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A Hymn and a RANT

(Note: This post has nothing to do with Memorial Day. For such content, I suggest going here and here. Also, this post is specifically intended for my fellow Christians.)

First, the hymn: This is one of my favorites, "The King of Love My Shepherd Is." The tune is Irish (or Scottish?) and is sung, here, by a congregation in Northern Ireland. Please give it a careful look and listen, for it forms the basis for the RANT...


http://youtu.be/3K5E4oWzV7g

Now, the RANT: Brothers and sisters, do you like some of these old hymns? (So do I.) Do you think that some of the modern praise music has a much substance as cotton candy? (I do, too.) Why, then, are we allowing these worshipful hymns to fall into general disuse because of the inappropriate and unattractive ways that we handle them in "traditional" American church services?

Please consider the video as I make the following points:

1. In the video, everyone is singing. Why is it that so many of our "traditional" services here in America have the congregation just sitting there, listening to the choir sing? Fellow Christians, we all should be the choir! Yes, I enjoy being entertained by the singing of others, but if you are content to do that during your church service, then I respectfully suggest that you should prayerfully reconsider your theology of worship. In any case, today's churchgoers who aren't senior citizens don't generally want to be relegated to a non-participatory role during worship, and they, with justification, tend to think of "hymns" in that disfavored context. We need to change that.

2. In the video, suitable instruments, played at an appropriate volume, accompany the singing. You will notice the brass, woodwind, and even (gasp!) keyboard; please note how these instruments provide the rolling, lyrical tune that suits the hymn. Also, the instrumental volume is loud enough to provide guidance for the tune, but restrained enough to allow the congregation to sing somewhat softly (which, again, suits this particular hymn). Brothers and sisters, there is no law, anywhere, that requires hymns to be accompanied by that grumpy, deafening old pipe organ that makes everything sound like an overly loud Good Friday dirge. (Yes, my own congregation has such an organ, and I don't like it; the volume is almost always inappropriately loud, and I don't want to sing Good Friday tunes unless it is Good Friday.)

Some of you may be inclined to respond with, "But I love that old organ! I grew up with it!" To be blunt: Most of us don't share your opinion, and by continuing to tether the hymns to that disagreeable instrument, we make the hymns disagreeable as well. How about an additional service that features (some) hymns accompanied by a more modern and varied set of instruments? You may find that, in a few years, you can go back to one service, because the current crop of elderly will have passed on while everyone else will have migrated to the "additional" service.

I realize that many congregations do not have members who can play the sort of instruments employed in the video, but, as I understand it, it is no more difficult to play a piano or keyboard than it is to play an organ (please correct me if I am wrong). That one change, by itself, would be seen, by most, as a significant step forward.

3. We need to present the hymns in a more readable format. To apply the lyrics from the hymn above, which of the following is easier to follow? This...

The King of love my shepherd is
Where streams of living water flow
In death's dark vale I fear no ill
And so through all the length of days

whose goodness faileth never
my ransomed soul he leadeth
with thee, dear Lord, beside me
thy goodness faileth never

I nothing lack if I am his
and where the verdant pastures grow
thy rod and staff my comfort still
Good Shepherd, may I sing thy praise

and he is mine forever.
with food celestial feedeth.
thy cross before to guide me.
within thy house forever.

... or this?

The King of love my shepherd is
whose goodness faileth never
I nothing lack if I am his
and he is mine forever.

Where streams of living water flow
my ransomed soul he leadeth
and where the verdant pastures grow
with food celestial feedeth.

In death's dark vale I fear no ill
with thee, dear Lord, beside me
thy rod and staff my comfort still
thy cross before to guide me.

And so through all the length of days
thy goodness faileth never
Good Shepherd, may I sing thy praise
within thy house forever.

Why are so many of our "traditional" services still employing hymnbooks that place the lyrics in the first, far less readable, format? Most of us cannot read music (which was the original justification for the "hymnbook" format), but we can, with a little practice, pick up, and follow, a tune (if the tune is too difficult to follow, it shouldn't be used in church worship to begin with). Is it any wonder that our "traditional" services tend to leave the actual singing to the choir?

At this point, please do not respond with, "but you get used to the layout after awhile." I am 47 years old, and have, unhappily, much experience over the years with these hymnbooks; I continue to find the layout an irritating chore to deal with. I often "lose my place" during the hymn, and then have a hard time finding it again (of course, the obnoxiously loud organ, and the choir straining to be heard over the top of it, don't help matters). While I am against "dumbing down" doctrine, to persist with these hymnbooks simply serves as a stumbling block, one that tends to be associated in people's minds with the hymns themselves.

4. In contrast to the video, we need to, where practical, free up our hands during worship. Please understand: If you worship in a beautifully appointed church, I am not suggesting that your cross, icon, or stained-glass window be obscured by a screen for a video projector. However, If your church is more sparingly appointed, and you have a bare wall where the lyrics to the hymns could be projected, seriously consider doing so. This will not only solve the readability problem raised in Point 3 above, but it will allow for greater physical expressiveness while singing. (Some of you may not agree with me that it is, within limits, a good thing for us to be physically demonstrative during worship; if this is your position, please raise the topic in a response and I will be happy to discuss the matter with you.) For too many Christians today, "traditional worship" brings to mind the image of a 75 year old man in a three-piece suit who scowls at anyone who dares to lift his hands in praise to God. Hymns being associated with this image is quite unhelpful.

Conclusion: Brothers and sisters, we have a rich treasury of music that goes back centuries. There are, in my opinion, two ways to deal with the current disdain for hymns:

1. Dig our heels in, don't change a thing,... and pray that God will direct some future generation to recover the hymns that we allowed, through our intransigence, to fall into complete disuse.

2. Proactively make the changes that will encourage the incorporation of the hymns into "modern" worship. (The irony is that, when sprinkled into a contemporary "praise" service, hymns are often sung with more participation, and to better effect, than in the "traditional" service where the choir is singing and the congregation is nodding off.)

We should keep in mind that, if the Lord tarries, the best of the "contemporary" music will be considered "traditional" 100 years from now. Our goal should be to add to the treasury of music God has given us, not to squander it through a misguided attempt at "preserving" it from modern influences.

"But my church has done it this way forever! What can I do to change it?" You are the church. Be the change. If you didn't think that you could make changes, you wouldn't be here on Daily Paul. It may simply be a matter of inertia, in that nothing has ever changed because no one has ever tried to change it. Or, it could be a small, but well placed, minority that is opposed to any innovation, such as a choirmaster who will doggedly fight any attempt to "undermine" his beloved choir. As I suggested earlier, one possible way to defuse this opposition is to have an additional service where the desired changes could be implemented (not with the goal of having a "contemporary" praise service in opposition to the "traditional" hymn service, but of having a mixed "hymns & contemporary" service that incorporates the changes I advocate above). Why not partake of the best of all of the music?

In the Protestant context, at least, traditional "hymn only" churches tend to be graying and shrinking, and there likely is someone in leadership who perceives this and is worried about it. Your congregation's leadership will be inclined to add another service (or to incorporate, in the existing service, the changes I suggest) if a persuasive case is made that this will help the church retain its younger members and attract new ones. If you agree with my analysis and plan of action, then make the case for it.

What will it be, fellow Christians? Do you want to save our hymns, or not? As this is a RANT, which invites controversy, please fire away with your responses!



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Music in general is being systematically destroyed by the PTB...

Through manipulation of the sound frequencies themselves:

http://www.dailypaul.com/265161/the-cosmic-432-the-musical-c...

and in many other ways.

The problem I think in large part is the desire by man to invent music when they should be discovering it instead. Musical scales, like colors, exist in nature independently of our perception of them.

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I don't know if I buy that.

I don't know if I buy that. Musical scales were definitely invented-- there was a decision made to limit our (by that I mean Western) scales to only 12 notes. There's nothing "natural" about that.

Musical scales were discovered...

by noting that dividing a string into half it's length produces the same tone as the full length of the string, just one octave above. Doubling the tension on a length of string does the same thing.

By subdividing the length of a guitar string, for example, it is easy to 'discover' the 7 notes A through G. If you want more tones you might try looking for a note in between, say, A and B and discover B flat. Try this again with B and C and you'll be stumped as there is no C flat. Same with 'E' and 'F'. Hence an 5 additional flat notes for a total of 12 plus the 13th, the octave.

8 notes of the 13 available is also a Fibonacci number. But besides that music was discovered not invented.

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Actually, it's not easy at

Actually, it's not easy at all to 'discover' all seven notes A through G with simple ratios, which is why Pythagoras had such trouble doing it. According to your method, what's the ratio of a major third? It's something crazy (not 5:4 as it is often rounded to, such as in just intonation).

And of course there are notes between B and C. They are just (largely) ignored in the Western tradition.

There are many different traditions of music, and none of them are more 'natural' than anything else.

If it is approached as a matter of design then it would be hard

but if it is discovered, music is easy.

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OK, let me know when you

OK, let me know when you "discover" the "true" musical scale that's eluded us all these years.

Thank you for posting...

... Liberty patriot!

A Constitutional, Christian conservative who voted for Ron and stands with Rand

Have you ever heard of the

Have you ever heard of the Sacred Harp tradition? It's a highly democratic form of worship that used to be popular in churches in New England and the South during and after the Revolution, and were used in the Revival movement. It's experiencing something of a small revival recently, and frequent small gatherings and annual conventions (some 400+) can be found around the country.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YHUfHNEZDPc

I had not heard of it before now...

... In looking at your link and some others, it seems interesting and distinctive. There are other Christian traditions that still practice A cappella worship; the largest of these, by far, is Orthodoxy:


http://youtu.be/9xxuuppxkLo

(While the above video shows a performance, rather than a worship service, it does apparently take place within an Orthodox church. Behind the singers can be seen the Iconostasis. Also, note that there are no seats in the video; the Orthodox generally stand, rather than sit or kneel, during church services.)

The Medieval/Renaissance Latin tradition also featured much A cappella worship:


http://youtu.be/fcWo1hKHu40

(Thank you to Granger for pointing me to this link.)

A Constitutional, Christian conservative who voted for Ron and stands with Rand

Really beautiful (((((((Brother Jetton))))))))

Visually and auditorily.. wow.

Perhaps you will appreciate this one? http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d5p_U8J0iRQ

Thank you, (((((((Granger!)))))))

When I compare the Gregorian chants with the Orthodox singing that I am familiar with, it seems that the pacing is different (the Orthodox tend to sing faster). Also, I remember that when the Anonymous 4 first became prominent they created something of a stir, being an all-female group singing the medieval chants; my impression is that it has traditionally been more common, and thus not noteworthy, for women to sing in the Orthodox tradition.

How was Mass today?

The Lord bless you and keep you in his love, dear Catholic sister and friend.

A Constitutional, Christian conservative who voted for Ron and stands with Rand

ecorob's picture

A hymn, a rant...

and the truth!

Hard for some people to accept that but they are their own worst enemy.

its 'cos I owe ya, my young friend...
Rockin' the FREE world in Tennessee since 1957!
9/11 Truth.

Thank you for the reply and the bump...

... Liberty patriot!

A Constitutional, Christian conservative who voted for Ron and stands with Rand

Litergy is VERY important to me

I hope you can forgive my tresspass, (((((Brother Andrew Jetton)))))
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fcWo1hKHu40

My heart hurts reading your words, my head is bowed, and I pray that you find peace with me, and within yourself concerning this important issue.

The Holy Spirit, which many Christians do not recognize, is what moves me in my litergical worship.

As a Catholic, we have seasons within seasons (On Earth as it is in Heaven), if you will, and psalms representing and marking the significants of such. While we have choice within the season to pick songs, the litergical director is who makes that choice based on guildlines from the Holy See through publishing corporations that provide our litergical books, such as http://www.ocp.org/ though our suggestions are MOST welcomed and embraced.

Note, the first song I provided you has no instrumental accompaniments. To me, this is CHURCH. For me, the participation in this kind of choir lifts the soul to Heaven. I use my voice to take as many who can hear, with me to that place. Some do not have voices, and this is where instruments can and do participate, building and defining the genre of the communion within the Church.

The praise I receive, I give to the Holy Spirit (or depending on the season, Jesus, Mary, Joseph, or other saints, notablly Saint Francis, sung here by All Angels with full orgastra assemble.. listen to the ansemble carefully please http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=20nQH8meG_0 ).

Being Catholic, we have nationals from all over the world attending Mass, and while the language may differ, the songs are familiar and help to make our visitors feel at HOME. This is very important. As choir members, we are not performing to provide entertainment. We are worshiping and working to unite.

Now, at my Church, we do take artistic license, and I am the greatest sinner of all. I don't know why, but it always seems there is some song, that I will hear a genre that is not what we are practicing.. I have a thing for jazz and gosple, and God help me, but I can't seem to stop from busting out with what I hear.

I have been told more than once, "The Holy Spirit's got you". One time, I am ashamed to say, after the band was so kind to go along with my whim, after we completed the song, I don't know why, I shouted out a "Yee Haw!" I think I embarresed the entire choir. The entire Church turned around to look what was going on in the choir. Many people laughed.. I don't know ((((Andrew)))) I take communion like I'm high fiving everyone at a football game.. I'm just very happy in Chuch, and while it is a place of reverance, and I fully LOVE and RESPECT my Church.. I seem to have a wild streak in me.

Have you ever seen this movie http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0DmZr-YZXqc

I guess I took a que? Like this person?
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tZ46Ot4_lLo

Or this person?
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6rPFvLUWkzs

Or even this person?
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RxPZh4AnWyk

And so, Dear (((((Brother Andrew Jetton)))))
I lift you up in my prayer, that you will find that place in your heart, that lifts your spirit and soul, and fullfills you and allows to BELIEVE, KNOW, that it is not what we take from the Church, but what we bring that makes the difference.

God Bless you abundantly my dear friend and ((((Brother)))).

I see your point, and Andrew's. (and voted you both up)

In both the Messianic Community and the Jewish community there is a corporate prayer, in liturgical form, called 'The Mourner's Kaddish'. Oddly enough, it doesn't focus on either the mourners or the deceased.
It focuses on the Sovereignty of God and His Glory. It really changed my perspective on death and other things, and was a great blessing when i couldn't find the words to say myself.

"Hence, naturally enough, my symbol for Hell is something like the bureaucracy of a police state or the office of a thoroughly nasty business concern." ~~C.S. Lewis
Love won! Deliverance from Tyranny is on the way! Col. 2:13-15

(((((Granger))))), my dear sister...

... I deeply regret, and apologize for, wounding your heart. My "RANT," while intended to "stir things up," was definitely not intended to cause pain to anyone, and especially not to you, dear lady patriot. Please forgive me.

I, too, often find liturgy to be deeply meaningful (please see the explanation of my Episcopal congregation's Sunday liturgy that I wrote for bear). My intent is not to abolish our liturgy, nor to get rid of classic musical forms (such as the fine example of plainchant that you linked to). Rather, I want our music to be handled in such a way that it pleases God and is attractive to, and involves, the congregation (and I do not feel that this is always the case now, hence the RANT).

I am not opposed to choirs as such (all 4 of my born children were part of school choirs, and I enjoyed going to their performances), nor do I mean to belittle the time and effort that goes into learning and performing selections of music. When you write...

"For me, the participation in this kind of choir lifts the soul to Heaven. I use my voice to take as many who can hear, with me to that place... As choir members, we are not performing to provide entertainment."

... I respond by acknowledging that music can perform a meditative function for the listener, and that this can have much value in "raising the soul to heaven" where, in my theology, we receive Christ's Body and Blood. Let me clarify that my RANT was directed primarily at the branch of Christianity within which I have spent most of my Christian life: Evangelical Protestantism. To put it bluntly, we Evangelicals, at least here in America, are not generally a meditative people. In most cases, when we sit in church and listen to the choir sing, we are not meditating; rather, we are being entertained, or else just passively waiting for something that we will participate in. I know that this sounds harsh, but I am writing of us, not them. In the Evangelical context, it tends to be far more conducive to our spirituality when we sing, rather than merely listening to others sing.

"Being Catholic, we have nationals from all over the world attending Mass, and while the language may differ, the songs are familiar and help to make our visitors feel at HOME. This is very important. As choir members... we are worshiping and working to unite."

I agree that singing well-known, "Church-wide" music can help to unify a disparate congregation. I humbly suggest that this is best accomplished by the entire congregation singing the music, even if some are singing in a different language.

"I take Communion like I'm high fiving everyone at a football game."

While there are certain times when Holy Communion should be received with a somber focus on Christ's death -- such as during Holy Week -- I agree with you that, generally, the occasion should be a joyful encounter with the living Christ. If I may quote from the previously mentioned description of my liturgy:

"As I receive [while kneeling at the altar rail], I close my eyes, and allow myself a few seconds of 'just me and Jesus.' I thank him for being willing to love me, sinful and unworthy though I be, and express my hope that he be honored and pleased by my giving myself to him. All the while, I am bowing my head, crossing myself, and blowing kisses (yes, really; I probably look ridiculous, but I don't care, and no one has ever said anything negative to me about it -- Episcopalians, for better or worse, tend to be tolerant, broadminded people, and their letting me be me is one of the reasons I attend there). I cut it short because I know that someone is waiting behind me for my spot on the altar rail."

"I lift you up in my prayer, that you will find that place in your heart that lifts your spirit and soul, and fulfills you and allows you to BELIEVE, to KNOW, that it is not what we take from the Church, but what we bring, that makes the difference."

Thank you for praying for me, dear sister; please continue to do so. I think that we need to bring hearts that desire to learn more about, and to receive, Christ's love, and that respond with worshipful love and submission toward him. Our liturgy then needs to effectuate these desires by the administration of the Word and of Sacrament. If we Evangelicals can recover the truth that Holy Communion really is about communing with Christ our living Husband, we will, hopefully, then restore it to a prominent, weekly place within our Sunday liturgy.

The Lord bless you and keep you, dear Catholic sister.

A Constitutional, Christian conservative who voted for Ron and stands with Rand

(((((((Brother Andrew Jetton))))))

I will continue to lift you up in prayer dear Brother in Christ. May your voice be freed to take your Church to heaven on Earth!

God's blessing upon you and your Churh.

Thank you, (((((Granger)))))

I will pray for you during liturgy, dear sister.

P.S.: I don't know why viewers are voting your posts down; the first post contained a substantive, intelligent point of view, and the second was a sincere expression of affection toward my congregation and I. Please know that I voted both of your posts up, dear lady patriot.

A Constitutional, Christian conservative who voted for Ron and stands with Rand

Somebody who doesn't like her views on Israel (my suspicion)

and votes her down for every post now is likely the story. I have seen some of her most thoughtful posts voted down because she defends Israel's right to exist as a nation intelligently, and I have about had it with this cabal! I know we are supposed to love your enemies, but sometimes it's hard even with the grace of God!

If the Lord will permit, I will let loose with my salvo. Likely it will be after my shocking conclusion to the 'Patriots Series', part Three. (I have also voted her up on both comments, and on many others)
UPDATE:

My shocking conclusion is now up!

www.dailypaul.com/288301/one-forgotten-patriot-the-primary-f...

"Hence, naturally enough, my symbol for Hell is something like the bureaucracy of a police state or the office of a thoroughly nasty business concern." ~~C.S. Lewis
Love won! Deliverance from Tyranny is on the way! Col. 2:13-15

This shall come as no surprise to you, (at first)

I agree on all points and shall add a few of my own.

To free up one's hands, music stands should be provided, if you are not able to use a screen or this solution, do something to make it happen. My husband provided the even more radical solution: Let people learn by hearing! He learned quite a few Messianic songs by hearing the rest of us sing them in our small group.

1) The individual Christian should be permitted to choose the Hymn, him or her self, at least once a month, and as many of them as possible! (if not every week)

2) Using only Hymns, especially badly selected ones, is as bad as using all praise choruses. The theology of some songs, both from the Hymn genre and chorus genre is horrid. "While Shepherds Watch Their Flocks By Night" is one of the more egregious examples from the Hymnal, "Above All" is one of the choruses that comes to mind.

3) The theology of what we sing should be as sound as the sermon is expected to be.

Combining Points 1) and 3), we get to point 4) The Laity should be trained in sound theology.

(On that point, steadfast has a post on Revelation 12: 1 & 2, that is well worth the read. I commented there on my belief concerning Physical Israel, as the topic was brought up)

www.dailypaul.com/286746/religous-revelation-12-an-in-depth-...

"Hence, naturally enough, my symbol for Hell is something like the bureaucracy of a police state or the office of a thoroughly nasty business concern." ~~C.S. Lewis
Love won! Deliverance from Tyranny is on the way! Col. 2:13-15

Libera_me, I appreciate your response-worthy posts!

... And I appreciate them even more when they occur on my thread, as that allows me to respond and bump the thread up!

Your "music stand" idea is interesting, and, as I consider it, I think that maybe my church could have "stands" that swivel out from the back of the next pew up (like an airline dinner tray), just as we currently have "kneelers" that swivel out from the bottom of the next pew.

I personally would want to keep written lyrics as an option (in other words, not go "audio only") as those who are hearing impaired have a hard time learning a song unless they can see the words. To respond to the rest of your points:

1. The individual Christian should be permitted to choose the Hymn, him or her self, at least once a month, and as many of them as possible! (if not every week)

I am a strong proponent of representative self-government within the ecclesiastical, as well as the civil, setting, and your idea therefore strikes a chord with me. If the congregation has a projector system such that the song lineup can be changed on the fly while still displaying the lyrics, then I would tend to agree with you. If the congregation is using a weekly, preprinted bulletin that lists the songs (as my church does for its contemporary service, as a projector system would not be appropriate within our particular worship space), then I would tend to favor a preselected list so that I would have the lyrics at my disposal. Good, thought-provoking idea, though.

2. Using only Hymns, especially badly selected ones, is as bad as using all praise choruses. The theology of some songs, both from the Hymn genre and chorus genre is horrid...

Concerning the kind of music we sing, I am of two minds. On the one hand, I like the idea of singing Christian music from all different times and places, because that allows us to get all of the "greatest hits," and because we are thereby putting into practice the Nicene truth that there is "one, holy, catholic, and apostolic Church."

On the other hand, I can appreciate that a predominantly African-American congregation might want music that arises out of the Spiritual or Black Gospel traditions, that an Irish (or "wannabe Irish") church chooses to focus on Celtic music, that a rural Southern congregation would emphasize Southern Gospel, that an Orthodox parish would employ traditional Eastern European (or Middle Eastern) plainchant, that a traditionalist Catholic parish would focus on (translated) Medieval Latin hymns, etc.

In other words, it comes down to unity vs. diversity, and both are important values. Do you have any further thoughts on this, lady patriot?

Concerning the theological content of what we sing, I will comment on that as I address your Point 3...

3. The theology of what we sing should be as sound as the sermon is expected to be.

I agree, and I would add that bad theology in music can lead to bad theology in the hearts and minds of the congregants, especially when the "tainted" music is an important and regular part of the liturgy. This bring a related question to mind: What about songs that are not explicitly doctrinal in nature? For example, many of the late 19th Century American hymns exhorted the congregants to pray, to fund missions, etc., while much of contemporary praise focuses on our response to God, such as one of my favorites:

(I love the fact that this song seems so oriented toward eros -- but perhaps I am guilty of reading my theological predilections into the lyrics. I previously posted this song on the Agape' Forum.) While I don't think that we should want a service filled with nothing but "doctrine free" songs, could we include some such songs as a response to more doctrinal songs (or to the sermon)? What do you think, dear sister?

"Combining Points 1) and 3), we get to point 4) The Laity should be trained in sound theology."

I agree, and appreciate the creative way that you arrived at this point!

I have posted a response to your thoughtful post concerning "physical Israel" and "spiritual Israel."

God bless, dear sister and friend.

A Constitutional, Christian conservative who voted for Ron and stands with Rand

I am even more radical than that... James Rutz in the....

Open Church (no relation to Open Theism, he is as Biblical as can be) lists eight scriptural commands that are 'essentially' prohibited from being kept in a typical service:

*Provoke one another to good works. (Hebrews 10:24)

*Confess your sins one to another. (James 5:16)

*Pray for one another that you may be healed. (James 5:16)

*Let the Word of Christ dwell in you richly as you teach and admonish one another. (Col. 3:16)

*Bear one another's burdens. (Gal. 6:2)

*Encourage one another and buid one another up. (I Thess. 5:11)

*Respect those who work hard among you. (I Thess. 5:12)

*Warn the idle and encourage the timid. (I Thess. 5:14)

These cannot be kept in the confines of the typical service, so they get consigned to Small Group Fellowships, that usually meet on a weekday evening. (Sorry to all who work nights!) That is a problem in and of itself, because it often limits those with small children in their ability to attend.

Here is where Rutz Gets Radical!
3 Clues from Scripture:

1)When you come together, everyone has something to contribute ; a hymn, a word of instruction, a revelation, a tounge or interpretation of one....you can all prophesy (who have the gift) in turn.... (I Cor 14:26)

2)While they were worshipping the Lord and fasting, The Holy Spirit spoke, "Set apart Paul and Barnabas.....(BLB, NASB) (Acts 13:2) (The 'tin cup method' of funding missionaries limits the number who actually can go to the fields to about 20% of those who may actually be called by God to go)

3) Speak to one another with songs, hymns and spiritual songs.... (Ephesians 5:17)

This what Tertullian had to say about his interpretation of this verse:

"In our Christian meetings we have plenty of songs, verses, sentences, and proverbs. After hand-washing and bringing in the lights, each Christian is asked to stand forth and sing, as best he can, a hymn to God, either of his own composing, or one from the Holy Scriptures!"

I have just given you a taste of The Open Church.

As far as the cultural issue goes, I think that is for each congregation to decide...but I like a fairly broad range of music, so I really don't worry about it, unless the lyrics are anti-Biblical. But I would not be above choosing Petra's It Is Finished in a Good Friday service if I could be certain that it would bring no offense. And I see many Messianic Congregations that use a blend of styles, ranging from praise choruses, to hymns, to Israeli music (non-Messianic), to Messianic.

"Hence, naturally enough, my symbol for Hell is something like the bureaucracy of a police state or the office of a thoroughly nasty business concern." ~~C.S. Lewis
Love won! Deliverance from Tyranny is on the way! Col. 2:13-15

While I do not recall reading anything written by that author...

... my initial response is that there is a tradeoff between size and participation. In a 10-person small group setting, direct democracy can be practiced, in that everyone can read a Bible passage, select a song for the group to sing, etc.; this becomes impractical for a 100-person Sunday service, and the bigger the congregation gets, the more republican it needs to become. The flip side, of course, is that the congregation can do things that the small group cannot.

A 10-member "house church" seated in a circle, with a volunteer pastor and a guy strumming a guitar... a 100-member "small church" with a paid pastor and a "praise team"... a 1000-member "mega-church" with a paid staff, a "mini orchestra," and all kinds of programs... I prefer for myself the "small church," but, to each his own.

Do you have any thoughts on the size issue, lady patriot?

A Constitutional, Christian conservative who voted for Ron and stands with Rand

That's a point he (Rutz) brings up as well ( he begs to differ)

He is not advocating that everyone participates every time, per se, but he does advocate everyone participating. He has no concern for the length of the service, either. He is radical enough to even suggest 'Open Pulpit', where a non-ordained Christian can give a sermon-length message. Now, I have actually seen that work for a Torah Message in the Messianic Congregations, but it does tend to lengthen the service to 2+ hours. He also advocates small groups and house churches as a 'means of grace' if your church is not open, but with the approval of the elders. (Part Four of his book actually describes three churches that have more or less open services, two about 100 members strong, one where the main services may not be as open, but they are all in a small group, and many are ministering, which is closer to 10,000 members. 140 ministries within the church, most having been conceived by the laity)

I see your point about it working in a small group. But I really don't see it as democracy, just a body where all the cells function together. The decision making is made instead by a different principle: 'The unanimity principle'. (OR as My husband puts it, the mutual Sovereign Citizen Principle.) The unanimity principle means that we make NO major decisions without the agreement of all. (A point Rutz makes himself in the book, The Open Church. He, as a former pastor, recalls that the most Spirit lead times were when one hold out on a decision was waited on, with expectation that the Holy Spirit would bring them all into unity, and the rest of them came to see that he was right to hold out.)

My husband also brought up the point that, even in the worship of Israel, the 'small groups' were the weekly groups, and the 'large group gatherings' were limited to the Feasts and Festival times.

"Hence, naturally enough, my symbol for Hell is something like the bureaucracy of a police state or the office of a thoroughly nasty business concern." ~~C.S. Lewis
Love won! Deliverance from Tyranny is on the way! Col. 2:13-15

Thank you for the intelligent and thoughtful discussion...

... dear sister and friend. God bless.

A Constitutional, Christian conservative who voted for Ron and stands with Rand

I wish you could meet my hubby, kids and I sometime

in person. Thank you, as well, for 'reading through' my fairly long posts. I can be brief at times, but on theological issues it is harder.

Thank you, dear brother. God's blessings to you from all.

"Hence, naturally enough, my symbol for Hell is something like the bureaucracy of a police state or the office of a thoroughly nasty business concern." ~~C.S. Lewis
Love won! Deliverance from Tyranny is on the way! Col. 2:13-15

Your posts are positively concise when compared to mine!

You read, and intelligently commented on, my The Christian Priesthood and Confession, which is, as a Word document, 7 or 8 pages long including the Q & A section.

I would love to meet you, and Granger, and bear (along with husbands & kids). How was church today, dear sister?

A Constitutional, Christian conservative who voted for Ron and stands with Rand

We were all feeling under the weather (it's been rainy all week)

and our oldest had been at Youth Group last night... So we missed church. :( We try to go every week, either to our (home) PCA Church or our (Wed. nights) C&MA (Christian and Missionary Alliance).

"Hence, naturally enough, my symbol for Hell is something like the bureaucracy of a police state or the office of a thoroughly nasty business concern." ~~C.S. Lewis
Love won! Deliverance from Tyranny is on the way! Col. 2:13-15