For judgment I have come into this world, so that the blind will see and those who see will become blind (John 9:39)
Why does God allow bad things to happen to good people? This is one of those fundamental questions we all have, and indeed why some skeptics have yet to place faith in Jesus. A simple, powerful doubt about God and the nature of the universe: “If God is good, why does suffering exist?”
This fall I started a discipleship cohort at Church of the Cross, Boston. The group is designed to help us to engage with key issues in our world through the study of both Biblical and non-Biblical texts. The 14 of us will meet monthly to discuss and debate issues such as Politics, authority of scripture, absolutism (is there only one true religion?), Sexuality and Gender, and more. Fun!
This month we are reading Amos, a book that this worship leader has very mixed feelings about.
Thanks to Jeremie Begbie in his book “Resounding Truth: Christian Wisdom in the World of Music” for revealing this to me:
How shall we sing the LORD’s song in a strange land?
– Psalm 137:4 KJV
He relates the verse to the power of music that empowers émigré communities to overcome cultural repression by holding their musical heritage close. While undoubtedly true (spirituals amidst slavery, national anthems amidst apartheid), I read it as a more general cry of longing for christians to return home. The reason music is so frequently debated in church communities is in (hopefully) honest pursuit of the answer to this question. How shall we sing? With gregorian chant? Hymnody? Christian rock? Is Rick Warren right when saying “God loves all kinds of music because he invented it all…if it is offered to God in spirit and truth, it is an act of worship.”
Begbie believes that Warren’s perspective implies that if all worship-full music is embedded with God-given integrity, it renders depth, quality (and I’ll add to that list, beauty) irrelevant to worship. I hope not!