18 January 2013

This 'n' That

A couple days ago, the radio woke me by playing that most irksome praise song, "I Will Worship" (thanks a lot, Moody). The remainder of my day perfectly demonstrated why I loathe these catchy, theologically pathetic, self-exalting tunes. Why? Because I ended up humming or singing that stupid song all day. It was awful. No matter what I did, it kept popping back into my head (by now you may have noticed that I easily get annoying songs stuck in my head—is there a name for this condition? And, lest you think I'm the only one with this problem, please note that Thabiti Anyabwile had a worse song stuck in his head this morning.) It wasn't just the fact that I had an annoying melody running through my brain, though, it was the fact that I ended up singing about myself all day because of it.

Let's look at some of these stellar lyrics:

I will give you all my worship
I will give you all my praise
You alone I long to worship
You alone are worthy of my praise

I will worship (I will worship)
With all of my heart (With all of my heart)
I will praise you (I will praise you)
With all of my strength (With all my strength)
I will seek you (I will seek you)
All of my days (All of my days)
I will follow (I will follow)
Follow all of your ways (All your ways)

I will give you all my worship
I will give you all my praise
You alone I long to worship
You alone are worthy of my praise

What a perfect example of the narcissistic mindset that encompasses and defines not only our culture, but our churches! If you are singing this song in church, look closely and you'll discover with very little difficulty (I hope) that you're singing about yourself, not God. You may as well be singing these lyrics:

I am really, really awesome
I'm so awesome, it amazes me
You're so lucky to receive my worship
You're so blessed to receive my praise

I am awesome (I am awesome)
Every ounce of me (Every ounce of me)
Knows I'm awesome (Knows I'm awesome)
Can't you see? (Can't you see?)
I have sought you (I have sought you)
All on my own (All on my own)
And now I'll follow (And now I'll follow)
Trusting in me alone (Me alone)

I am really, really awesome
I'm so awesome, it amazes me
You're so lucky to receive my worship
You're so blessed to receive my praise

Me-centered worship. It's been the one of the great contributors to the downfall of the visible church. And it's not just our songs that are glorifying man, but our sermons and our interpretation of Scripture. One day, when the wheat and the tares are separated, oh what a surprise some will receive! Ah, well, no matter, so long as it feels good while we're here, right?

Now that I have you in a proper state of lamenting (and hopefully praying for) the visible church and it's continual assaults upon Christ, please take a few moments and enjoy your week in review (kind of):
  • Dan Phillips takes an interesting look at the life of A.W. Pink, making some salient observations regarding the contradiction between Pink's life and words. Also don't miss the comments on this post, as a rather good conversation ensued.
  • Do not miss this wonderful sermon by Pastor John MacArthur on John 3:1–3. When the video is available, you'll probably see it posted here again.
  • Is your pastor too reverent? Do you wish that he would take the name of the Lord in vain more often? Then perhaps you should consider attending Judah Smith's church, because he seems to be quite skilled in carelessly misusing the name of God. Kind of makes you wonder how else he's blaspheming the Lord in his life, doesn't it? I mean, besides twisting the Scriptures to fit his own agenda.
  • There's only one Carl Trueman, so don't miss his thoughts here about the shortfalls of theistic evolution (and men like Tim Keller who promote such a theory). 
  • Mark Driscoll was bemoaning the existence of bloggers. Again. Ironically, he was doing so on Twitter. Really? Here's a well-written response.
    • I've not seen Les Miserables. I've not read the book. I don't want to. I don't plan to. I am, however, already weary of countless Christians extolling the great virtues of the film because of what they believe is a story of conversion. It baffles me how a conversion to a false gospel of works and good deeds can be so praised by believers. To make matters worse, it's doing so in song. Lots of songs. Thabiti Anyabwile was unfortunate enough to view the movie, and he shares his thoughts on it, many of which I suspect I would share were I ever to be tricked into seeing it. 
    • The Grace to You blog ran a series this week about the importance of being in a local church. To wrap it up, today they posted an acknowledgement and some encouragement for the many people who have found that, much to their dismay, there simply is not a faithful, Bible-teaching church in their community.
    • Lately, Christianity Today has been pushing the Muslim "Insider Movement." Stand Up for the Truth has an excellent article refuting some of CT's claims.
    • While millions of Hindus sought to wash away their own sins in some bizarre ceremony, some American Hindus are working to get the Bhagavad Gita in hotel nightstands across the country.
    • Jesus Christ is the perfect mediator:

    16 comments:

    1. Ah, ease up on the worship song. David and friends wrote similar psalms...........I think a little self-talk is good for the soul/spirit when we need to snap back into reality!! It's helpful on those days when we have to make the choice to worship or wallow!!

      ReplyDelete
    2. Spot on about the cheese level in what passes for worship music. To paraphrase an old saw "I can worship myself on the golf course (especially as I lie about my score)."

      My mark of a truly awful song is what song it chases out of my brain. If I'm mentally singing "Come Thou Fount. . ." (the original), and it's chased out by, say, "I am a Friend of God (he Calls me Friend)", then I know I need to get back into God's Word and focus on Him, not me.

      Cuz, after all, our self-centered worship is not bringing Him glory, nor is it making (some of) us happy.

      ReplyDelete
    3. The condition you were trying to describe at the beginning of this post is called 'having an ear-worm'. Those of us that play the music in church suffer this and it's related condition called 'post-concert syndrome', the inability to get rid of the songs you were practicing all last week.

      Fortunately it is not a terminal condition...... unless you start believing the lyrics (this is the air I breathe, et al).

      ReplyDelete
      Replies
      1. "Ear worm". Hm, you learn something new every day! Thanks for solving that mystery, Randy!

        And thanks a lot for putting 'This is the Air I Breathe' into my head. Wow, that song would have been a far better example of bad worship music than the one I chose.

        Delete
    4. The main issue with that song is it's needlessly repetitive. Perhaps could be less about relying on our own strength and trusting in God's strength. Hey, it beats "strength will rise". And sorry for putting that in your head instead.

      ReplyDelete
    5. "No matter what I did, it kept popping back into my head (by now you may have noticed that I easily get annoying songs stuck in my head—is there a name for this condition?"

      Yes. Your-tithe-is-not-current-itis.

      ReplyDelete
      Replies
      1. LOL, thanks for the diagnosis, Anonymous.

        Delete
    6. FYI: the satanist story has been exposed as a hoax:
      http://newsbusters.org/blogs/ken-shepherd/2013/01/18/msnbcs-bashir-duped-faux-satanists-rick-scott-publicity-stunt

      ReplyDelete
      Replies
      1. Good catch. I've updated the post accordingly. Thanks, mwhenry!

        Delete
    7. Ebenz - If people have a *lot* of time to waste and are willing to read subtitles 'LesMiserables' - bonus NO singing, the actual story- the whole film is available via youtube. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LcBQtqxFEvI

      And you're right about the ''works righteousness'' throughout the film. The main character undergoes an inspiring moral transformation (pleasing even to an atheist), but not a spiritual one.

      ReplyDelete
    8. I think the most annoying part of the whole song is saying "I will". I have to ask when? When will we ever get around to actually worshiping the Lord?

      ReplyDelete
    9. As much as I despise so much of the contemporary narcissistic songs, and am know for my severe criticism of them, I have to disagree with not only Erin, but also some of the comments above. This song (as much as I find it to be repetitious and droll) does not fall into the "all about me" category.

      All this song is, is a statement of what a person thinks about God, and that the person will seek God, worship God, praise God, etc. I'd say that while it isn't a poetic, it really isn't any differnt from what David says in Psalm 119 (and for Linda, read how often David says he "will"):
      "I will praise you with an upright heart...
      "I will obey your decrees...
      "I seek you with all my heart...
      "I have hidden your word in my heart...
      "I rejoice in following your statutes...
      "I meditate on your precepts...
      "I delight in your decrees, I will not neglect your word...
      "I will speak of your statutes before kings...
      "I lift up my hands to your commands...
      "I will hasten and not delay to obey your commands...
      "I will never forget your precepts...

      I could go on, but I hope you get the point.

      He also says "My" quite often in this Psalm, e.g., "My soul faints with longing for your salvation.

      I guess David was all about himslef?

      ReplyDelete
      Replies
      1. I hear you, Glenn. And I agree with your point. Perhaps my opinion of this song also is influenced by personal experience, and by the environments in which I've heard it sung. I may also be negatively influenced by the fact that this song is still stuck in my head today, and I find it's tune extremely annoying. :)

        The song offers great proclamations which every Christian should strive to carry out (and of course, we will fail!), yet I fear that many professing Christians who sing it walk away with a sense of their great deeds toward God, and very little understanding of why He is worthy to receive such praise and honor. I would like this song much better if it offered a more balanced view of these two things. I think we can agree that Psalm 119, which you reference above, offers just such a balance.

        Delete
      2. Erin, you need to mellow out with some soft classical music. No words just music as your spoonful of medicine...

        here why not listen to this song from Schindler's List-http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=iPRkZxlBAqI


        Btw-Youngest Survivor on Schindler's List Died at 83 the other day

        Delete
    10. Erin, have you ever seen this video? It's about the "Me Church". "Where it's all about YOU". It's hilarious!

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

      -carolyn

      ReplyDelete

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