The Spirit of Christmas from a Four-year-old

On my day off yesterday I had to go to Walmart. Jack got all excited about spending some of his allowance money on some Star Wars men. I explained to him that this time of year he should spend his money on presents, not on himself.

I suggested buying something for Mommy, and finally he decided that yes, he would buy a present. But he wanted to buy a present for Mikayla…maybe a Star Wars mens that he didn’t already have? And maybe he would play with it?

Getting frustrated, I mumbled, “Buying presents for someone that you want to play with is not the Christmas spirit.”

A few minutes later Jack calls up from the backseat, “Dad, if I buy Mikki a Star Wars mens and then she shares with me. Dad, is sharing in the Christmas Spirit?”

Trapped. We decided that Mommy really needed something from her list, and as God’s grace would have it, Jack picked out a nice present and was content to just look at the Star Wars toys for a few minutes.

He’s a good kid. Too smart for his own good, though

Anti-christian Vandalism in England

Overnight barbarians vandalized the Holy Thorn Tree at Glastonberry Tor in England.

If you know your English Christian history–or Arthurian Legends–then you know this is the tree Joseph of Arimathea planted 2000 years ago. Regardless, it’s an ancient tree with long historical roots and cultural significance to Christians in England. It looked like this before:

Now it looks like this:

The story from The Daily Mail online is here.

Communication Tip #1

When you speak, make sure you are saying what you mean to say. If not, say it.

The same goes for writing: know what you want to say, then say it. Subtlety and nuance are for literary criticism classes at self-important Universities.

Furthermore, if you mean to say something nice and the other person gets mad, chances are you didn’t say what you meant. Go back while you have a chance and say it.

World(ly) Music

I actually enjoy secular music. I enjoy classic rock, modern rock to some extent, anti-folk artists like Regina Spektor (a new favorite), some metal, classic country, alt-country/no depression, jazz (especially avant-garde), minimalist classical, baroque. You can say I love music.

But let’s face it. This stuff is worldly. Worldly things do not belong in the spiritual worship of God. How you judge what is worldly or not is a matter of subtlety and discernment.

And we all need to be cautious about how much worldly music and entertainment we take in anyway, outside of worship and church life.

Little children, you are from God and have overcome them, for he who is in you is greater than he who is in the world. They are from the world; therefore they speak from the world, and the world listens to them. We are from God. Whoever knows God listens to us; whoever is not from God does not listen to us. By this we know the Spirit of truth and the spirit of error. (1Jo 4:4-6 ESV)

Church Music Lives

Hey…you’re still here? After all this time? Don’t you people every go home?

On to the blog…

I was in a doctor’s office the other day checking out. One of the staff members had music playing from her computer, and as I walked to the window the song changed to something played on a pipe organ. From where I was standing it was too faint to be heard clearly.

The woman setting up the next appointment for me clicked at her mouse and squinted at the screen, and then out of nowhere said over her shoulder, “Is that your music playing, Nancy?”

“Christmas carols,” she responded.

“Sounds like church music. I don’t want to listen to church music. I’m not in church.”

I’ve heard the complaint before when working at a music store. On occasion we would put on some classical music and invariably a customer or two would complain that it was church music and why were we playing that?

Yes, Virginia, there is such a thing as Church Music. And it offends people living in the world.

So let us give up this notion that poppy, guitary, drums and bass crooning and harmonizing on the stage at your local church is just style, because it’s not. It is the music of the world and only offends those of us who are looking for church music to be church music and nothing else. You can play that good-time rock-n-roll in the doctor’s office and offend no one because it sounds too sacred. You can play the Debbie Boone-Amy-Grant-version soft-pop-rock in the elevator, and no client or customer will be upset at the “church music” playing in the background. Just make sure the Jesus-boyfriend words are obscured or absent and it all blends in with everything else.

I’d rather stand in the doctor’s office listening to muffled pipe organ over computer speakers and know it was sacred music.