s heart.  Likewise musicing for the purpose of self aggrandizement at the expense of musicing that lifts up Christ is also the result of a heart condition.  So, the Christian musician should not dumb down his or her musical performance by inartistic unemotional performance in an attempt to appear humble to an audience.
In regard to an over humble approach to one’s performance, I remember that one of my daughter’s violin professors once said to her, “A performer’s false humility is a form of pride too.”  Removing oneself emotionally from musical performance often has the result of musicing that is detached and sterile. Trying to look, sound, or appear humble is a form of self pride.  Another of the many reasons that I disagree philosophically with such musical performance is that it is not believable.  In my opinion, the most important part about musicing is that it must be believable to an audience. This becomes even more important when it comes to sacred musicing.  If the Christian musician is singing about how much he or she loves the Lord in such a way that the audience believes that the one ministering does not really love the Lord, then that musician’s musicing will not be efficacious. 

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Thought for the Day

Thought for the Day
God  said in His Word that He would not share his glory with another, but he never said that is was wrong to music unto him with great emotion or that musicing with emotion would diminish His glory.

 

 

Does Emotion in Music Have Meaning? Part 5

Does Emotion in Music Have Meaning?  Part 5
I most certainly disagree with musical performance that exalts self and thereby denies the Bible principle of music ministry established in the Old Testament that the Levite musicians were to minister in the spirit of sharath (8334) i.e. in the spirit of humility like a servant or a menial worshiper.  One of the Scriptures that teaches this principle of musicing is1Chronicles 6:31-32 which states, “And these are they whom David set over the service of song in the house of the LORD, after that the ark had rest.  And they ministered (sharath 8334) before the dwelling place of the tabernacle of the congregation with singing, until Solomon had built the house of the LORD in Jerusalem: and then they waited on their office according to their order.”  It is always possible that a musician will go through process of religious musicing with the purpose in mind to glorify self and to display his or her musical wares rather than the sole purpose of presenting God a musical offering as a response to God for who He is, what He has do, and what he will do in the future.
With all this in mind, I still contend that Christian musicians can hide behind the cross and lift it up at the same time.  No musician has to exalt self when he or she musics with emotion and meaning.  Although I have met performers who were haughty and high minded, some of the greatest musicians that I have had the privilege to meet were very humble down to earth people.  I contend that musicing with emotion does not require the musicer to be self-centered or to not be Christ-like.