Try as I might, it's hard not to be a teacher. So, with apologies for giving way to the
pedantic, I'd like to help explain a perplexing phrase used by many churches in one of the
oldest praise songs still is wide use today.
While some evangelicals may not know it, a large number of
believers regularly sing a doxology called the Gloria Patri:
Over the next several months I will be involved in conversations with several local worship leaders (whether called worship pastors or ministers or whatever). A part of the conversation will be to dialogue about our worship needs. Is the worship they lead on Sundays enough? If they were able to go to a worship service they had not planned as nothing other than one of the worshipers, what kinds of things would they hope to find in that service?
Amanda was pretty excited to find out her husband, Jack, was
reading the new bestselling book in marriage enrichment, A Praise Centered Marriage.
It wasn't that their relationship was bad or anything. It just wasn't always as good as Amanda had
hoped it would be.
Her hopes seemed to all come true when, that next Tuesday evening, Jack looked
at her across the dinner table and said, "You are wonderful. You are simply the best. I love everything about you. You fill my life
What more could a woman want out of a marriage? At least, that's what Amanda thought six
months ago when the process started that would eventually ruin their marriage.
some ancient creature that does not know it
is long extinct, the typewriter plods along.
the cutting edge of technology, the
MacBook Pro of
some past age, it stands now only as a
a relic of forgotten years.
Yet, when animated by human flesh and muscle,
keys still miraculously snap shapes on to blank pages -
Preserving thought and idea for some future mind not
yet born to read and ponder.
All the trinkets of the now, with their bright
mise of a better world, have not deepened the mind or
made tender the human heart… although
now our rage
and violence can be communicated at light speed to
thousands of others who live vicariously
But still, somewhere, hands guide ink over
push keys that force metal forms over inky ribbons. Words,
at times, need to be slowed . . . backspaced . . .
corrected . . . easing out in a trickle,
not a flood.
Slow us down, O
Lord. To write and read and live deeply
may be better than to live quickly. Too
many words may
be worse than none at all.
May the value of words not be measured by
by their depth.
The small speaker crackled with static, and then they heard it. “Les sanglots longs des violons de l'automne blessent mon coeur D'une langueur Monotone.” The poem by Paul Verlaine was well known. Many listening had learned it in childhood. The melancholy words spoke of the long slow weeping of autumn’s violins.
This time the words held sensus plenior (fuller meaning). This time they were announcing, somewhere out there in the darkness, ships were plowing their way through the waters of the English Channel – among them a thousand Higgins boats – the landing craft that would bring soldiers of the Allied Expeditionary Force onto the beaches of Normandy, beginning the liberation of France.
Around the year 1900, Plymouth Brethren missionary Dan Crawford asked a Congolese woman why she got up and started dancing in church, "Oh! it is only the praise getting out at the toes."
Dancing is a form of art that you do. And I mean that in an absolute sense. You dance. You become the art. It is not something you do to someone or something else. People can play a piano, beat a drum, paint a canvas, lead a choir, carve a statue, or write a praise song. But, for people to dance you do not have to have a piano or a drum or a canvas or pen and paper. You just need willing and able to move your own body.
A man once mistook me for a hooker. I know what you're thinking. No, I was not dressed in drag and I was as surprised and ultimately pretty offended by the mistake. Perhaps more surprisingly, it all happened over the telephone.
There I was, peacefully sitting in my office grading exams when the phone rang. The man introduced himself. He was an elder at a rather large and very well-known church. The conversation began with small talk but quickly got around to the exchange of money for services.
They weren't a disappointing church at first. They were once
welcoming, warm, loving, spiritual, worshipful, and generally fun to be around.
That was then. This is now. Now they are a disappointing church. I've had time
for a good long look behind the scenes, and some of what's there just isn't
"Lord, listen, if you won't make me skinny, then just make all my friends fatter than me."
We see ourselves through the lens of relativity. Relatively speaking, we are people of faith. Relatively speaking, we are active in church. Relatively speaking, we like to study the Bible. Relatively speaking, we are pretty much the kind of Christian that the Christian people around us pretty much think is the kind of Christian a Christian person pretty much ought to be.