I came across these statistics from David Well’s book Losing Our Virtue (p. 44). Having studied a large number of modern hymnbooks, he cites these statistics below. Wells states that these should be “read more as tendencies than precise measures,” but nonetheless they are telling:
- 58.9% of praise songs offered no doctrinal grounding for the call to praise.
- Only 1.2% mentioned the church at all, whereas 21.6% of classical hymns did so. Most of the modern hymns are dominated with a faith that is private and individual rather than public and corporate.
- Expressions that longed for holiness were only found in 3.6% of the hymns, and God’s holiness was only referred to in 4.3% of them. However, 1 out of every 10 could be classified as love songs to God containing romantic imagery.
Reflection: The church militant needs battle songs rich in doctrine. It would have been nice if God had put some right in the middle of the Bible.
David Murray offers a counseling challenge for the coming year. He identifies twelve areas of need that pastors often find themselves addressing and encourages us to consider developing a plan for a holistic approach in providing help to them. Having been encouraged lately by his book Christians Get Depressed Too, I look forward to hearing the helpful results of this challenge.
Reflection: Amazing how we can offer quick, simplistic answers to complex creatures made in the image of God.
The LA Times had an article this weekend on those who make voluntary contributions to the federal deficit. Some of the stories are a bit heartwarming despite being (at least to me) misguided, such as the 84 year-old vet who collects cans and sends in the proceeds each month along with $50 of his own income because he believes in the country. Since President Kennedy signed legislation making voluntary contributions possible, about $83 million has been sent in. That sounds impressive, until you realize that this 50 year total does not even pay off one day of the interest on today’s debt.
Reflection: One of the first lessons you learn in dealing with drunks is not to give them money.
My poor mother, battling decades of severe depression, stopped eating and drinking recently despite the best efforts of those around her. Finally this weekend, under a change of medication and rigorous treatment, she has begun again, at least for now. I’m thankful to all who have prayed.
Reflection: How much greater is the blessing – and hence the need for prayer – of a hunger and thirst for righteousness.
Tim Challies has written an insightful article entitled “Christians and Alcohol” that I think is worth a read. His theme is to encourage younger, reformed leaders who believe they have the Biblical freedom to drink to be less enthralled with that practice and more respectful toward those typically older pastors who are abstainers.
Reflection: It’s a poor, sad witness when Christians take liberty with a Christian liberty.
Yesterday before our class we had all types of technological trouble trying to get the computer, projector and speakers to work for the DVD we were using. After ten minutes or so, as about five or six of us were working on the tangle of wires, one of us eventually found the problem. The power strip was plugged into itself.
Reflection: That’s the same problem sinners have.