Archive for May 10th, 2007

“In most places of the world, church-planters no longer follow the nineteenth-century practice of providing new converts western-imported hymn and chorus tunes with locally translated texts.  Despite relentless urbanization, the desire to track and connect with one’s ethnic roots, including indigenous melodies, rhythms, and instruments has grown enormously.  In recent decades, missions research has enabled the church to recognize this desire, which has naturally increased church and missionary interest in the culture, art, and music of people groups they want to serve…one Wycliffe Bible translator jumped to his feet and said ‘Here’s the experience of Wycliffe in two quick sentences.  In areas where translators encourage new believers to sing newly translated Scriptures, the churches grew rapidly.  Where that did not happen, churches grew more slowly.’”


This is an excerpt from the prelude of book All the World is Singing by Frank Fortunato as reproduced in the most recent edition of Missions Frontiers – a publication of the U. S. Center for World Missions.

It’s fitting I received this just today given the ongoing musical storm at Slice 2.0.  The basic thrust of their belief is that certain styles of music are befitting a monarch (i.e. God) and certain styles are not.  This ethnocentrism is troubling enough, but what started the storm was a declaration that those producing said inappropriate music were carnal and fleshly.  It’s one thing to dislike a musical style, it’s quite another to declare it carnal.

The truth behind the quote above is that music is to be judged as to whether it’s worthy of a worship or not.  But the criteria are not some style based external comfort value ascribed by outsiders, the judgment is content driven.

Thankfully, all across the world missionaries are realizing that their “job” is to import the Gospel into a culture, not Western Civilization – and this is finally reaching the area of worship.  Ethnomusicology is becoming a significant tool in church-planting, following the Bible translators to teach new converts how to write worship songs in their own musical styles.

This substance over style is a wonderful advancement in missiology – here’s hoping it catches on at home among the neo-fundamentalists as well.


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Yes, but can watchdawggies go out for the cheerleading squad?Over the years, I’ve noticed an attitude of sorts developed by some – not all – home schoolers, and similar numbers of folks who send their kids to “Christian” Schools [What makes a school "Christian"? - to reference Neil's discussion on the usage and mis-usage of this word], as it applies to those Christians who choose to send their children to public schools.  This attitude popped its rather ugly head up again in one of Ingrid’s recent rants against the Evangelical churches in America.

More than one hundred and fifty years after their Catholic and Lutheran counterparts had begun building Christian schools in America, Southern Baptists just managed a couple of weeks ago to issue a resolution officially calling on Southern Baptist churches to start developing some Christian schools in those multi-million dollar church buildings.

Last year, Tim Challies got pounded on by the fundamentalist God-blogosphere for his articles on “Why I Do Not Homeschool” (part 1 and part 2), and more and more of the “TR” crowd seem to create a pile-on when other Christians don’t tow their line on schooling.  Personally, I find this attitude of “what I chose to do for my kids is the only right thing” to be rather arrogant and repulsive.  The choice of where and how to school is a very personal one, and many couples – taking the same scriptures and counsel into account – choose different avenues for educating their children.  There is no “right” choice in schooling, and any one of the choices might be the “right” or “wrong” one, depending on the child.

Let’s give each other a break.

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