Tag Archives: Articles on Culture

Is using pop music in church the same as incorporating indigenous music in missions contexts?

Is using pop music in church the same as incorporating indigenous music in missions contexts?

One of the most difficult issues church leaders face today is whether necessary (and historically practiced) “inculturation” of Christian worship applies to contemporary American pop music. This article is an absolutely fascinating attempt to answer that issue. Now, huge disclaimer first: This is written by a Roman Catholic expressly for a Roman Catholic audience and specifically rooted… Continue Reading

The “Two Hands” of Ministry

The “Two Hands” of Ministry

In 2006 an approach to church ministry began to gain popularity. It was called a “two-handed” approach to ministry. One closed hand represented the theology of the church and its grasp of biblical truth and principles. The hand being closed symbolized the non-negotiable aspects of theology. One open hand represented the methodology of the church.… Continue Reading

National Anthems and the Universal Language

National Anthems and the Universal Language

While watching an Olympic medal ceremony a few evenings ago, I remembered a blog post I wrote over ten years ago (on a now extinct blog) about national anthems and the universal nature of musical communication. Here’s what I wrote (March 28, 2005): In discussing the cross-cultural communication power of music with a friend of mine,… Continue Reading

Wilson on Christianity and the world

Wilson on Christianity and the world

Doug Wilson’s recent discussion of whether Christians should get tattoos applies to more than just body ink; his principles reveal something deeper about the nature of culture, fads, meaning, and a Christian’s relationship to the world: All the energy in the tattoo industry is coming from the world. This is a thing, it is a… Continue Reading

Is multiculturalism a good thing?

Is multiculturalism a good thing?

This is a helpful look at the nature of multiculturalism and an evaluation of whether it is a good thing. The author, begins, Multiculturalism is a thorny topic. It is also a topic on which any truly rational discussion is very difficult. The problem is that many people equate criticism of multiculturalism with racism. Since… Continue Reading

The importance of cultural discernment in Christian education

The importance of cultural discernment in Christian education

If Christian educators are intent upon educating their students with truth, both its factual content and the way the truth is imagined, then they must commit to utilize the best of our classical tradition. We have at our fingertips a rich heritage of cultural forms that have grown within value systems that are fully consistent with what it… Continue Reading

What makes something classic?

What makes something classic?

“Classic”–a word that can describe any number of things, including art, literature, music, theology, and tradition. But what does it mean? What makes something classic? A very helpful explanation of what makes something classic, and the value of classic things, can be found in Jacques Barzun’s Begin Here: The Forgotten Conditions of Teaching and Learning. Barzun… Continue Reading

Rebuilding Civilization

Rebuilding Civilization

This is from a Roman Catholic perspective, but the suggestions are sound. Anthony Esolen “surveys the ruins” of American culture and offers ideas for rebuilding. He doesn’t say one way or another, but I would add that what he suggests should not be the task of institutional churches, but rather Christian citizens in society. Here… Continue Reading

The Culture of Humanity

The Culture of Humanity

One of the cornerstones of arguments in favor of musical relativism is that musical interpretation is culturally conditioned and therefore subjective—one may not expect someone else with different cultural conditioning to interpret music the same way. So, the reason I interpret a particular musical form in a certain way is only because I have been culturally conditioned… Continue Reading

Leisure

Leisure

In no previous civilization have ordinary people experienced greater leisure than in ours. In the past, leisure was the privilege of the aristocracy. Now, however, with a standard forty-hour work week and a house full of labor saving devices, even blue collar workers have significant leisure at their disposal. In fact, managers often have less… Continue Reading

The Holy Spirit and decent and orderly worship

The Holy Spirit and decent and orderly worship

In the fourteenth chapter of 1 Corinthians, Paul rebukes the church for its chaotic worship. It seems that the problems included women teachers (14:33b-35), the incoherence of foreign langues (14:13, 19, 27-28), and even people speaking over each other in the services (14:27-32). Paul rebukes them strongly for this. As he wraps up his discourse,… Continue Reading

There hasn’t always been contemporary worship music

There hasn’t always been contemporary worship music

I’ve heard it said many times, often by people I love and respect: “Christians have always used contemporary music in their worship.” Or, it might go something like this: “Using pop music today is no different than what Luther or Watts did in their day.” What’s the point behind statements like these? Their purpose is… Continue Reading

Answering Paige Patterson’s Suggestions for Worship in Song

Answering Paige Patterson’s Suggestions for Worship in Song

In 2013, Paige Patterson, President of Southwestern Baptist Theologian Seminary, wrote a kind review in Artistic Theologian of my first book, Worship in Song: A Biblical Approach to Music and Worship (2009). Ever since I first met Dr. Patterson, I’ve known that he has a deep interest in and concern for biblical worship. This is one reason,… Continue Reading

Kim Davis

Kim Davis

Kim Davis is out of jail, but she is not out of the headlines. Her name is nearly everywhere in the media. Bloggers, pundits, and even presidential candidates have opined about the Rowan County clerk. Conservatives, Christians, and conservative Christians are deliberating whether Davis did the right thing and whether her jailing was justified. People… Continue Reading

Introduction to By the Waters of Babylon

Introduction to By the Waters of Babylon

The following is an excerpt from By the Waters of Babylon: Worship in a Post-Christian Culture by Scott Aniol (Kregel, 2015). By the waters of Babylon, there we sat down and wept, when we remembered Zion. On the willows there we hung up our lyres. For there our captors required of us songs, and our… Continue Reading