19 August 2008

processing: reaching out without dumbing down- marva dawn

finished this book just in time for classes to start (which will hereby abolish any opportunity for a nice leisurely pleasure read anytime between now and maybe christmas but probably summer)
i enjoy marva, we are not cut from the same cloth per se but she challenges me and some of my preconceptions. i would specifically, and probably will, recommend this book in the future of my ministry to any music minister i come in close contact with. not because i ascribe to all of the conclusions she comes to but because i found it provocative and stretching to consider the angles of someone from a purely liturgical background with unabashed biases towards organ music and more traditional forms of worship. she arrives at these angles by much consideration (along with her own preconceptions and baggage and childhood memories, etc). i would suggest this book because i think it is important regardless of your style, denominational affiliations, age, or other tendencies, comforts or biases to think, dialog, andabove all hold God as the subject and object of our worship. Here are a few quotes that got underlined and dog-eared in my reading...

"Unloving truth is not true, nor is untruthful marketing love at all." pg60

"I hope that churches will continually utilize fresh words and music to praise God, but it worries me that so many new compositions dumb down our perception, knowledge, and adoration of God. A principal cause of such dumbing down is the contemporary confusion of praise with "happiness." Some worship planners and participants think that to praise God is simply to sing upbeat music; consequently many songs that are called "praise" actually describe the feelings of the believer rather than the character of God." pg87

"We need worship deep enough to change us, strong enough to kill our self-absorption, aew-full enough to shatter the little boxes into which we try to fit God, and thorough enough to address the world's needs because God is already at work to meet them." pg126

"We will need great boldness to sing and preach faith in a post-Christian society. Our worship and education must nurture in us the courage to sing of hope and love in a world short on both." pg159

"Many church marketers suggest that high art drives people away from the Church, but what about all the artists and others who appreciate good music who are driven away by the Church's toleration of mediocre music or art?" pg194

She borrows a criteria from Walter Brueggeman for our worship...
"Brueggeman inisists that the gospel must be both proclaimed and heard as:
  • intellectually credible in an unreflective society;
  • politically critical and constructive in a cynical society;
  • morally dense and freighted in a self-indulgent society;
  • artistically satisfying in a society overwhelmed by religious kitsch; and
  • pastorally attentive in a society of easy but fake answers"

1 comment:

Paul S. said...

I think i'm gonna get my hands on it. I think I mentioned it to you before, but "Unceasing worship" by Harold Best is a great read on the same subject. thanks for the post.