September 01, 2015

Foreign Land

When our church held an ice cream social and old-time singalong 10 year-old Lydia, who loves to sing, sat downcast throughout the medley of hymns. It dawned on me that although the words to the songs were displayed on the overhead, it was hard for her to join in because she didn’t know the songs. I know exactly how she feels because many of the churches I visit sing praise songs that are unfamiliar to me. On the occasion when they do sing a familiar hymn or praise song, I have an instant connection in worship, rather than simply being a bystander. The psalmist, when referring to the Babylonian captivity, taps into a similar disconnect when he says, “By the rivers of Babylon we sat and wept when we remembered Zion. There on the poplars we hung our harps, for there our captors asked us for songs, our tormentors demanded songs of joy; they said, “Sing us one of the songs of Zion!” How can we sing the songs of the LORD while in a foreign land” (Ps 137:1-4 NIV)?

1 comment:

Steve Corey said...


-----This should have been a little hint to Rick Warren about his PDC craze. We are ever so happy to culture cheese. We carefully culture yogurt. We laud and praise the culturing process making pearls. But to culture a people is verboten. To expect the people of a nation to respect certain key concepts and formulate them into personal thought has become the greatest of cultural sins, for we must not terrorize others with such chillingly destructive and personally humiliating concepts as “love your neighbor” and “respect everyone around you” which can lead to even more horrible concepts like “do good to all men” and “outdo one another in showing honor”. For Pete’s sake, if we feel like shooting a deputy sheriff in the back of the head, the color of our skin is more important than Americana.
-----Also extremely important to a nation are its mundane cultural traits, like football and baseball, apple pie and fast cars and personal freedom. They all together, with a multitude of others, formulate Americana, a collage of traits once worthy of mimicking. Those of us whose adulthood extends at least four decades back remember a shared wholesomeness about Americana before the Molotov cocktails, mud-balls, and buckets of excrement began hurling at it. Americana became evil because America had slaves, not heroic because it paid hundreds of thousands of lives to end slavery. Americana was always evil because America overran the sacred Indian homeland, paving over vast plains of waving grain, even though it turned a land once full of little more than buffalo chips into a land filled with honorable people, honorable enough to sacrifice life and loved ones for ending the nightmare of a Nazi world, a people respectful enough to not possess lands they defeated, but to rebuild them for culturing more freedom (and by the way, a people who turned vast plains of tall grass, weeds, and buffalo chips into that amber sea of waving grain for feeding the world’s hungry.) No. Regardless of what it was, Americana is trashable.
-----If within each person’s mind there is not conservation of belief - resistance to change - then there would be no mental consistency formulating thought, let alone accumulating intelligence, or even perception. Conservation of belief is like putting together a jigsaw puzzle. Already assembled pieces help indicate where scattered pieces go. When the assembled pieces assemble “Americana”, then more “Americana” type scattered pieces will join together. And that is why, eleven decades ago, a movement began for killing Americana: American Progressivism. Today, the Progressive beans have spilt for all to know: “I will fundamentally change America.” And Americana is enough dead nobody cares.
-----I’m in no way perplexed that Americana’s destruction was lately joined by the attack on church culture. If you scatter the assembled part of a puzzle you can re-assemble it however you want it, chopping its pieces to bits, if you must. We old folks can see what Nicolaitans are: people conquerors. Culture destroyers. Fascists. The collective mind of the antichrist. Destroy a believing people’s unity so they can be harnessed to a godless culture of slave drivers. Hymns are important. They conserve the culture of many yet assembled pieces. Contrary to popular hostility, they are not evil.

Love you all,
Steve Corey