Don Hudson, writing in Mars Hill Review (www.marshillforum.org), says,
"George Steiner, in his masterful
book, Real Presences, warns against modern humanity's retreat from art and
the divine presence it reveals. His point is quite clear: if we lose the
transcendent power of art, we become narcissistic. 'It is, I believe,
poetry, art and music which relate us most directly to that in being which
is not ours.' Art must by nature extend beyond its creator or its
spectator, or it merely recreates them as Narcissus' mirror did for
Narcissus...." Hudson continues, "The Christian who ignores art agrees with a secular view of
art--that art has no ultimate meaning for life nor does it reveal the God
who is there.... In plain terms, the Christian church, historically the
creator and guardian of great art, has abdicated its role of nurturing and
appreciating great art.... We can worship art, or art can aid our worship."
How can Christians think more broadly, more godly about the gift of music?
What does music offer for our lives, our worship? What makes Christian
music "Christian"? And what are music's limits in providing happiness,
especially to musicians? We consider these and other questions in our
—Leadership University Editor/Webmaster, Byron Barlowe
Music and the Christian
Christians are encouraged to begin to think about the place and influence
of music in their lives.
"On Earth As It Is In Heaven": Is Art Necessary for the Christian?
What role should art play in the life of Christians? Where do we draw
boundaries? How do we even define true art, and its purpose, in the first
place? Don Hudson asserts that contemporary Christians often shun art out
of misplaced fear rather than embrace it as a vehicle to God's
On The Tip Of His Tongue: A Tribute to Mark Heard, 1951-1992
The gifted and prolific songwriter-musician Mark Heard died in July of 1992
at the age of forty, following two heart attacks. Hailing originally from
Macon, Georgia, but spending the majority of his writing career in the Los
Angeles area, he left behind a musical legacy that is staggering in both
length and substance.
What is Christian in Music?
Terry B. Ewell, Ph.D.
Recent attempts by evangelicals to define Christian music as opposed to
secular or "worldly" music have highlighted the complex relationship
between the Christian faith and music. Most if not all Christian
denominations share the view that music should be selectively chosen for
worship services, mass, communion, personal listening, etc. The difficulty,
however, lies in the criteria by which the choices are made: precisely what
is it that makes Christian music "Christian?" This paper presents a brief
overview of some historic and contemporary criteria for Christian music. It
then proposes ethical principles for musical activities based upon an
analogy to food or drink. My assumptions for the paper are not just
theistic (as in Muslim, Jewish, etc.) but more precisely Christian. Thus, I
make use of doctrines and select passages drawn from the Old and New
Testaments of the Bible as a foundation from which to draw conclusions in
Rock music continues to occupy an important place in the lives of millions
of youth, including Christians. This essay encourages us to Stop, Listen,
and Look as we listen to rock. Since the music is not inherently evil,
discernment is the key.
The Hidden Hope in Lament
Silent despair is a treasonous refusal to cry out to God...it leads to
death. Laments vocalize our doubts and our anger at God...and in our cry,
hope oddly dawns. Dan Allender listens to the sounds of sorrow in African
American spirituals and is reminded of the Psalms.
Requiem for the Unborn
Review by Terry Teachout
A recently released CD entitled "Sacred Music of the 20th Century" is
primarily devoted to a cantana by John Boyle called "Requiem for the
Unborn." This piece was recorded by Kurt Sprenger, the Warsaw National
Philharmonic Orchestra, and the Warsaw National Chorus. Reviewer Terry
Teachout, a sympathizer to the pro-life cause, questions whether abortion
is a subject suitable to the composition of great art. Should a work such
as this be judged by the same standards as any other musical piece?
The View from the Back Row
Doug Yeo, Bass Trombonist of the boston Symphony Orchestra, discusses his
philosophy of music and music performance from his vantage point in the
back row of a professional symphony orchestra. "When people ask me why I
make music, I reply that I make it as an offering to God.... It is a
continual cycle of giving, sharing, offering, worship and sacrifice that is
one of the joys of my life. I praise Him for the talent He has given me,
and for the privilege of witnessing to the majesty of His name in a way
that touches so many." Yeo touches thousands more through his Web site:
Handel's "Messiah" remains a favorite Christmas musical pieces, even among
those who rarely listen to other works. The author suggests that this
reveals more about the American public's peculiarities than it does about
Handel's musical genius.
Interview: David Wilcox
In the past few years singer-songwriter David Wilcox has emerged from being
a street busker and bar entertainer to become an accomplished concert hall
performer. His folk style resembles that of James Taylor, but his lyrics
transcend the earthy images for which Taylor is known. Many who know
Wilcox's music may disagree that his songs speak of matters of faith.
Indeed, the message is rarely clear. Bar crowds sing along with him, caught
up in his stories without realizing they are singing of something or
Someone beyond the moment. Perhaps that is Wilcox's greatest talent. He
tells parables and stories that speak of God and love in a way that invites
the audience to consider the point of his words without demanding any more
of them than simply to enjoy an evening of music.
Go here to see our past Special Focus features.