Music Worship

Music is Culture

Culture can be an imperious force In the previous two posts I put forth the idea that music has didactic power quite apart from any words we may add, and that music has idioms, syntax and semantics that work in similar ways to language. To conclude, I want to consider more concrete ways in which culture is at work here. While musical sounds may in themselves be neither moral nor immoral, the culture has provided…

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Music Worship

You Don’t Need Words to Tell a Story—Music Will Do

Idiom, syntax, and semantics work in music as well as words. (Part 2 in a series on the didactic power of music.) Far from being a universal language, music in its disparate forms is rather a polyglot that makes communication even between those in the same house sometimes difficult. Parents do not understand or do not like the music their children are listening to, and this has created some of the conflict which Ron Powers…

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Music Worship

The Didactic Power of Music

It’s the music itself that’s teaching us. Music is very much a part of the worship life of any gathering of Christians. It is an important component in our offering of adoration to God. The Bible repeatedly invokes music in praise of God, and among the many references we could cite, one of the better known is the command given in Ephesians. “Be filled with the Spirit, addressing one another in psalms and hymns and…

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Culture Music

Why Christian Music Remains Rooted in the Past, and that’s OK

When I arrived in music school many years ago, every incoming freshman was required to take Music History 101. One of the principles the professor imported from the world of architecture was “form follows function.” The principle is nearly self-explanatory, but when it comes to music, it may require some observations about how it is worked out. Dance music, for example, has certain rhythms that are symmetrical, because humans are symmetrical in our bodies. Music…

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Music Worship

We’re Still Treating Worship War Casualties

It’s the music that carries the text, CCM or otherwise. A recent post on a Christianity Today blog caught my eye because of the topic of music in the Church. This is a well-worn subject, and I can’t say everything I want to here, because it’s too broad (and I’m writing something more extensive), but I’m glad the topic hasn’t simply been dismissed with a hand-wave, as if to say “We’re done with that!” Christians…

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