The Lutheran Satirist provides an answer:
Granted, the liberal social justice warriors were not the only ones to inherit the “take, don’t make” mentality. For the past several decades, conservative Christians adopted the parasitic approach, convincing themselves that overtaking secular nests and repurposing them in a “Christian” style was somehow more virtuous than actually making something new.
Having embraced the same mindset as many secular counterparts, Christian parents convinced themselves that creating their own unique faith-driven stories or storytelling genres, like Dante and Milton and Bunyan and Wallace and Lewis and Tolkien had done, would have been too much work and required capital and capabilities they didn’t have, so they churchified the Saturday morning cartoon nest by showing their kids videos of a talking cucumber lecturing them about honesty and fairness with a Bible verse or two thrown in at the end. They swapped out Batman episodes with the adventures of Bibleman and praised themselves for their faithfulness. They put the “Facing the Giants” DVD in the “Remember the Titans” case. They justified all of this thinking rebuilding secular nests with Christian garbage was best for their children.
Likewise, with regard to music, furthering the tradition of legendary Christian hymnists and composers like Paul Gerhardt and Johann Sebastian Bach would have required a skillset these modern Christians were neither taught nor willing to learn, and finding their own voice would have proven just as difficult.
But three chords and pop song structure were pretty easy to imitate, so when they saw their children listening to music that glorified premarital sex and drug use, they parasitically strapped on guitars, infested the pre-existing nest of secular music, and produced awful Christian rockers, embarrassing Christian rappers, and an endless array of Top-40-sounding Christian artists ranging from bad Belinda Carlisle knockoffs to somehow-worse-than-actual-Richard-Marx Richard Marx knockoffs.
The results, however, were disastrous—not just because, in seeking to make Christianity better, they only made rock and roll worse, but also because they rendered us, their children, incapable of knowing any better. Because they settled for secular copycats, they never exposed us to Christendom’s great music, literature, artwork, and architecture. Because of this, we’ve become a bunch of musically illiterate, artistically impoverished believers with no appreciation for beauty who are perfectly content to spend Sunday mornings singing terrible music in repurposed movie theaters or gymnasiums, aspiring to nothing more because it’s never even occurred to us that the Christian faith gives us the power to form culture instead of parodying it.
By trying to safely place us into those pre-built but repurposed nests, our parents only succeeded in obligating us to the parasitic tradition. We’re already passing down that tradition to our offspring, and until we learn to stop believing the lie that taking is greater than making, I fear we’ll never recover the ability to create.
I’ve (mmmmeeeeeEEEEE) been trying to make this point for twenty years. Still works.
29 thoughts on “Did P&W Make Straight the Way for BLM and LBGT?”
…but enough about the PCA…
This same parasitism is happening with Socially Conscious Evangelicals trying to create a Christian Safe Space within the BLM movement. Straining out the LGBTQ camel but swallowing the Racial Justice and Reconciliation gnat simply cannot be done. The sweet nectar of Social Justice will never be shared with Christians who wish to claim solidarity on racial issues but still draw the line on gay marriage and abortion – only the truly pure in heart are allowed to drink and no picking and choosing among the causes. Eat it all or leave the table at once.
Socially Conscious Christians are apparently too lazy to apply their own theological beliefs towards an understanding on race, crime, and policing issues and have decided instead to jump on the leftist secular BLM. Social Justice and Racial Reconciliation are now Gospel Demands. In due time a $15 Minimum Wage, Amnesty, and Rent Control will become Gospel Demands as well.
The dogs bark, but the caravan moves on.
“Make Straight the Way”
weelll, speaking of , hope, on this, we can agree….
a voice is still calling, “Clear the way for the LORD in the wilderness; make smooth in the desert a highway for our God; let every valley be lifted up, and every mountain and hill be made low; and let the rough ground become a plain, and the rugged terrain a broad valley;. all flesh is grass and grass withers, flowers fades, but the word of our God stands forever. The pathway is called the Highway of Holiness; the unclean will not travel on it, but it will be for him who walks that way, and fools will not wander on it. No lion will be there, nor will any vicious beast go up on it but the redeemed will walk there.
His word is a lamp to our feet and a light to my path. (Isa 40:3-8, 35:8-10; Psalm 119:105)
If that smooth pathway point has been trying to be made here for twenty years, don’t think I’ve heard it.
David Van Drunen —“We would do well, I believe to discard familiar mantras about transformation and especially redemption. Nowhere does Scripture call us to such a grandiose task. They are human dreams rather than God-give obligations.” p. 171 https://contrast2.wordpress.com/2016/06/26/two-kingdoms-debate-tuininga-v-boot-analysis
“impoverished believers with no appreciation for beauty”
and then another point for mutual agreement..
what we though before:He has no stately form or majesty that we should look upon Him, nor appearance that we should be attracted to Him. He was despised and forsaken of men, a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief; and like one from whom men hide their face He was despised, and we did not esteem Him. (Isa 53:2-3)
but, now, having been given eyes to see…..the King in His beauty (Isa 33:17)
and, so as not to be inclined to return to true beauty-impoverishment (for all the gods of the peoples are idols, but the LORD made the heavens;splendor and majesty are before Him, strength and beauty are in His sanctuary Ps 96:5-6)….one thing I ask from the LORD, that I shall seek: that I may dwell in the house of the LORD all the days of my life, (even Sunday) to behold the beauty of the LORD And to meditate in His temple. Ps 27:4
(and sing along every day, even Sunday)…
Ascribe to the LORD, O families of the peoples,
Ascribe to the LORD glory and strength.
Ascribe to the LORD the glory of His name;
Bring an offering and come into His courts.Worship the LORD in holy attire;
Tremble before Him, all the earth.
Say among the nations, “The LORD reigns;
Indeed, the world is firmly established, it will not be moved;
He will judge the peoples with equity.”
Let the heavens be glad, and let the earth rejoice;
Let the sea roar, and all it contains;
Let the field exult, and all that is in it.
Then all the trees of the forest will sing for joy
Before the LORD, for He is coming,
For He is coming to judge the earth.
He will judge the world in righteousness
And the peoples in His faithfulness. Ps 96: 7-13
and another point of agreement re : beauty… the great beauty exchange 🙂
Ali, good example of Christian squatting in the R&B nest.
morning Zrim. I know we disagree on something about that (still not sure precisely what), but one thing I think we don’t disagree on, is that the Lord is also in whatever nest with His people.
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Ali, it’s a reference to what we call the Christian ghetto. So, some examples would be, a prior generation has developed the institution of the Boy Scouts. Well, some church people felt/feel that’s an inadequate expression of ‘boy culture’ and needs more ‘sanctification’, so they come up with the Awana clubs or other such ‘Christianized’ copies of common cultural engagements. In even more crass measures, I’ve seen Christian bowling lanes on mega church campuses or Christian gyms because Gold’s or the local area gym is too worldly. These end up being cheap substitutes and poor imitations of the originals. Thus, the claim to being parasitic and non-creative and less than excellent. The Christian music industry all the way down to the dove awards(I think that’s what they call it) is just one big parody skit on SNL. I don’t expect you to embrace any of these criticisms but I don’t want you to be ignorant of what’s being maligned.
Sean – maybe I’m missing the point, too, but it seems like what Fiene is referring to is the tendency of evangelicals to mimic the culture around them – not so much trying to sprinkle a blessing over all that might otherwise be considered corrupt and disdainful. And he says that they do so because they are too lazy to work hard at creating new things and instead just copy existing junk and place a halo around it. Hence, they dumb down and in a sense, pervert, the hard work that previous generations put into composing music, etc. Worse yet, in the process of doing so they bring the worst of what the world calls “artistry” into the confines of what might otherwise be considered sacred thinking that it will have a pied piper effect on those “seekers” floating around in or near the abyss of depraved contemporary culture.
George, I think he’s saying both. I’m a big believer in talent(granting it’s all imago dei). But whether true/creative Christian endeavor inevitably turns out a better product to like but not self-consciously Soli Deo Gloria motivated talent, I’m not sure I buy that.
aw zrim. funny. I’m gonna believe you believe that representation when you no longer bombast some as ‘slathering on pious grease’ ,who also think the point is JESUS.
Gotta go for now zrim and sean. In the meantime, even this very day, by the mercies of God, present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice acceptable to God, and whether you eat, drink, whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.
Anyway too, still speaking of nests, when a mustard seed is sown upon the soil, it grows up and becomes larger than all the garden plants and forms large branches so that the birds of the air can nest under its shade. Even a swallow finds a nest near His altar and how blessed are those who dwell in His house. They are ever praising Him.Selah.
Sometime back in the 80’s I had a very musically gifted young lady in a 7th grade Sunday school class I was subbing. Once Sunday morning she came into the classroom singing a popular ballad from the 40’s and I applauded her performance and told her that I liked the fact that she had appreciation for some of the material written and composed from that era of great broadway shows and musicals. She said, “Yeah, back then you had to have talent to make it.” Says it all.
It doesn’t take a lot of talent to strum a few chords on an electrically amplified instrument played at such a high volume that you can hardly hear yourself think, let alone any mistakes he might be making. It’s just noise (and not a joyful one). OTOH, one can greatly appreciate the great talent and tremendous amount of hard work and practicing that goes into a performance by someone sitting at a pipe organ, or in a string ensemble, or in a well rehearsed choir. I don’t know about this “self-consciously Soli Deo Gloria motivated” stuff, though.
GeorgeCam, but this raises a question I have when reading Fiene’s piece. Is it a problem only when squatting in low brow pop culture nests but not when squatting in high brow raised pinky culture nests? Is it really any better Christian practice to have on staff a highly paid pipe organist than electric geetarist? Doesn’t Reformed according to Scripture resist both?
And it can’t really be a question of talent because there’s plenty of talent involved in low culture–only snoots mark low culture down as being devoid of talent. Lesser cultural value doesn’t necessarily always entail lesser talent. Eddie Van Halen and Angus Young are classically trained.
Ali, mmmm, mustard. I’m ready for lunch!
Zrim – I hear you. Some of my favorite music is from the rock/blues rock/Southern blues era that includes groups like the Allman Brothers, Lynyrd Skynyrd, King Crimson, McDonald & Giles, including some featured artists like Duane Allman, Jimi Hendrix, Eric Clayton, etc. But all of these groups and people were very talented and original in their works and compositions.
What I’m hearing from Fiene is that much of what goes into this contemporary stuff is anything BUT original (or talented) and is little more than copy-cat drivel, echoing the worst of punk rock, hip-hop and very low-brow “music” (and I use that word loosely). And you’re right, I know a lot of people who insist on a traditional, orchestral, choral approach to music in their churches who ARE snooty. But that’s not what I’m saying and I don’t think Fiene is, either. It’s more about how much work goes into creating something pleasing to the ear, be it in the rock genre or from classical origins vs. some re-worded copy-cat bebop, yell/scream, bay-at-the-moon, ilk that resembles an expressway pile-up in slow motion.
Composer Steve Dobrogosz has re-composed the traditional liturgy from the Mass into some wonderful works for the choir and orchestra that could be performed in any church. And as far as I know, he’s an unbeliever.
PS – sorry about the bipolar gravatar. This WordPress blog site made signing off more difficult.
George, I get the point about originality and agree up to a point; what is the flip side of that point though? Could originality be the gate through which something still unbiblical can come through. Revivalists created the altar call. Sometimes creativity and originality should be viewed more suspicion.
Then there’s this point:
Ah, but therein lies the key. If what I think some evangelicals listen to nowadays is crappy and what they think I like to listen to is boring and uninteresting – never minding any talent or the lack thereof that might be involved – then the simplest solution is to dispense with all of it. It’s why I like the RPW that people like Scott Clark promote, singing a cappella and the psalter, at that if no one can agree on the lyrics of various hymns. And if no one can sing on key, dispense with singing altogether and read it. Let ’em listen to whatever else pleases their eardrums after they get back home. Further, it prevents those who do have talent from looking down their noses at those who don’t.
‘Course, few such assemblies exist.
But now some Calvinists are squatting in documentary nests.
Celebrate, exciting, young people, excel, Kickstarter, beards. Vs. living quietly, minding your own business, sobriety, charity, widows, orphans, no celebritys, ordinary means. Not that the medium has to be the message, but it kinda does when we’re doing moving pictures. I want good graphics, good music, good looking people and good storytelling. And I have HBO, so, there’s your bar.
Zrim says:Ali, mmmm, mustard. I’m ready for lunch!
very good Zrim.!..always giving thanks for all things!
oh , and the verse just preceeding that one… speaking to one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody with your heart to the Lord; (and though that, with your heart, only in a certain music genre, of course)
your other comment, don’t think Jesus was a Calvinist, though Jesus did make Calvin and gave him his best thoughts
Ali, Jesus also made Hitler (said the Calvinist).
@Zrim, the Calvinistic movie thing is just TOO FUNNY!!! And to think that the leading Reformed luminaries – Horton, White, Clark, et al – will be featured! Maybe if you send the guy enough $, you’ll not only get your coffee mug, but you can get DGH a starring role, too? He’s probably feeling forlorn and left out.
Petros, but would Greg finally let up on his cinematic loathing?
Peter, as long as you keep reading OL, how could I (mmmmeeeeEEEE) ever feel left out?
Zrim says:Ali, mmmm, mustard. I’m ready for lunch!
…and hope too after your mustard-for- lunch Zrim, also you sang, because, apparently, thankful people aren’t to parse-out, regulate, be stingy about heart singing…. 🙂
Ephesians 5:19 speaking to one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody with your heart to the Lord; 20 always giving thanks for all things in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ to God, even the Father
Colossians 3:15 Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body; and be thankful. 16 Let the word of Christ richly dwell within you, with all wisdom teaching and admonishing one another with psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with thankfulness in your hearts to God.