Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Kindred Spirits: Blog Alert

I stumbled across a great blog yesterday called Kirchenlieder (Church Songs). If you enjoy the content of Kirchenmusik (Church Music), you'll want to take a look. It's not as philosophical as Religious Affections, but the author (Lance Peeler) definitely shares my aesthetics. Speaking of Religious Affections, the latest post on the site really held my interest. Scott Aniol discusses two types of art distinguished by aethetists: Dionysian vs. Apollonarian art. To quote Mr. Aniol:

Both Dionysus and Apollo were mythological Greek gods associated with art. Apollo was the god of reason and logic, and was considered the god of music since the Greeks thought of good music as a great expression of order and patterns (a la Pythagorus and Plato). Dionysus, on the other hand, was the god of wine and revelry, and was worshiped with loud, raucous music accompanied by pipes and drums.

So Dionysian art/music communicates to the raw passions, while Apollonarian art communicates (ultimately) to the emotions through the intellect. He quotes from Daniel Reuning of Concordia, who points specifically to the music of Lutheran tradition as Apollonarian.

His intention in writing is to help the Christian distinguish between mere emotional experience and true worship, which addresses the whole person and not merely the emotions.

While I do not share or endorse Mr. Aniol's entire theology, I have learned a great deal from his writing and I do not hesitate to share this valuable resource.

Monday, March 24, 2008

Resurrection of Our Lord

This is the feast of victory for our God.
Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia.
Worthy is Christ, the Lamb who was slain, whose blood set us free to be people of God. This is the feast of victory for our God.
Alleluia, Alleluia, Alleluia.
Power, riches, wisdom, strength, and honor, blessing, and glory are his. This is the feast of victory for our God.
Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia.
Sing with all the people of God, and join in the hymn of all creation: Blessing, honor glory and might be to God and the Lamb forever. Amen.
This is the feast of victory for our God. Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia.
For the Lamb who was slain has begun his reign. Alleluia.
This is the feast of victory for our God. Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

O memoriale mortis Domini

The hymn below is used for Vespers for Holy Thursday, which is not said by those who participate in the evening Mass of the Last Supper. The hymn is an extract of St. Thomas Aquinas' (1225-1274) Adoro Te devote, which he composed in honor of the Blessed Sacrament.

O MEMORIALE mortis Domini! panis vivus, vitam praestans homini! praesta meae menti de te vivereet te illi semper dulce sapere.

O MEMORIAL of my Savior dying, Living Bread, that gives life to man; make my soul, its life from Thee supplying, taste Thy sweetness, as on earth it can.

Pie pellicane, Iesu Domine, me immundum munda tuo sanguine; cuius una stilla salvum faceretotum mundum quit ab omni scelere.

Deign, O Jesus, Pelican of heaven,me, a sinner, in Thy Blood to lave, to a single drop of which is given all the world from all its sin to save.

Te cum revelata cernam facie,visu tandem laetus tuae gloriae; Patri, tibi laudes et Spiritui, dicam beatorum iunctus coetui. Amen.

Rushdoony on Writing Well

I Corinthians 10:31 "Whether therefore ye eat, or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God."

"I detest the cute style of writing so popular today, New Yorkese I call it, because I believe words are tools to be used intelligently, respectfully, carefully, and lovingly. A good writer does not call attention to himself (as William Buckley endlessly does), but to his subject, and his writing opens up avenues of thought and insight...

Good writing gives me a sensuous sense of wealth and luxury; good writing is like combining the ultimate in nutritional value with a strictly gourmet dinner in a perfect and happy marriage."

~ R.J. Rushdoony, Letter to Otto Scott, April 28, 1977

Monday, March 10, 2008

What Does It Mean to Be Lutheran? Part II

Lutherans stand in contrast to the rest of Christianity in that their adherence to the Word of God, without regard to human or ecclesiastical (church) tradition, prevents them from interpreting the Word of God to accommodate errant thinking / beliefs which might be part of a current cultural trend. This means that regardless of what popular beliefs might be, the Word of God is to stand without change or adaptation to the culture or society of the day. In a way, this adherence to the Word of God makes true Lutherans unpopular with most of society at any given time in history.

For example, today, when many churches are putting their stamp of approval on fornication (a couple living together without benfit of marriage), Lutherans continue to believe and teach that God intended for man and woman to live together only in the context of holy marriage. Any other arrangement which society today allows and even encourages is, and will always remain, damnable (I Corinthians 6:9-11). Such fornication is forgivable by faith in Jesus and Spirit-inspired repentance, but it cannot be approved by the true church. To approve of such arrangements calls God a liar at worst or in the least makes Him out to be incompetent because He has declared an activity wrong than man has determined is right and beneficial. Such attitudes break the First Commandment.

To be a Lutheran also means to focus worship upon God, not upon self as is often the case with today’s praise services which serve to lift the human spirit through a "worship" experience, otherwise known as entertainment. In today’s world where so much "worship" seems to focus upon the entertainment of the individual, Lutherans still believe that it is absolutely critical to worship God.

The old German word, Gottesdienst, (Service by God) explains true worship. Worship is a time when we gather to let God work on us through the hearing of His Word as read in the lessons and spoken in the sermon, even declared through the words of hymns as well as through the reception of Holy Communion. Worship is a time to let God work on us and to give Him glory for the work He does in us and through us. To gather simply for praise is OK but such “worship” misses the point: God is not given the opportunity to work on us.

—Dr. Paul Hunsicker, Abbotsford, Wisconsin

Thursday, March 6, 2008

Wanted: Traditional Worship

This hard-hitting post blasting contemporary evangelical worship from Ingrid Schlueter on Slice of Laodicea makes me smile, but I have to nod in agreement with many of the points she makes. I find myself growing very tired of the collective irreverence for the Divine and the sacred in modern American culture, and long for a return to serious worship. The element that so attracts me to traditional, high-church-style liturgy is its treatment of God as holy, righteous and powerful. It inspires a fear of God and puts everything in a Scriptural perspective. May we as a people repent of going our own way and turn back to the God Who loves us and sent His Son to die in our stead.