Saturday, February 04, 2012

Sleepers Awake!


Franz said...

I am baffled. How can a Lutheran pastor support and listen to music that is at odds with the church, and I don't mean the building?
The drummer says that her faith is fading. Well, when I listen to this stuff it makes my faith slip.
It seems you are not the only pastor that likes this. Even my own pastor thinks it is harmless. You don't see it as it really is, but a reflection of our rule-less and lawless society.
You wouldn't want it in church, but what is the difference? We are the church. If it is in your life, it is in the church. Either your life is wholly Christ"s or there is a split. On thing for the church another for my life.
Music is not a matter of taste. It reflects your belief system-your worldview.
Larry I am not surprized knowing that you don't understand that music is a carrier of philosophy. That is why Luther said pastors should be educated in music.
It shakes my faith, or it is a great way for someone like you, a pastor, to kill my faith.

Father Hollywood said...

Dear John:

There is a lot of music that I like that would be inappropriate for worship: marches, waltzes, opera, etc. Your objection isn't really clear. Is it the style of the music or the lyrics themselves? I don't have a problem with either. The members of this band are Christians, and there is a clear resurrection theme in the lyrics.

I don't expect them to quote the Smalcald Articles or be able to hold forth on the relative merits of various dogmaticians from the golden age of Lutheran orthodoxy - but I enjoy the tune. Christianity does indeed wake us up and quicken us. I think they got that right.

Luther himself enjoyed the popular music of his day, and just because a style of music is not appropriate for the sanctuary (and neither is jazz, bebop, country, rap, heavy metal, banjo, harmonica, whistling, the Jew's Harp, and many forms of classical music) doesn't mean it is sinful, evil, or faith-destroying when enjoyed outside the sanctuary.

This is how it is that liturgical purists like Rev. Fred Baue and Rev. President Matt Harrison can get together with a guitar and a banjo and really have a good time playing music that would not be appropriate for worship. Music is a gift of God - not only the music we sing in the liturgy. Unless there is something sinful or heretical in the lyrics of a song, I don't see how we can condemn music that we just don't like (and there is plenty of pop music that I personally dislike - but my not being God, I am not in a position to declare any form of music on its face to be good or evil).

I'm sure there were plenty of folks in the early 1700s who thought violin music would be the death of Christian civilization. You know, it can lead to dancing. ;-)

John, your faith is grounded in Christ and has been imbedded into you at baptism. Even if I were to abandon the Christian faith and preach rank heresy, I just don't have the power to kill your faith. And if listening to rock music makes your faith slip, I would advise you not to listen to it - in the same way that I would advise a person who might fall into sin by drinking a beer to not drink at all. Most people just don't fall into that category.

Peace in Christ!

Franz said...

I didn't say that it makes me fall into sin. And I don't care what the words say.
But the popular music of Luther's day, just the music, was based on the same rules as that of church music. This was the case down to WW I. The music of the 20's broke away from those norms. By that time even classical music was striving for rules away from rules of writing. By 1950, the year I was born, music took a turn in pop music that was anti everything. It was indicative of a philosophy of anti family, war, rules, manners, church, culture(in the sense of cultivating an understanding the arts), the use of the voice correctly morals above all things, etc.
By the way, there are marches for some hymns, waltzes, and even elements of the opera. You need to look closely at Bach. Most of his cantatas are little operas.
You need to look at the roots and beliefs of jazz, blues, rock, rap, etc. I have played all these types of musics including contemporary christian in the churches of Mississippi. As an orchestra member we played mostly pop music with a little light classical thrown in.
Music is a language which has all the elements of the philosophy of today. Music to Luther was the same in the church and world. There was no secular or sacred separation. Musicians, up to the time of Bach, wrote for the church and outside the church.
You say, you wouldn't say any music is good or evil. Does it follow there isn't any good or evil movies, books, art works, places, etc.
With all do respect, you sound like a moral relativist. When the church of the past considered many things good or evil. They in fact influenced society with works of art that brought about Western the culture of Civilization.
On your last stab at the violin, I think Bach would differ from you. Everybody danced until music of the 20's became a poke in the eye of anything decent. They shortened there dresses and bobbed their hair against the expressed will of parents. Today they do simulated sex dance, and believe me it was going at the dances I went to and, if I know human nature, they did it in the 20s. I guess dress cannot be considered good or evil. Especially today when woman and men show you everything, even in church.
I couldn't hear the tune for all the screaming and caterwauling, plus the loudness of the drums and guitars. If that is culture, then it is the culture of the savage race
of America. Just like my German ancestors, and every other race and their dancing around a fire, screaming to the beat of the drums and whatnot.
You show a general lack of European music history. Bach wrote lots of dances. It's just they weren't trying to express the bump and grind of the sexual act in music. The melody wasn't the only thing the listen to.
21st century man is the only creature can only distinguish the tune.

Father Hollywood said...

Okay, John, Thanks for writing! Your comments will stay here for folks to read and ponder.

Peace in Christ!

Dcn Latif Haki Gaba SSP said...

You say, "But the popular music of Luther's day, just the music, was based on the same rules as that of church music. This was the case down to WW I."

This is much too broad a brush with which you are portraying this history. This is absolutely not true, for example, of the symphonic music of the classical age, with, eg., its dramatic crescendos and decrescendos. Much of the music of that era was all about mood. And that is hardly fitting for churchly use.

There is a basic but often overlooked distinction between music designed to get a reaction from the emotive and physical dimensions of a man on the one hand, and music designed to let the mind and heart both participate without letting the emotive element overpower the experience. It is, to put it in Nietzschean terms, the difference between dionysian music and apollonian music. The former is man-centered, and can be of many, many styles, but is in no way suitable for churchly use. I have run out of time for today, must get to work, but it is a rich topic, and it would be good if it continues.

Dcn Latif Haki Gaba SSP said...

To build a bit more on what I wrote before: I see, John, that you are a musician, and so I don't intend anything I write as teaching you what you don't already know. I just think there are some factors that ought to enter into this discussion.

The so-called dionysian form of music is not sinful in and of itself, and I sense that here is one point on which we might disagree. How and for what purpose it is used, these are important questions.

Also, texts that contain spiritual questioning, or outright spiritual frustrations, or seem at face value to deny Gospel truth, these cannot be out of line per se for the Christian artist any more than the Psalms which contain a full range of the expression of the Christian spiritual experience in this world. There is more to ponder.

Dcn Latif Haki Gaba SSP said...

Now that I have a minute or two I must address more of the particulars of your argument. Eg., you say that rock music post-1950 was anti-everything. Are you being serious with us? Those are not the words of an informed argument, but of someone trying to sound like an old man. Though rock music has been employed in very sinister and naughty ways, I must say that as a musical art form it pays homage to much of what has gone before, to folk, blues, and down to music of the baroque era, so far from being anti-everything.

As another example, you say this: "Music to Luther was the same in the church and world. There was no secular or sacred separation."

Please rethink this claim. There is a qualitative difference between church music on the one hand (whether polyphonic or plainsong) and music fit for use in the world on the other hand (as the folk tunes sung in Luther's day. There is indeed a separation; Luther knew it and kept it. He wrote both types, and he never advocated any crossover use.

None of which means that the secular music is sinful in and of itself.