Tag Archives: art

Affect or Effect

Affect or Effect

This entry is part 47 of 63 in the series Ten Mangled Words You can read more posts from the series by using the Contents in the right sidebar.

The difference between affections and emotions is seen in what art is used in worship. Since worship uses art, worship leaders can use it in precisely one of these two ways: to affect us, or to create effect. They can work with poetry, music and the spoken word to work with the imagination. There the… Continue Reading

How Poetry Forms Us

How Poetry Forms Us

This entry is part 7 of 9 in the series Sing to the Lord a New Song You can read more posts from the series by using the Contents in the right sidebar.

Singing both helps us express right affections to God in response to God’s character and works, and it also helps to form those affections when we make present through the art realities that are past, present, and future. But our affections are also formed by the art itself; in the case of Psalm 96, the… Continue Reading

Why We Sing Repentance

Why We Sing Repentance

This entry is part 10 of 13 in the series Out of the Depths You can read more posts from the series by using the Contents in the right sidebar.

Psalm 130, a corporate song of repentance, has shown us the power of art to both tell us what true repentance should be like and also show us artistically through use of metaphors, and repetition, careful word choice, and names for God. And this is why we sing. We sing not only to say right things, although… Continue Reading

Ron Horton on Christian Taste in Entertainment

Ron Horton on Christian Taste in Entertainment

Ron Horton, a philosophy professor at Bob Jones University, recently gave a presentation on Christian taste that is excellent and well-worth reading. Here’s a snippet: What is the God’s-eye view of present-day art and art entertainment in what is called the post-Christian world? This question meets surprising resistance from Christians who one might think would… Continue Reading

Pastors – Become Literate in Christian Culture

Pastors – Become Literate in Christian Culture

When the topic of music and worship comes up, a favorite slap-down argument against thoughtful discrimination of music is that pastors need not study music to be faithful pastors. It is beside the point to say that pastors need not become art critics. If their vocation is that of shepherding the flock, it is manifestly… Continue Reading

Review Article: You Are What you Love: The Spiritual Power of Habit

Review Article: You Are What you Love: The Spiritual Power of Habit

For several years now James K. A. Smith has been helpfully speaking and writing on the subject of liturgical formation in education and worship. His first two volumes on this subject, Desiring the Kingdom: Worship, Worldview, and Cultural Formation (Baker, 2009) and Imagining the Kingdom: How Worship Works (Baker, 2013), have reintroduced several important biblical… Continue Reading

Why Tolkien Wrote About Middle-Earth

Why Tolkien Wrote About Middle-Earth

Some Evangelicals’ credo might be: “There is only one Tolkien, and Peter Jackson is his Prophet.” While there is no denying that the art of John Howe and Alan Lee made the films a visual feast, or that Howard Shore’s scores were moving and memorable, let us set aside the movies for a moment and return to… 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

Article 8: On Works of the Imagination

Article 8: On Works of the Imagination

This entry is part 9 of 16 in the series A Conservative Christian Declaration You can read more posts from the series by using the Contents in the right sidebar.

This is a series to further explain the articles of “A Conservative Christian Declaration.” . We affirm that ordinate affections are often expressed and evoked through works of imagination, which function through simile and metaphor. Among these are music, poetry, literature, and other arts. The Word of God itself is a work of imagination. At least… Continue Reading

Truth and the Moral Imagination

Truth and the Moral Imagination

This entry is part 2 of 8 in the series Preserving the Truth in our Worship You can read more posts from the series by using the Contents in the right sidebar.

If, as I argued in the last post, truth is more than factual correspondence—if it has an aesthetic aspect to it—then both the apprehension and the presentation of truth involve more than just intellect; they involve the aesthetic part of man, in particular, his imagination. Today we use the term “imagination” to mean something more similar to… Continue Reading

Hymnody Today: What Do We Do?

Hymnody Today: What Do We Do?

This entry is part 13 of 14 in the series The Hymnody of the Christian Church You can read more posts from the series by using the Contents in the right sidebar.

So where does this leave us today? I will conclude with several brief suggestions of we should be striving toward in our choices of hymns for corporate worship. Recognize the importance of form. Form shapes content. As we evaluate the hymns that we sing, we must not be content that our hymns simply say the… Continue Reading

Two Roads Diverged

This entry is part 12 of 14 in the series The Hymnody of the Christian Church You can read more posts from the series by using the Contents in the right sidebar.

The dethroning of the Church by Reason and the creation of pop culture left the Church in an awkward position. Its cultural influence was non-existent. As the culture around it plunged into sanitized paganism, the Church’s traditional forms became foreign. The Church was in Babylon, yet it was free to worship as it pleased. So… Continue Reading

The Enlightenment and Christian Hymnody

This entry is part 11 of 14 in the series The Hymnody of the Christian Church You can read more posts from the series by using the Contents in the right sidebar.

This far in our journey we have witnessed an almost unbroken stream of Judeo-Christian tradition. From King David to Lutheran composer Johann Crüger (1598-1662) we find a slow and steady cultivation of poetic and musical forms. There were certainly bumps in the road and many changes along the way, yet for around 1800 years the quality… Continue Reading

Reformation Hymns

This entry is part 6 of 14 in the series The Hymnody of the Christian Church You can read more posts from the series by using the Contents in the right sidebar.

When Martin Luther (1483—1546) sparked a Reformation of the Church by nailing his Ninety-Five Theses to the Church door at Wittenberg in 1517, he challenged the Roman Church’s doctrine and practice, but never its musical forms. The musical forms of the Reformation continued to follow in the Judeo-Christian tradition. The most significant change Luther made for… Continue Reading

Early Church Hymns

Early Church Hymns

This entry is part 9 of 14 in the series The Hymnody of the Christian Church You can read more posts from the series by using the Contents in the right sidebar.

The hymnody of the early church was naturally an extension of Hebrew hymnody.1 Therefore, we can expect the hymnody of the early church to have the same general characteristics of Hebrew hymns: Early church hymns were word-centered, modest, and distinct, and they continued to nurture the forms they inherited from Jewish worship. The only change would… Continue Reading

The Cultivation of Form

The Cultivation of Form

This entry is part 7 of 14 in the series The Hymnody of the Christian Church You can read more posts from the series by using the Contents in the right sidebar.

On the wall in my study I have three portraits. All three are portraits of theologians who were also heavily involved with music. They are Martin Luther, J.S. Bach, and Isaac Watts. All three men fought their battles in defense of high standards for worship music. All three had their share of controversy. And all… Continue Reading

Musical Form in Christian Hymnody

This entry is part 5 of 14 in the series The Hymnody of the Christian Church You can read more posts from the series by using the Contents in the right sidebar.

Musical form shapes content in very similar ways to poetic form, yet it is a bit more abstract and thus considerably more difficult to readily recognize. But because music communicates by mimicking natural human expression, anyone can discern the basic meaning of music by simply listening closely and asking a few penetrating questions. Music contains… Continue Reading

A Theological Basis of Conservatism, Part 7

A Theological Basis of Conservatism, Part 7

This entry is part of 7 in the series A Theology of Conservatism You can read more posts from the series by using the Contents in the right sidebar.

If God does indeed imbue creation with his own value judgments, we are obligated to order our loves in analogy to his. If what I’m arguing is true, we are blameworthy, not only when we believe mistakenly (and thereby do not conform to God’s knowledge of himself or of his creation), but also when we… Continue Reading