Thank You to Jim at Old Truth

Jim Bublitz at Old Truth is signing off.  His health has declined to the point that he can no longer blog.  If you have not read Old Truth, spend some time there.  Jim has left volumes of wisdom for us.  He will be sorely missed and we hope that he will be able to come back.

Thank You Jim, for all you have given us.

Yours was the first good Christian blog I found after struggling in and freeing myself from a ‘church growth’ church.  You made me realize that I was not crazy, and that something really was wrong and you inspired me to start writing about it.

I am the mother of a child with autism, and have come to understand the horrible wonderful struggle of living with a disabling illness, though not my own, and while I hate that it has taking you from writing, I am selfishly grateful to God for the burden He has placed on you.  The fruit that it has born in your life fed me when I was starving.  And I hope that I can one day I will be mature enough emulate the grace that you have shown while carrying your burden.

While you will not be able to share your  insights with us now, God himself is still your ‘audience’.  There is a quote from Hinds Feet on High Places that has meant the world to me in the times that I have suffered and remained faithful to Him when I was alone:

“Much-Afraid looked at the Shepherd. “Sometimes I have wondered about the wild flowers,” she said. “It seems strange that they should grow in places like this where the goats and cattle walk all over them. They have so much beauty and sweetness to give, and hardly anyone sees them.”

The look the Shepherd turned on her was very beautiful. “Nothing My Father and I have made is ever wasted,” He said quietly, “and the wild flowers have a wonderful lesson to teach. Many people live a quiet, ordinary life. Hardly anyone even knows about them, but inside their hearts it is like a delightful garden where the King Himself walks and rejoices. Some of My servants have won great respect from other people and are famous, but always their greatest victories are like the wild flowers, those which no one knows about. Learn this lesson now, down here in the Valley, Much-Afraid, and when you get to the steep places of the mountains it will comfort you.”

I know that this cannot be a happy time for you, but I truly pray that it is a rich time for you.  That God discloses more and more of Himself to you with an increasingly profound intimacy.

And I hope that you get some rest.

Ginger Taylor

The Happy Clappy Church

The White Horse Inn is offering some of the best discussions out there on what is going on in the American Church today. This year they have been discussing the Christless Christianity and the Church as Entertainment phenomenons that has taken hold in our current mega church mentality. Get their podcast to hear some good observations on what we are doing wrong in the church and bringing things back around to what Scripture actually tells us to do.

This is a podcast from last December about the Happy Clappy Worship in the church that has little tolerance for grief, brokenness over sin, the fruits of injustice or real hardship.

“In this day and age people are so ill equipped to face suffering and death and sickness and trouble and tragedy, precisely because over the years the soil in which they been nurtured is so thin that they have not been prepared for what they are about to face.”

They talk about the psalms and the ‘blue note’ that entertainment driven, ‘be happy all the time’ churches just don’t know what to do with.

One of the most cogent points is made in a radio interview by Bono contained in this podcast in which he makes the point that “God is only interested in Truth” and observes how little truth exists in Christian music now. While one attached article notes that we are unclear on what Bono’s orthodoxy is, growing up in Ireland, he certainly has the perspective to see that addressing true suffering is pretty vital for the church to do, and that you can’t BS God.

Happy Clappy Worship

December 30, 2007

Happy Clappy Worship

Contemporary Christian worship is almost exclusively upbeat and “happy-clappy.” But is this the type of worship that is pictured for us in the book of Psalms?

RELATED ARTICLES

Singing the Blues with Jesus, Michael Horton

The Bible & The Blues, by U2’s Bono

RECOMMENDED BOOKS

A Better Way, by Michael Horton

Too Good To Be True, by Michael Horton

MUSIC SELECTION

Artist: Matthew Perryman Jones; Song: “Psalm 73”

Album: Indelible Grace II: Pilgrim Days
COMMENTARY
Happy-Clappy Worship

Hello and welcome back to the White Horse Inn today. Are churches too happy-clappy? Is the happy-clappy attitude the right fit for church? Think about the Psalms. The Psalter, the songbook, the hymnal of the church down through the ages and you have the whole range of emotions expressed there. Do we have that range of emotions expressed in the church today? What happens when one is suffering, and is forced to sit through a worship celebration, or as we talked about in the last program, a funeral that no longer can be a funeral anymore because Christians have been told that because we don’t mourn as those that don’t have no hope, we don’t mourn at all. Let’s just turn the funeral into another opportunity to just praise the Lord and celebrate. Times of tragedy, times of difficulty when they strike really to the degree that they are debilitating, to that degree you need to have a faith that can withstand it. And a lot of times what we find is that in this day and age people are so ill-equipped to face suffering, and death and sickness and trouble and tragedy precisely because over the years the soil in which they have been nurtured is so thin that they have not been prepared for what they are about to face.

In this program we will be looking at the psalms. We will be taking a look at some of the themes that we find there, that not only highlight the happy, bold, bright tones, but also give us that “blue note,” that broken note that is difficult to transpose on a sheet of paper, just as suffering is difficult to transpose and explain rationally. When we think about a good God and a God that is all powerful, but we live in brokenness, and that broken note in our music just has to be there to express the reality of our lives. Is our theology realistic? That is one of the things we are going to be talking about on this program. Is our church today so happy-clappy, so upbeat, that we don’t really face the music?

Confronting Sin in Yourself: Accepting Correction

Because Kathy responded so well to the last question in my previous post, “Are you ready to start loving correction?” I am posting the two chapters that follow on how to start accepting biblical correction. Have fun!

Wonder Women Accept Correction

If our goal is to be conformed to Christ, if we truly want to be Wonder Women, then we have to first decide that we want to change. Becoming a mature woman of God does not take place naturally. Our “nature” is to seek after ourselves. If we want to change, we have to actively decide to change and then oppose our selfish nature (in those moments when we are not filled with the Holy Spirit) when it tries to push us back into sin.

The place that we often see our selfish nature rear its ugly head is when we get corrected. Correction that comes at a time when we are connected to God and eager for his direction bears great fruit in our lives, but unfortunately many times it comes at a time when we are not prepared for it. When we are in the middle of worship time, the time when we are closest to God, filled with the Holy Spirit and the most teachable, is not always the time when people confront us with a problem. It often happens when times are stressful, and no one in the room is feeling or practicing God’s presence. We need to be ready to be teachable in these moments. To connect to Christ quickly in the moment so that we can have ears to hear His message for us. That is only achieved through a conscious decision to be teachable when you don’t want to be, and an act of the will to stop talking and listen when you ‘naturally’ want to defend yourself and shut down the criticism.

Key to this is the ability to pay attention to our own feelings in the midst of being confronted. Think back to a time when you were confronted and did not respond to it well. Undoubtedly you can remember the welling up and rush of emotions that immediately preceded your poor reaction. There is nothing wrong with those feelings, they occur quite naturally as a part of our biological fight or flight response and as a part of our sin nature. The trick is not to be ruled by them, but rather to use them as an indicator of just where we are. Recognize that your natural defenses are kicking in and CHOOSE to keep your mouth closed until they pass.

Here is a kind of physical visual to use. When the feelings start to rise up in your belly and start moving upward toward your mouth where they find their ‘natural’ release, stop them at your shoulders, send them down your arms and hand them to Christ. Physically open up your hands… ‘casting all your anxiety on Him, because He cares for you.” 1 Peter 5:7

This is an act of worship in the midst of the conflict and this allows His grace to enter in.

When we get to the place where we can drop our defenses and get out of fighting position when corrected, and actually look for the wisdom in what may be being offered to us, then we begin to become truly wise.

Isaiah 48:17-19

Thus says the Lord, your Redeemer, the Holy One of Israel, “I am the Lord your God, who teaches you to profit, who leads you in the way you should go.

“If only you had paid attention to My commandments! Then your well-being would have been like a river, and your righteousness like the waves of the sea.

“Your descendants would have been like the sand, and your offspring like its grains; Their name would never be cut off or destroyed from My presence.”

Israel would not accept correction from God or anyone else and because of it, their pride brought them down. Let us learn from this how dangerous our pride can be, and work to set it aside and accept correction.

Be careful to watch for the lies that we tell ourselves to defend against criticism. Scripture does not tell us to accept discipline only if the one offering it does it the way we like it, or does not have a big log in his own eye. Only that we accept the message if it is a biblical one. Because we are women who Search the Scriptures, we will know if the message is from God or not. If we are not sure, we will Search the Scriptures to find out.

Meditate on these verses. Remember them in the moment when correction comes in the form of an unkind attack so that even when correction is offered badly, you can still glean some wisdom from the message.

Proverbs 1:7-9

The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge, but fools despise wisdom and discipline.

Listen, my son, to your father’s instruction and do not forsake your mother’s teaching.

The will be a garland to grace your head and a chain to adorn your neck.

Turn to my reproof, behold, I will pour out my spirit on you; I will make my words known to you.

Proverbs 3:11-18

My son, do not reject the discipline of the Lord or loathe His reproof, for whom the Lord loves he reproves. Even as a father corrects the son in whom he delights.

How blessed is the man who finds wisdom and the man who gains understanding. For her profit is better than the profit of silver

And her gain better than fine gold. She is more precious than jewels’

And nothing you desire compares with her. Long life is in her right hand; In her left hand are riches and honor.

Her ways are pleasant ways and all her paths are peace.

She is a tree of life to those who take hold of her, and happy are all who hold her fast.

Proverbs 4:20-23

My son, give attention to my words; Incline your ear to my sayings.

Do not let them depart from your sight; Keep them in the midst of your heart.

For they are life to those who find them And health to all their body.

Watch over your heart with all diligence, For from it flow the spring of life.

Proverbs 13:18

Poverty and shame will come to him who neglects discipline, but he who regards reproof will be honored.

Proverbs 15:33

The fear of the Lord is instruction for wisdom, and before honor comes humility.

Proverbs 16:18

Pride goes before destruction and a haughty spirit before stumbling.

Proverbs 17:10

A rebuke goes deeper into one who has understanding, than a hundred blows into a fool.

Proverbs 21:23

“Proud”, “Haughty”, “Scoffer” are his names, who acts with insolent pride.

Proverbs 28:9

He who turns away his ear from listening to the law, even his prayer is an abomination.

Proverbs 28:13

He who conceals his transgressions will not prosper, but he who confesses and forsakes them will find compassion.

There is therefore now no condemnation
for those who are in Christ Jesus,
so what are you scared of?

Go on! Get corrected!

Its free training!

Wonder Women Think Critically

So you have decided to accept correction, good for you!

Now it is time to dig in and make sure it is biblical correction.

Lots of well meaning Christians offer lots of different advice. But unfortunately “well meaning” does not always equal “biblical”.

This is where our Searching the Scripture and Spotting the Lies comes in quite handy.

Once you have listened to the criticism that has been offered, spend some time going over it. Take notes if you need to and use it as your quiet time.

Then get alone with God and ask Him to show you if there is “any wicked way in you”. (Not to spoil the ending, but there usually is).

Start digging though scripture to see what God has to say about the matter. If the message that you got from your friend does not seem to be backed up by scripture, go back to them and ask them to offer you instruction from the bible on the lesson they believe you need to be working on. (Remember that many times people confront on what they don’t like rather than on what is actually sin. But if there is a confrontation going on, there is probably sin going on somewhere [possibly in your friend too], so go ahead and look everywhere).

This challenges both of you to dig into the word and find out what God really has really said. You both might find that you have been off about what is supposed to be going on in your lives and in this circumstance.

If it does take you both in a new direction, follow it and see where it goes. Find some good commentaries on the subject and get your lean on.

And if it turns out that even if you didn’t think they were right, they were, then don’t just stop at where they did, use it as a jumping off point to see where the character trait that sparked the criticism might be causing other problems in your life and see what idols you have that might be holding that poor character in place.

…and sacrifice that idol back to God.

It is not real any way and won’t last past this life. You don’t need it.