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Wednesday, June 25, 2008

From my Commonplace Book - June 25th

Last night I read a thought-provoking article from the blog Mere Orthodoxy entitled "Music and the Soul". I'm not going to elucidate too much mostly because I've not had time to really give this more thought than that I want to think about it (how do you like that...I've thought that I want to think - that's sheer brilliance right there), and also because it is almost kiddies' bedtime, but I am curious what some of you might think.

Here are the entries I made into my Commonplace Book from this post....

...human beings have generally lost the perception that we live in a hierarchical universe...(a hierarchy of the Holy Spirit, one's own spirit, the mind [thinking, feelings, will], and the body).

...human beings today do not first respond by asking questions about their spirit or thinking, but mostly always about their emotional and states of will.

Everything is reduced to the level of the ordinary...defined principally in terms of states of feeling and will. - the above was quoted in the post from a Dr. Overman.

From the rest of the article:

Christian love...enables men to think of themselves as something other than a bundle of emotive staes and corresponding impulses; it restores the dignity of being a spirit-and-flesh being in communion with God.

Rather than viewing worship as being an emotional expression, and limiting one's self to emotive music devoid of intellectual and spiritual expressions, the Christian ought to respond to God with the totality of his being.

When it comes to the music that we use to worship God, then, we must not first ask ourselves, "What kind of music do I like?"...but rather, "What music best expresses the full heart of a complete human being to God?

...starting with the question, "What does it mean to be human?" and then moving from this answer to explore the sorts of music most appropriate to human beings in communication with God is a far cry from the common complaint that certain forms of music don't arouse our emotions...

I didn't add this to my Commonplace entry, but I loved how the author ended the article:

The answer to this question might also leave everybody a bit surprised—the hymnodists as well as the hip members of your church praise and worship team.

So, what does it mean to be a human and how do we then answer the question, "What then should we sing?"


Kate said...

Trust me, I totally get the 'thought that I want to think' right now. I'll have to check out that post. My husband and I are always talking about why some church music 'works' for us and some doesn't - is it the music, the words, the way it's played? How does it reflect our faith and the mystery of God?

Thanks for pointing me in the direction of something which might articulate some of this better than we've been able to.