James’s Blog: Musings on Faith, Reason, Experience, Colouring-in and Worship.

James’s Blog:  Musings on Faith, Reason, Experience, Colouring-in and Worship.

It’s been one of those years – the kind of year that was meant by the ancient Chinese curse, “May you live in Interesting Times.”

Here’s a couple of things I find interesting about these Interesting Times. The first is that, through following up on Tweets and stuff, I learned that in America three of the top five best-selling non-fiction Christian books of 2016 were adult colouring-in books.  After what I wrote a couple of weeks ago, I don’t know what to say.  I understand that some people find them helpful, but really?  Three out of five? Read more

James’s Blog: A Lesson in Humility.

James’s Blog:  A Lesson in Humility.

When it comes to me, most worship leaders are up against it from the start. I have no musical talent myself, and therefore little appreciation of the skill required to play the handful of chords that most worship songs seem to employ. Neither am I a big fan of the contemporary worship style – on the whole, I like my music to have a little more edge. Furthermore, I’ve suffered over six years of formal theological training, so find myself hyper-critical of and disappointed by the content of most lyrics. Finally, many more years of hard yards in following Jesus, and trying to help others to follow Jesus, has resulted in me having nothing but contempt for the shallow, I-feel-pretty-good-about-God-right-now sentiment of many worship songs.

However, whenever I find myself drifting too far down the path of seething rage, I remember what C.S. Lewis said. He too struggled with the church music of his time, considering it fifth-rate poetry set to sixth-rate music, but he also wrote, “I realised that the hymns (which were just sixth-rate music) were, nevertheless, being sung with devotion and benefit by an old saint in elastic-side boots in the opposite pew, and then you realize that you aren’t fit to clean those boots. It gets you out of your solitary conceit.”

Hard as it is to believe sometimes, not everything is about me.