Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Better to Receive

Opening the proverbial can of worms, author Ken Myers addresses the invasion of popular culture on the liturgy of the church on pg 99, of Chapter Six in All God's Children & Blue Suede Shoes.

Oh, no!

Here not only do we go a meddlin' but we've flat out stepped on peoples toes... hard! The particular example concerns whether a particular song sung solo during worship was true, lovely, noble, or admirable.

Surely you can recall such an incident.

Acutally I thought we might avoid this type of controversy when the basis for the chapter was the analysis of C S Lewis's 1961 essay An Experiment in Criticism (mainly addressing books and reading), but Myers rightly extrapolates the argument into the church. I mean how can we ignore the Author of the reality to be grasped. So, even though Myers adeptly explains the factors Lewis proposed for evaluating books, music, art, etc, they can also be used within the sanctuary. In fact, it's a really good way to decide how and what to read, listen to, or regard.

But that issue of subjectivism has raised its ugly head. Never mind the opinion of the worship committee! Those are matters of taste; or "One man's kitsch is another man's art.*

And propriety?

How dare I suggest that such was not appropriate!

Why, I'm the one accused of rudeness for even pointing that out. Read Lynn Truss.

Yup. That's the triumph of the pervasiveness of popular culture, all those preconceived notions about what is proper, what is good, what is bad - they're now null and void.

Furthermore, that social egotism which runs rampant with this type of thinking?

That is exactly what is totally offensive to me. And I think God is offended ... first! Rightly spoken, I am offended for Him, for His Honor, for His Name. I am called to defend Him.

One of the ways I can do that is to be a *docent of glory* Here's a link to what I'm talking about. It also contains a reference to T M Moore's thought provoking article Can I Get a Witness.

But I'm digressing.

Our culture is sick on a number of fronts: high, low, folk, or popular. Take your pick. That is not to say every one or all persons involved are. Just generally speaking :)

Myers implies that it's a reflection of our spiritual health. I agree.

It probably starts with what we're reading.

Learn more about it at DominionFamily where our online book club discussion is taking place.

Update: 1/30/09 entry at my Xanga site addressing paintings in particular.


  1. My church isn't even "high church" but our Communion "bread" tastes terrible as well. With that said, I just can't afford to serve four-course feasts in the hopes that my children will understand the Marriage Supper. More likely, I'll hand them a copy of the short story Babette's Feast when they are older and hope they get the significance. :)

  2. "sick on a number of fronts: high, low, folk, or popular. Take your pick." Oh, I love the way you said that! I'm still digesting Richard Weaver's book, and as you know he diagnoses our "sicknesses" on a number of fronts as well. He mentions the religious aspect, but Myers is bold to hit it head on.

  3. Myers said a hopeful thing.... *A very sick person can be a very holy person, but generally it would be better if he weren't sick.*

    Health gives more opportunity for service - that's my mandate :)