Re: You Guys Are Too Much: Being Distracted By a Solo
|November 18 2010, 8:49 PM |
You stated, "I am not advocating that the solo itself or that "rhythmic clapping for the Lord" [a.k.a. "rehearsed, programmed joy"] while singing is wrong or sinful."
You also admit, "Is the solo itself a sin? I don't think so."
You seem to be considerably more open-minded than the average C of C "conservative". (I am worried you are leaving the old paths - just kidding.) Seriously, these admissions bring up some very good points for discussion. Your response about the solo is very thoughtful, substantive and analytical of the decisions made for the worship time at Madison.
Here are a few of my thoughts... (do whatever you want with the "..." on that other thread Brother Crump - I say this affectionately bro. I guess iron can sharpen iron in matters of grammar too.)
1. There are people in my extended family who would/have been distracted/offended by singing during the Lord's Supper and it was congregational. Knowing them, they probably would have croaked if it were a solo of a woman so thankfully it was not. My point is that I think you have a point on this one to a degree. Sometimes we can try to do "too much" in worship prep. that we overplan AND never allow for moments of silence. We think there must constantly be "fillers". Having said this, they probably had good intentions and arrived at the decision based on conversations about how "it's always the same" or whatever and since it was one time it obviously isn't the end of the world (and I know you aren't saying or acting like it is).
2. More importantly is the fact that you claim this to be a matter of dispute (opinion, preference). I am glad to hear you say this as this has significant ramifications. This means that it is a matter NOT worth dividing over.
3. What I would like to hear is how you arrive(d) at the conclusion that it is not sin, depending on the context and whether people are offended, it becomes a performance, etc. Secondly, how do you distinguish that this IS NOT a sin if there isn't a "clear example" in the N.T. for it AND YET would say that instrumental music IS in the opposite category of sin?
Re: You Guys Are Too Much: Being Distracted By a Solo
|November 22 2010, 4:16 AM |
It would be misleading for you to re-state (quote) my assertions regarding the solo and rhythmic handclapping without mentioning and emphasizing the qualifying statements I made.
1.101, I sing hymns when I am alone. That's a solo, and it is between me alone and my Creator. It is not wrong. And since I am not affecting anyone else's worship -- by being distracting, offensive, and controversial -- it is not sinful.
In Madison's case, we already know that the emergence of the "Praise Team" (a.k.a. the "progressive" Church of Christ CHOIR) concept being incorporated into the "worship service" was a major factor in the church's split not only among the elders but also in the membership. Although we're not currently discussing the "Praise Team" controversy, I am bringing it up because it is from the Praise Team that a woman is chosen to render the solo. "And upon the first day of the week, when the disciples came together to break bread, Paul preached unto them, ready to depart on the morrow; and continued his speech until midnight" (Acts 20:7). I cannot imagine anyone, a female soprano singer from Paul's "Praise Team," singing a solo to Paul and the disciples, while partaking of the bread and fruit of the vine. (Sonny, your extended family's reaction to that event would best illustrate it all.)
Could something worse have happened at Madison at the time of the havoc in 2001 had both the Praise Team and the solo renditioning been implemented at the same time?
It is unfortunate that the prevailing thought to some Christians, especially among the young people, is that praising God has more impact on their spiritual lives by singing in/with the crowd than private prayer does. It is as if one is not really praising God in and through prayer, but that somehow singing singy-clappy-clappy-fast-tempo "praise music" is the real praise. And the young people have learned from their mentors something about the modern-day "Charismatic" form of gathering for "praise" as the real kind of praise. They can hardly wait to be in the crowd before they can "praise" en masse [and be "entertained" and "feel good"], although the good feeling dissipates quickly afterwards.
Do we realize that in "contemporary worship," both the men and the WOMEN members of the "Praise Team" are also "Worship Leaders"? So, there it is -- another issue regarding women leadership. Yeah, right, the women worship leaders are only singing,
So, when a solo is a distraction, is it sinful? Who is sinning? Is it the soloist? Is it the one who is distracted? Is it the entire congregation sinning? Is there such a thing as "congregational sinning" when "congregational singing" does not exist when the soloist sings? And when the soloist sings, the congregation shuts up to listen, correct? Is there any need for a solo performance during the Lord's Supper? If solo is unnecessary, and divisive as well, why render a solo?
1.102. With regard to "rhythmic clapping," I really have difficulty seeing it as being uncontrived, spontaneous, unrehearsed. That's why I refer to "rhythmic clapping" as being programmed, rehearsed, feigned, "manufactured," thus, the RHYTHMIC, PROGRAMMED JOY. Some of the young people get carried away with the rhythmic clapping with each musical beat. They're so skilled at making that very loud and quick popping sound effect that would probably scare the daylights out of a 95-year old widow congregant. Can one not express heartfelt joy without the sound effect? If a congregant is distracted or offended, who's wrong about it or who's sinning? Is it the loud noise-maker or is the congregant who is easily offended and distracted?
1. I almost always forget to mention that the "Praise and Worship Department" has the tendency in "worship planning" to do "too much" in "worship preparation." [Thanks for bringing this up.] As the saying goes, "I don't know about that." The Praise Team REHEARSES its worship beforehand, so that excellent "performance" can be achieved at "the proper time." LOL when you mentioned "fillers." It reminds me of many Pentecostal preachers who use "Hallelujah! Praise the Lord" as their "frequent fillers" when they experience memory lapses in sermon delivery, even in their Charismatic musical worship. I might add that it is more likely the decision of the "Worship Leader" and his/her staff to be creative and less boring in worship activities -- the elders just go with the flow.
2. Yes, it is a matter of dispute, but it is much more serious than just being a matter of opinion or preference. My own opinion or preference cannot be imposed on others. The other congregants must be taken into consideration. Loud, rhythmic handclapping is a normal activity in Pentecostal/Charismatic Churches. The solo or choir is an integral part of the Baptist Church worship. In churches of Christ, why acquire and apply a denominational practice that is unnecessary and controversial and divisive?
3. With tegard to when an activity is wrong or becomes sinful, I think we should differentiate "wrong" from "sinful." Sinful is always wrong. I can be wrong (as in making a wrong decision) without sinning. I believe that I have already explained as to how I have arrived at the conclusion of the wrongness or sinfulness of an activity when I used the following words or expressions: performance-driven, offensive, distracting, unnecessary, controversial, divisive.
And as to your second question pertaining to instrumental music, all of the above words or expressions (performance-driven, offensive, distracting, unnecessary, controversial, divisive) are applicable, PLUS:
Instruments of music in the Old Testament had their own uses (during battles, travel, calls to assembly). While both "men of God" (Aaron, David king of Israel, et al) and pagans (Nebuchadnezzar, et al) made executive decisions to use them in worship, there was not a single commandment or directive from God Himself.
We would know it if God commanded us to do something. Neither is there is directive or a commandment from God to use inanimate, lifeless musical devices and objects in the assembly of NT saints. The Roman Catholic Church or the papacy invented the choir and instrumental music to use in the Mass. Many Protestant denomination founders and leaders were opposed to IM. The New Testament hardly mentions "music," much less "instrumental music." It's about letting "the word of Christ dwell in you richly"; speaking to YOURSELVES [implies an ASSEMBLY] ...; teaching and admonishing ONE ANOTHER [implies an ASSEMBLY] in ... songs.
The key point is about teaching and admonishing one another in the gathering which is accomplished by either speaking or reciting by singing words. There is not the slightest hint of using mechanical music to teach and admonish one another. If musical instruments can do the job of teaching and admonishing one another with the word of Christ, then, go for it.