Showing posts with label In Need of Analysis. Show all posts
Showing posts with label In Need of Analysis. Show all posts

Thursday, July 08, 2021

In Need of Analysis: Wake Up and Smell the Potpourri

I’ve never really liked Christian bookstores.

They have that cloying sweetness typical of the boutiques my wife loves, the ones that sell knick-knacks, scented candles and throw pillows. There’s just an unreality to such places that hits you from the moment you step in the door, a sense that you are entering a zone that has nothing at all to do with the world outside, and where perhaps strange and delicate mythical creatures can thrive.

Okay, I may be exaggerating a little, but you get the idea. If you’ve been in such a store, you know: there’s just something terribly weird about the place. The divergence between the real world and the interior environment — and even its divergence from other store environments — is quite startling; and when you first walk in it takes you a moment to adjust.

Thursday, November 28, 2019

Sunday, February 26, 2017

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

In Need of Analysis: Worship as a Lifestyle [Part 2]

“God is spirit, and those who worship him must worship in spirit and truth.”

We have been discussing worship as a lifestyle, a concept set out by John Piper among others, and how the recent discovery of a “worship lifestyle” compares with the way the word “worship” is actually employed throughout scripture.

First we drew a sharp distinction between two ways scripture uses the word: (1) to describe “acts of worship” (the public appearance) and (2) to refer to “worship” itself (the heart reality). Then we went on to establish that genuine worship is deliberate, sacrificial, obedient and informed by the character of God himself. It is not a mechanical, rote act, nor is it to be engaged in casually. It takes place at specific times, not at every moment of life.

Monday, June 13, 2016

In Need of Analysis: Worship as a Lifestyle [Part 1]

The subject of worship is currently getting a little more attention than usual in Christian circles, and that’s not a bad thing. We have John Piper to thank for this, among others who have written about worship as a lifestyle.

Piper starts by encouraging us to enlarge our thoughts of worship:

“… don’t think worship services when you think worship. That is a huge limitation which is not in the Bible. All of life is supposed to be worship.”

and goes on to describe eating at Pizza Hut to the glory of God, having sex to the glory of God and dying to the glory of God. So eating moderately, healthily and gratefully is worship; loving sex within the bounds of marriage is worship; chastity, too, is worship. “You are always in a temple,” Piper says. “Always worship.”

Wednesday, September 09, 2015

In Need of Analysis: Saving Sunday Evening

This post is over a year old, but it is carefully written and a study in neutrality. Its subject is the declining interest among evangelicals in attending traditional Sunday evening church services. Thom S. Rainer explores the history of Sunday evening meetings and hazards a cautious speculation or three as to why almost nobody cares about them anymore.

It’s a topic worth discussing, but before we invest too much energy in debating how we might salvage Sunday night, we ought to ask ourselves another, more pressing question first:

Do we really want to?

Monday, September 22, 2014

In Need of Analysis: Worship as a Lifestyle [Part 2]

A more current version of this post is available here.

Sunday, September 21, 2014

In Need of Analysis: Worship as a Lifestyle [Part 1]

A more current version of this post is available here.

Sunday, March 16, 2014

In Need of Analysis: The “Four Hour” Rule

Some help here, anyone?

I read this on Tuesday but have had no success at tracking down the original quote on the web (and since Wesley died in 1791, it’s unlikely I’ll be able to get it from the horse’s mouth):
“John Wesley said that he had a very poor opinion of Christians who did not spend at least 4 hours every day in prayer.”
I found a number of quotes from Wesley on the importance of prayer (some good stuff there too) but nothing first-hand about the amount of daily time he deemed appropriate. Wikipedia, while providing a bio, was no help either. The closest I could find was this, from “John Wesley used to say that he thought very little of a man who did not pray four hours every day.” Slightly different wording, no direct attribution, no book reference, nothing to follow up, but perhaps it was the source for the quote I read on Tuesday.

This site referenced another called, which amplifies a bit: “We all have probably heard the stories of how John Wesley would rise up at 4 AM every day to seek God for the first four hours of the day.  In his later years Wesley was known to spend up to 8 hours in prayer.”

Huh. “Stories.” Okay, not much help there.

I’ve found a number of references to Wesley praying two hours a day, and a number to his mother doing so. But no direct confirmation in Wesley’s own words that he prayed four hours a day regularly or thought ill of those who didn’t. Other than stories, of course. It may well be true, and I just haven’t been able to confirm it.

It may be utter hogwash.

Why does it matter how long John Wesley prayed daily or what he thought about prayer?

It doesn’t, really. Except …

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Thursday, February 06, 2014

In Need of Analysis: Doctrine vs. Practice

The most current version of this post is available here.

Wednesday, February 05, 2014

Tuesday, January 07, 2014

In Need of Analysis: Public Prayer

The most recent version of this post is available here.

Friday, January 03, 2014

In Need of Analysis: What Makes a Good Hymn?

It’s a question about which I have lots of ideas and few definitive answers.

Instinctively I am drawn to lyrical authenticity, biblical content, three to four verses max (or my voice wears out) and a decent melody, not so quick or difficult that the average person can’t sing it. That’s important, I think. Take On Me, for instance, is a pretty pop song by the Norwegian band a-ha, with a soaring chorus. As the melody of a hymn it would be excruciating.

I dislike dirges and choruses that sound cheesy or dated to me. I dislike anything trite. If it sounds like a sales pitch, a pep rally, or frivolous, I’d rather not, thanks.

Thursday, December 26, 2013

In Need of Analysis: Does it Build?

Earlier this year I sat in a small local church full of nice, friendly people who had come to hear what turned out to be a pretty decent, relevant and biblical message from a visiting preacher. Prior to introducing the speaker, the man designated to open the meeting led the congregation in a hymn. We opened beat-up, dog-eared hardcover hymnals to the hymn number he gave us and together we sang the following:
“Brightly beams our Father’s mercy,
From His lighthouse evermore,
But to us He gives the keeping
Of the lights along the shore.
Let the lower lights be burning!
Send a gleam across the wave!
Some poor fainting, struggling seaman
You may rescue, you may save.
Dark the night of sin has settled,
Loud the angry billows roar;
Eager eyes are watching, longing,
For the lights along the shore.
Trim your feeble lamp, my brother;
Some poor sailor, tempest-tossed,
Trying now to make the harbor,
In the darkness may be lost.”
Say what? “Trim my feeble lamp”? Trim your own feeble lamp, pal! It was actually the second time we’d sung this hymn in the four weeks I’d been dropping in to that particular church.