If the church is about God€™s redeeming work in the world what does it look like?  When it comes to interacting with culture who€™s redeeming who?  I think of this mostly in the realm of the arts.  On one hand the church should be associated with the brightest and best right?  We want excellence in our worship.  At least that€™s what I€™ve always been told and believed.  And I still agree with the basic principle €“ God deserves our best, thank you Cain for teaching us.  I think the biggest common example is the Church€™s role as a proponent of the arts during the renaissance.  But what I wonder now is, how many little church€™s supported little artists that made little impact on our art history books but at the time were key to the congregation€™s worship life?  How often did a church find a nobody artist and participate in a redemptive work?  Because if this happened then €“ heck even if it didn€™t €“ it needs to happen now.  I think about all the modern praise and worship cd€™s out there and the gluttonous industry it fuels and question how it glorifies God.  Luther said what makes a Christian shoemaker isn€™t that he puts crosses on his shoes, but that he makes excellent shoes.  So much of the €˜christian€™ music I hear these days would aptly be described as crappy shoes with big effing crosses on them.  But little churches are putting together praise bands with the best of intentions and the grandest of hopes that putting on a pair of payless shoes will bring in the lost and unshod. 
And how does it play out when the Church is out in the world?  When a church makes a presence known outside their walls do they seek the lost in cool bars serving surly and fat tire or do they find the bud lite dives?  Now I don€™t want to equate redemption with making something cool.  People that drink Chamomile need redeeming too.  But what bugs me is seeing a church using cool destinations as a way of legitimizing their (the church€™s) existence.  The same can be said for how the Church utilizes musicians.  Do we hire excellent musicians that could care less about the church or do we get the high school hack guitarist that shows up every Sunday morning.  Either choice is a redemptive work right?  So maybe the question becomes is the Church€™s role one of nurture or endorsement? And ultimately who gives a rat€™s behind?  Well I give my rat sized behind willingly, because I€™m tired of talking about being counter culture and never countering culture.
Maybe sometimes the most excellent thing we can do is to fail miserably.  To be associated with losers and to be caught drinking miller high life.  Maybe I should worry less about other€™s redemption and spend more time in fear and trembling concerning my own.  Nah, there€™s no fun in that.

Posted: November 7th, 2007
Categories: music
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