by David and Tim Bayly on October 18, 2005 - 11:04am
Outside of sacred music, look into my iTunes "Top 25 Most Played" list and you'll find Mozart's Clarinet Concerto right near the top--with David Shifrin performing. Hauntingly beautiful. It may have a bit too much resignation for the young, but for a fifty-one year old it says what needs to be said, especially as the autumn leaves fall.
by David and Tim Bayly on December 6, 2005 - 11:43am
This is the first of several posts on the place of music in worship. Andrew Dionne, a partner on the pastoral staff of Christ the Word and former intern at Church of the Good Shepherd, received his doctorate in music composition from Indiana University before attending Covenant Seminary where he received his M.Div.
Andrew's posts are adaptations of a series of sermons he preached at Christ the Word in the fall of 2004. They will be presented here in the order of their original occurrence.
Tim and I strongly encourage careful consideration of these posts by those who want the music and worship of their church to rise above cultural elitism without falling into the opposite idolatry of pop-culture emulation.
The Power of Music
by Andrew Dionne
Many things created for the praise and glory of God when used wrongly can lead to blasphemies and condemnation. Sex, for example, is something that when partaken of lawfully is to the praise of God but if indulged in unlawfully is sin. "A man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife and they shall become one flesh" but "...one who joins himself to a harlot is one body with her..." (1 Cor. 6:16). We see that sex is given to man for his good, his enjoyment, but when used unlawfully can lead to his condemnation and destruction. We could say the same thing about drinking alcohol or even the use of the spiritual gifts, as Paul mentions in 1 Cor., which are like the clanging of a cymbal if used without love (1 Cor. 13:1); even the Law is good, as Paul writes, only "if used lawfully" (1 Tim. 1:8). That which is given for our good, can be used improperly and thereby become a stumbling block to us and a stench in God's nostrils.
by David and Tim Bayly on December 7, 2005 - 3:45pm
This is the second of three posts on the place of music in worship. Andrew Dionne, a member of the pastoral staff of Christ the Word and former intern at Church of the Good Shepherd, received his doctorate in music composition from Indiana University before attending Covenant Seminary where he received his M.Div.
If you would like to download PDF versions of the posts, Part 1 is available here and Part 2 here.
Tim and I encourage careful consideration of these posts by those who wish to see the music and worship of their church rise above cultural elitism without falling into the idolatry of pop-culture emulation.
1 Chronicles 25: The Foundation of All God-Pleasing Music?
Music is a sensitive topic in the church--that is why the elders have asked me to preach on the topic. My intention in addressing this topic is not so much to change our worship--it is currently reverent and biblical. Rather, I hope to change our thinking on worship.
Don't get me wrong, there are a few changes that I hope to accomplish: we will be drawing from a wider range of musical styles in our worship: contemporary as well as ancient; we have seen and will continue to see the addition of a few other instruments in worship; we'll need to think about the use of instrumental music in the service.
Because music is so loved and passionately followed; and many of us have strong opinions and have had truly bad musical experiences in worship, we must make sure we are not sinfully holding to unbiblical ideas about worship music. Have our opinions been shaped by biblical principles or have our opinions been formed by personal preference and a desire for vindication?
by David and Tim Bayly on December 12, 2005 - 5:30am
This is the third and final post on the place of music in worship by Andrew Dionne. Andrew, assistant pastor of Christ the Word and former intern at Church of the Good Shepherd, received his doctorate in music composition from Indiana University before attending Covenant Seminary where he received his M.Div.
Andrew's posts are adaptations of a series of sermons he preached at Christ the Word in the fall of 2004. The first and second in the series are also available. If you would like to download PDF versions of the posts, Part 1, Part 2 and Part 3.
Tim and I encourage careful consideration of these posts by those who wish to see the music and worship of their church rise above cultural elitism without falling into the idolatry of pop-culture emulation.
Instruments in Worship; Offertory Music; Worship as Fatherly Discipline
Church of the Good Shepherd is led in worship by a group of musicians who are truly sons of Asaph. They push us to glorify God with exuberance, yet reverence suffers no violence at their hands.
The past few weeks, these men and women have been recording a CD and I can't wait to hear it. If' you're interested, here's the web site where you can leave your E-mail address so they can let you know when it's ready.
I stopped by World Magazine to see if any other World bloggers have slipped the fold prior to July's shutdown. We're still the only ones.
But while dawdling on Gene Veith's Cranach I found this reflection on Christian music:
I can't believe I have watched every episode of "American Idol" and Tivoing it when I am doing more important things and watching it later. That is so unlike me. But I have to comment on the latest voting-off-the-island episode:
As a Presbyterian Church of America (PCA) pastor of a church in Bloomington that has many Indiana University School of Music grads and undergrads in our fellowship, it's always been a challenge to balance our congregation's disparate musical tastes. Our liturgy is quite straightforward, adhering closely to the practice of reformation Geneva, but our music is eclectic (not the words--they're always doctrinally solid and tending to the objective, with a healthy dose of Psalm 73 subjectivity). For leadership of our congregational singing, our normal practice is to accompany the singing with a band or to sing the hymns a capella. This means half the people are happy half the time (or not happy half the time). But we love each other and...
Note from Tim: A couple months ago, a dear friend who is a former member of Church of the Good Shepherd but now attends a PCA church in the southeast wrote this letter to his pastor and sent me a copy. Reading what he’d written, I appreciated my friend’s wisdom and asked his permission to pass his letter on to our readers. He graciously agreed.
These past few years, the session of Church of the Good Shepherd has worked hard to protect the unity of the body as we labored through changes in different aspects of our corporate worship. The Lord has been kind to us and our unity is intact. But it was a lot of heavy lifting.
Looking back, it’s clear there were times when some had trouble catching a vision for what appeared to be a very low goal; namely, everyone in the congregation being equally unhappy over matters of preference. But in this letter, our brother gives an excellent apology for this discipline within the Body of Christ and the spiritual fruit we may expect it to produce.
At times, our session was on the verge of splitting our services into two cultures, one highbrow and the other midbrow. (The order of worship would not have changed.) But thank God, we decided not to abandon the discipline of considering others better than ourselves and have kept our two services identical. That’s made all the difference.
I don’t mean to say I think any church that aims services at different demographic groups is sinning. Yet I suspect there are many other churches that could benefit a great deal from reading this letter and thinking through their rationale for what they're planning or have already done.
* * *
Thank you for your “Reflections on Worship” paper. If Calvin’s rule (“if we let love be our guide, all will be safe”) were consistently applied in all the intramural debates of our church, what joy you would have as the pastor! Even the sharpest disagreements can be sweetened when the “fight” is joined with mutual commitment, in the safety of the family living room. If here I express concerns about the splitting of our church services into different styles of worship, please know that I do it without seeking to be divisive or unloving.
I agree with the three main arguments you present in your paper. Having grown up with a father who spent his missionary career pastoring small evangelical churches in Austria, I resonate with your point about Europe’s cathedrals having become museums when they’ve refused to reform and contextualize. Calvin’s comment in the second chapter of the Institutes—“wherever there is great ostentation of ceremonies, sincerity of heart is rare indeed”—describes so well the hardening of the big European state churches in their loss of gospel preaching, witness, and worship in the last centuries. All that is left in the gothic buttresses of the great cathedrals is the hollowed-out skeleton of external religion; the heart of faith has long since stopped beating...
(by Tim) When I was about nineteen, I went over to a guy's house for what at the time was called a jam session. The guy lived with his parents in Wheaton, and they'd given him a room in their basement where he and his band practiced. I'd come with a friend who was also a guitarist and I hung out while the two of them traded licks for a while. It was a good time, in large part because no one there was sniffing glue or getting stoned or drunk. The times were drug-infested and jam sessions without drugs or too much alcohol were the exception to the rule.
Decades later, I found out that young man was now a famous Christian musician--and reformed, to boot. Then, I heard he was speaking out against the crass materialism of the contemporary Christian music scene as only a son of Wheaton could or would. His name is Steve Camp and my respect for him has deepened over the years.There's another CCM guitarist I respect a great deal...
(by Tim) Good Shepherd Band has released their first CD and here's where you can listen or get a copy. I love it, but love might well cloud my judgment since my affection for the musicians is overflowing in Christ. My personal favorites are "Ah, Holy Jesus" and "O the Deep, Deep Love of Jesus."
Let us know what you think. What a joy it is to have these brothers and sisters leading us in worship each week! If you're interested in having the Good Shepherd Band do a concert, follow the links on the site to get in contact with Jodie Killingsworth.
Spread the word: the corporate worship of reformed churches is beautiful, reverent, and pleasing to God not only when the music is led by a Yamaha grand or Casavant tracker pipe organ, but also by a Hammond-Leslie, Hohner, and Stratocaster...
By the way, the sound is streaming at a much higher quality now than when this link was first posted a couple days ago. So if you tried it before, give it another go.
by David and Tim Bayly on August 20, 2007 - 7:55am
(by Tim) Have you noticed how the hymns, songs, and spiritual songs being written for Christian worship today exclude words or concepts that are negative? And, performed on "Christian radio," how every piece of music ends in a triumphant crescendo?
Listen to your local Christian radio station and count the number of times Satan, Hell, the narrow path, old age, death, or false doctrine appear in songs' lyrics. Really, we ought to be coming up with new settings for Psalm 137. But hey, it wouldn't get air time. Go over to The Psalms of David from Kings Choir of Kings College, Cambridge, Vol. 1 for an old setting I love. (In fact, I'm very fond of all three volumes in this series and highly recommend them.)
Well here's a tonic for what ails us, from the same spiritual father who gave us, "And though this world, with devils filled, Should threaten to undo us, We will not fear, for God hath willed His truth to triumph through us; The Prince of Darkness grim--we tremble not for him; His rage we can endure, For lo, his doom is sure, One little Word shall fell him." Whether or not your church would sing the following words with gusto might be some indication of whether you've found a good church home...
by David and Tim Bayly on August 21, 2007 - 8:11am
(by Tim) Derek Webb's CD, "Mockingbird," has been on my laptop for a couple years now, but I'd never listened to it until this morning. Just listened to the second cut, "A New Law," and found it a balm in Gilead for weary preachers. It's here on YouTube, but the sound isn't great. The songs' lyrics keep getting better as I listen, but my initial impression of the music is that it could get monotonous. Buy Mockingbird here.
by David and Tim Bayly on February 12, 2008 - 11:14am
(Tim, w/thanks to Kamilla) From the days of Cream, I've been quite partial to Eric Clapton. Check out this tender review of Eric Clapton's autobiography, Clapton: The Autobiography, written by John Powell for First Things. Powell does a great job, doesn't he?
by David and Tim Bayly on February 16, 2008 - 4:00am
(Tim, w/thanks to Jake & Ben) If you would, please click here, look at the songs on the web page you've arrived at, and listen to "Sweet Rivers" followed by "A Mighty Fortress." Then, come on back...
Tomorrow--Tuesday, February 19th, at 7 p.m. Church of the Good Shepherd is hosting a concert featuring Matthew Smith & Indelible Grace. And our very own Good Shepherd Band has the honor of sharing the stage with them. Please join us for a great evening of music done to the glory of God.
The music of Indelible Grace has been a blessing to our own church as it has to many other churches around the country. We regularly use several of their songs during Sunday morning worship...
A couple weeks ago, Good Shepherd Band did a concert with Matthew Smith and Indelible Grace. Here are several new songs recorded then. Give a listen. My new favorites are "Son of God Goes Forth to War" and "Deep Is the Mystery." How I am strengthened by these men's leadership each Lord's Day!
If you're interested in a concert at your church or school, send me an E-mail and I'll pass it on. My E-mail is tbbayly at gmail dot com.
by David and Tim Bayly on August 11, 2008 - 6:08am
(Tim: from left, Philip Moyer, Mick Buschbacher, Andrew Henry, Jim Hogue, Jody Killingsworth) Church of the Good Shepherd is served by a wonderful group of modern-day sons of Asaph, church musicians who serve the Lord and their brothers and sisters in Christ faithfully each week, leading us in worship. They call themselves the Good Shepherd Band and on their MySpace page they've posted a statement of the musical principles we follow in our worship. To listen to their latest music, check out their web site. How our faith is strengthened through their hard work!
• We believe that music used for worship
should arise from the context of the local church and should be
essentially pastoral: it should rebuke as well as encourage, it should
teach as well as emote. Consumer driven worship has its finger more on
the pulse of the pocketbook than the worshipper’s true spiritual
condition. Consumerism is driven by the mantra “The customer is always
right! Whatever the customer wants, the customer gets!” Apply that
principle to preaching and you lose preaching. Apply it to worship and
you get CCM.
• We believe that music used for worship is
obligated to declare the whole counsel of God. It should lead people to
praise God both for His “Yes” and His “No”...
by David and Tim Bayly on August 29, 2008 - 11:10am
(Tim) If you're like me, you sit at your desk listening to music from your iTunes queue. And you don't really want to use your computer's pathetic speakers because they have no midrange or bass and their high end sounds like fingernails scratching chalkboard. But you don't really want to use those cheap plastic jobbies you can get for $15, either, because they're only slightly better.
On the other hand, you're not going to reproduce your living room's sound system because that would be extravagant. So most of us settle with really bad sound for most of the hours we listen to music each day, and we been in this rut for years.
by David and Tim Bayly on September 10, 2008 - 9:36am
(Tim) From our Equal Time Department, with a few things changed to hide the identity of this dear sister who may not want to own me, publicly, particularly after my ignorant and stupid post on Shoenberg. By way of introduction, may I please say that I have listened to modern music until I'm stuffed to the gills? And it started, like Milne, "when we were very young." Mud and Dad always had our stereo tuned to WEFM or WFMT. I've put in countless hours, also, listening to this music at recitals, concerts, and children's practice sessions in our living room.
For instance, after spending six months in a funk brought on by son Joseph's perpetual practice of that dark turgidity known as Rachmaninoff's Prelude in C sharp minor, I finally came to love it. Maybe that's how thick my head is with this other stuff? Truly, I may simply have opened my mouth to parade my stupidity. I may well be that very person spoken of in the "Architect's Sketch, "Well yes, that's the sort of blinkard philistine pig-ignorance I've come to expect from you non-creative garbage."
I'm sure this much-loved sister speaks for very many of my dearest friends and I only love her more for reaming me out thusly...
* * *
Wow Tim---the most recent blog (about Schoenberg, and new music) is the first blog of yours that I don't like!
While it is all rather lighthearted (yes, I can see how many see that video as funny---yet it is woefully ignorant at the same time, but I'm not going to get on my high horse---too much---about it), at the same time, I feel like enough of these kinds of statements really do work against new music, and people immediately throw off Schoenberg's Pierrot Lunaire (and other "weird" pieces by other amazing composers) because it's weird and sounds ugly and stupid, and WHY oh WHY would anyone like listening to that when they can listen to Mozart?????
by David and Tim Bayly on September 12, 2008 - 6:25pm
It is a trustworthy statement, deserving full acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, among whom I am foremost of all. Yet for this reason I found mercy, so that in me as the foremost, Jesus Christ might demonstrate His perfect patience as an example for those who would believe in Him for eternal life. Now to the King eternal, immortal, invisible, the only God, be honor and glory forever and ever. Amen. This command I entrust to you, Timothy, my son, in accordance with the prophecies previously made concerning you, that by them you fight the good fight, keeping faith and a good conscience, which some have rejected and suffered shipwreck in regard to their faith. Among these are Hymenaeus and Alexander, whom I have handed over to Satan, so that they will be taught not to blaspheme. (1 Timothy 1:15-20)
(Tim, w/thanks to Stephen) CCM artist Ray Boltz has given an exclusive interview to D.C.'s sodomite newspaper, the Washington Blade, for the purpose of coming out as a "gay" man. But gay he's not.
With close to five million CDs sold, Boltz's signature song is the sentimental favorite, "Thank You." Boltz had twelve number 1 hits on Christian radio stations (including "Watch the Lamb," "I Pledge Allegiance to the Lamb," and "The Anchor Holds") which earned him three Dove Awards from the Gospel Music Association.
The article in the Blade is truthful in many ways that bring into focus the tragic fact that this former confessor of faith in Jesus Christ has given up the battle. Here are some excerpts, followed by some pastoral comments aimed at helping us to understand and care for those who have given up the fight, or are thinking about it...
by David and Tim Bayly on September 13, 2008 - 9:03am
(Tim) Tomorrow evening, Ray Boltz will be giving a concert in Indianapolis at the Indy church that exists to promote sodomy in the Name of Jesus Christ. It's called Jesus Metropolitan Community Church and the concert is promoted on the church's web site as follows (emphases in the original)...
by David and Tim Bayly on November 13, 2008 - 6:03am
(Tim) Since the election, I've boycotted the news, and my family will be skipping January's investiture or ordination or coronation or divination--whatever it's called. But what to think and feel? Balking at the idolatry is not faith and prayer.
Then, this morning, I read Kyriosity, the blog of our esteemed sister Valerie, and here's what she had to say...
by David and Tim Bayly on January 5, 2009 - 10:15am
(Tim) Last week, Nat Hentoff was laid off at the (Greenwich) Village Voice. This brings an abrupt end to Hentoff's fifty year run there, appropriately and affectionately titled "Fifty Years of Pissing People Off" by fellow Voice columnist Allen Barra in his recent tribute to Hentoff.
Hentoff started as a staff writer for the Voice back in 1958. His dismissal fifty years later coincides, almost to the day, with Louis Menand's short history of the Voice that ran in the current New Yorker. Beyond the Voice, Hentoff has also published in the New Yorker, Wall Street Journal, JazzTimes (his best-known work may be as a jazz critic and historian), and Atlantic Monthly.
I note the dismissal of Hentoff, as well as the profile of the Voice in the current New Yorker, because this past week I've been enjoying a Christmas gift received from a friend in New York City who knows me well. A former member of Church of the Good Shepherd while studying at IU's School of Music, Regina Scow sent me an autographed copy of The Nat Hentoff Reader which I've been relishing this past week.
So far, I've read a short piece on jazz clarinetist, George Lewis; a longish one on my longtime favorite, Merle Haggard; some superb essays on racism in America including a good profile of Ken Clark titled, "The Integrationist;" and a rare glimpse of the racial suffering of Louis Armstrong in "Louis Armstrong and Reconstruction." The book also reprints Hentoff's classic essay exposing the practice of infanticide in America today titled, "The Awful Privacy of Baby Doe." I'll never forget reading it when it first appeared back in 1985. When I finished the piece, I remember feeling deep gratitude for Hentoff's leadership and courage.
I've been a fan of Hentoff for years now, largely (but not exclusively) because of his heroic defense of the First Amendment, the newborn, and the unborn. Interesting trio, aren't they? Imagine someone who tenaciously defends the First Amendment against the depredations of p.c. nannies also tenaciously defending the unborn and newborn against oppression and murder. He'd have to be a Christian, wouldn't he?
Why listen? Because, spreading the word about this album is something you can do to help us.
This blog exists to call the people of God back to faithfulness to "everything (Jesus) commanded." Critical to that work is the Church's worship, and critical to Her worship is the restoration of Biblical themes past generations treasured, but we repudiate. Themes like spiritual warfare, the Devil, courage in persecution, Judgment, Heaven, and Hell.
Have you noticed, it's almost a definition of Contemporary Christian Music that these themes are absent? Yes, there are exceptions to the rule; but they're just that--exceptions. A Mighty Fortress demonstrates that past generations of believers clung to these truths:
And though this world, with devils filled, Should threaten to undo us, We will not fear, for God hath willed His truth to triumph through us; The Prince of Darkness grim -- We tremble not for him; His rage we can endure, For lo, his doom is sure, One little word shall fell him.
So now that you've thought about the themes of A Mighty Fortress, give a listen to Hiding Place. When we sing this song in worship, my spirit is jolted awake and I remember to fear God:
Day of wrath! Certain and dreadful day When earth and sky are burned away The sun will dim, and with it the moon decay To greet His fierce return
The trumpet sounds, all of the dead arise A mighty army swells the skies The Lamb descends, a burning within His eyes To conquer and to judge...
Psalm 2 (hear and download here) from Calvin's Genevan Psalter, modernized and arranged by Douglas Wilson, quickly became a congregational favorite when we introduced it several years ago. Instead of dispensing with instruments as Calvin would have preferred, we enfolded the text into music and instruments appropriate to its forceful declaration of the wrath of God--a force rendered all the more striking by its contrast with the softness of most church music today.
Why do the heathen nations vainly rage?
What prideful schemes are they in vain devising?
The kings of earth and rulers all engage
In evil plots, and in their sin contriving,
They take their stand against our God's Messiah;
They claim they will not keep His binding chains.
The one enthroned in highest heaven, higher,
Mocks them to scorn, on them derision rains.
(Tim) Tonight, March 27th, is our first opportunity to hear The Good Shepherd Band play songs from their recently released EP, Wake Up Sleeper. The free concert starts this evening at 8 PM, at Church of the Good Shepherd. Opening for them will be The Runaway Davids from Nashville, TN. If you haven’t downloaded Wake Up Sleeper, yet, do it now.
And those of you looking forward to getting your hands on the Wake Up Sleeper CD, they'll be available at the concert tonight.
So, if you're in Bloomington or close enough to drive, invite your friends and come on over. We’d love to have you.
(Tim, w/thanks to Kamilla) If you want to begin to understand our day--the switch of the central currency of cultural engagement from the Bible to moving pictures, the use of film clips in Gospel preaching, the building of congregations around virtual images of themselves on the movie screen each Lord's Day employed by men like Mark Driscoll and John Piper, and the gift our head of state and his wife gave the Queen, recently--only two things are necessary: first, read the Second Commandment; and second, read Neil Postman's Amusing Ourselves to Death: Public Discourse in the Age of Show Business.
And while we're talking about the gifts the monarchs exchanged...
(Tim) When one of your elders is selling his personal record collection to the Library of Congress in installments over a period of several years, it's not uncommon to leave meetings with a brain clogged by extraneous details like this gem from our last time together: Mussorgsky's Pictures at an Exhibition is the most arranged piece of classical music with Elder D. C. Canfield having, in his own possession, 300 arrangements and 1,000 different recordings of the piece.
(Tim, w/thanks to James) Please listen to Wake Up Sleeper (the title cut) and Where Are the Persecuted? as you read this post.
At Church of the Good Shepherd, we work to raise our children and disciple new believers in expectation of growing persecution. Calvin says times of peace are not to be used getting fat, but to prepare for the next battle already on the horizon and closing on us quickly.
This is our goal at CGS and it informs our preaching, Bible study, childrearing, reading, and worship. It's these last two things I want to focus on in this post--worship and reading. First then, worship; and within worship, the themes and instrumentation of our music.
STEP NUMBER ONE: MUSIC
In our age of feminized discourse and cheap grace, Church of the Good Shepherd makes a conscious effort to restore the biblical themes of persecution, conflict, suffering, Satan, death, the coming Judgment, Heaven, and Hell.
Have you noticed these themes are absent from reformed worship today? And beyond absent, they're anathema to woman deacon/Emergelical churches where everyone has an iPhone, evangelism happens in the art gallery, sermons are eloquent discourses on the many faces of narcissism, and women administer the Lord's Supper.
Living in such a decadent age, we're working to restore them--particularly to the music of our worship.
Next to one of the world's largest music schools, Church of the Good Shepherd is a congregation filled with musicians and composers, most of them classical...
(Tim) I have a close friend who hated what I recently wrote concerning music and Christian worship--and particularly some of the anthems written, but more generally the leadership of our hymn singing, by our Good Shepherd Band. His name is Robert Patterson and there are few men I enjoy pursuing truth with more than Bob. This means we argue. Rarely in person, but often by e-mail and ocassionally, when things need to get really heated, by phone. Sometimes we put aside arguments and switch to name-calling. Bob's appellation of choice for me is something along the lines of "pietistic new-schooler;" other times, it's "pragmatic, tasteless baby-boomer." Happy to reciprocate, depending upon my mood I call Bob an "aesthete" or a "prig." Of course, neither of us has ever doubted the other's respect and love.
With that context, I'm promoting here as a main blog entry several of the comments responding to an argument Bob valiantly started under my recent post, "Preparing for persecution: two concrete steps to take." This particular argument was one of the most helpful I've ever been privileged to see developing on this blog...
First, online registration is now up and running for the Christ Church conference, Sexual Orthodoxy, to be held October 15-16 in Moscow, Idaho. Doug Wilson, Ben Merkle, and I will be addressing subjects such as: The Politics of Sodomy; Why Women Make Better Women Ministers than Men Do; The Politics of Fruitfulness; Family Government in the Church; Patriarchalism, Good and Bad; Sentimentalism and the Feminine Ethos; and Abortion: The Blood Sacrifice of Egalitarianism. Mary Lee and I hope we'll see you there!
Second, online registration is also available for another conference I'll be speaking at soon--July 10-12--here in Bloomington, Indiana. (Download the brochure.) Please make plans now to join us here in Bloomington for the ClearNote Fellowship conference, Standing in the Gap. Message titles include, Who Will Stand?; Fight or Flight--True or False Contextualization; Cheap Grace; and Worship Wars.
We plan a refreshing time of fellowship, teaching, food, and worship of our Triune God. The whole family is welcome--we'll be child-friendly as well as childcare being provided. I hope you'll register now and plan to be with us.
If you'd like more information, please feel free to e-mail (Mrs.) Ali Trout at churchoffice at shepherdchurch dot com. Or give her a call, Tuesday through Friday, at (812) 825-2684.
(Tim) Today is John Calvin's 500th birthday. We didn't plan it this way, but I can't think of a better way of celebrating this day than attending the ClearNote Fellowship conference which begins this very evening. So far, we've received registrations for about 125 adults and 60 children for Standing in the Gap. It's not too late for you to come!
Even if you're not registered, you can show up this evening from 6:30-7:00 PM when we'll have open registration. The first session, "Who Will Stand?" begins at 7:00 PM, followed by a concert.
We'll continue tomorrow (Saturday) morning with breakfast at 9:00 AM and our second session, "Fight or Flight," at 9:30.
If you have any questions, please call us at (812) 825-2684. (Download a conference brochure, here.)
by David and Tim Bayly on August 13, 2009 - 12:33pm
(Tim: Here's a post by our daughter, Mrs. Ben (Michal) Crum.) Yesterday, I listened to the same song seven times while my boys were napping. I didn't have the song on repeat. But every time it ended I thought, I want to listen to that again. And I went back to the iPod and pressed play.
I had heard the song before, but yesterday I listened to it and it took on a different meaning than the writer, John Hartford, intended. I was listening to Gillian Welch's live recording of "In Tall Buildings", and the meaning of the song morphs when sung by a woman. As I consider my occupation as a mother (for it does occupy me entirely--physically, spiritually, and emotionally) I realize how privileged I am. I am privileged to understand the meaning of that calling, and privileged also that my husband and family recognize its necessity and value. For this is the song that many a CEO mother secretly sings to her children in past tense, and I mourn for those mothers who mourn for their children and their lost motherhood.
Here are the lyrics. If you must, read them. But if you have one spare minute and $.99, please download the song and listen to it, instead. It's hauntingly mournful and beautiful...
by David and Tim Bayly on August 15, 2009 - 7:49pm
(Tim) After months of hard work, the worship musicians of Christ the Word have just finished their CD and it's ready for download! Check out Everlasting Word Band's Rise Up, O Just One, then pass the word!
Let us know what you think on Everlasting Word Band's Facebook page. And make plans now to be there for the September 4th CD release concert in Toledo.
by David and Tim Bayly on September 10, 2009 - 5:25am
(Tim) Reformed pastors and elders would do well to consider whether it isn't time to stop despising the musical vernacular in our leadership of the worship of God's people each Lord's Day.
There may be some congregations where the root of traditionalism goes so deep that it would be foolish--maybe even uncharitable--to turn forward the clock. But I'm betting using amplified instruments and modern arrangements of old hymns for the worship of God's people won't happen in most of our churches for the same reason preaching against the heresy of egalitarian feminism doesn't happen...
by David and Tim Bayly on October 11, 2009 - 8:20pm
(Tim, w/thanks to Craig) So Derek's trying to say something about something, and he's feeling quite self-righteous about what it is, precisely, he's trying to say. Thing is, when Dylan had his Christian phase, you didn't need a degree in jive talk to get it. His words were clear.
To get Derek's message, though, you might have to do peyote or sniff glue.
On the other hand, we could try just assuming that what Derek's trying to get across is the same kind of crowd-pleasing rhetoric daily featured on the oped pages of the New York Times. Derek is tired of going against the grain and has decided to turn and go with the flow, instead.
My friend Craig says Derek's video is "self-involved," bearing a message of "sexual sedition." I think he's right and that's how Combat Queer Onlinetook it. Reporting on what they saw as Derek's new direction, Christianity Today said...
by David and Tim Bayly on October 12, 2009 - 8:15am
(Tim) By the way, yesterday Herr Professor Doctor Jürgen von Hagen brought us the Word of God at Church of the Good Shepherd. His text was the Rich
Fool and it's context, Luke 12:16-34. Concerning the statements
there, "he began reasoning to himself" and "I will say to my soul," Juergen made the point that Scripture does not commend a man talking to
This occurred to me watching Derek. Eyes closed, all alone, singing. He appears to be completely entranced with his own music and himself.
* * *
By the way, the sermon is well worth your time. If you're within driving distance, we have a number of men who would be delighted to preach for you--including Pastor von Hagen. Just send me an e-mail with your location and proposed date.
by David and Tim Bayly on November 9, 2009 - 7:02pm
(Tim Bayly: This post is written by a craftsman of musical instruments in our church named Andrew Henry. I asked him to write about his beautiful musical instruments and to include some pics. He's kindly done so and you'll see why I'm tickled pink to own his first guitar. The action is fantastic, the wood is drop-dead gorgeous, and I'm bragging so I'll stop. Read on and order a bass guitar for a loved one or yourself. You won't regret it!)
God has been very gracious in allowing me to make my living working with my hands. There have been woodworkers in my family for generations and, as a kid, I spent many hours with my dad in his wood shop. But it looked like I wouldn't be following in those footsteps until about two years ago when I was finishing up my Viola Performance degree at IU and considering what sorts of jobs to look for. I'd spent three years in the IU Violinmaking program, earned my Associate's Degree in Violinmaking and had fallen in love with woodworking again...
by David and Tim Bayly on December 5, 2009 - 8:47am
(Tim) Only six days from now, next Friday evening beginning at 6:30 PM, the Good Shepherd Band, Good Shepherd Choir, Good Shepherd Symphony Orchestra (no kidding), and Good Shepherd Cookie Crums with special guest Hot Cocoa will be putting on the Third Annual Christmas Sing-a-Long.
It will all start with a bang when a composition of our own choirmeister, Phil Moyer, receives its world premier. Right here at Church of the Good Shepherd across from Karst Farm Park and just down the street from our very own SuperWalmart. (Eat your hearts out, Oxford and Cambridge.)
It won't be "saving the best for last" this year. Rather, "the early bird gets the worm."
Come one! Come all! Bring every last one of your roomates and friends and relatives and neighbors and co-workers!
by David and Tim Bayly on December 9, 2009 - 1:37pm
(Tim) Just a reminder to come to our Christmas Sing-a-Long this Friday evening--now just two nights away. Don't miss it and invite everyone you love! There will be lots of cookies and cocoa as we take joy in, and glorify, our Lord Jesus Christ. See you there!
by David and Tim Bayly on December 12, 2009 - 7:22am
(Tim, w/thanks to Luke and a host of others) Last night, Church of the Good Shepherd was filled with unbelievers who came to our third annual Christmas Sing-a-Long and heard the Gospel of Jesus Christ proclaimed through words and music. Like twenty minutes of Scripture and preaching and forty-five of Scripture in song. My heart, like all believers there, was filled with joy. Thank you, Jody, Phil, Jim, Andrew, and Aaron (and yes, you too, Mick). Thank you makers of cookies and cocoa. Thank you publicists/marketers/advertisers. Thank you, members of the choir. Thank you, orchestra. Thank you, sound men. Thank you, young men at the projector. Thank you, set up and tear down men. Thank you, Luke, for taking pictures. Thank you, Ben, for the graphics. Thank you, Ali, for serving us all. Thank you, Dave, for helping Jody with his sermonettes. Thank you, wives and husbands of the band and choir and musicians, for sacrificing your loved one for many hours over many weeks. Thank you everyone!
I'd say close to half the congregation was not from Church of the Good Shepherd, many of whom were unbelievers invited by believers who love them and asked them to come with the prayer that they'd hear the Gospel, repent, and believe. May God answer our prayers.
(Tim, w/thanks to Lucas and our CGS musicians) Every church should celebrate Palm Sunday, Maundy Thursday--and particularly Good Friday--if they're to be allowed to celebrate Easter. And a corollary: no believer should be permitted into Easter morning worship unless he's first been in attendance at a Good Friday service. But of course, who's making any rules in Protestantism, today?
Anyhow, yesterday we held our noon Good Friday service and, on the spur of the moment, I decided to record some of our worship liturgy on my iPhone to share with you. First, from Bach's St. Matthew's Passion, "Aus Liebe will mein Heiland sterben:"
We speak of worship and music often, here and on the ClearNote blog, and many of our readers are uncomfortable with our commitment to musical worship that's in the vulgar tongue. So I thought I'd provide a taste of what it looks and sounds like, admittedly on a more unplugged day in our congregational life...
(Tim, w/thanks to Jake and Dan G.) By God's grace, neither my wife nor I have ever been in such a service. All the years Willow Creek was riding the crest of DuPage County's wave of population and money growth, Mary Lee and I avoided the place like the plague. (We both grew up in DuPage County.)
So watching this clip, I asked a couple men from our congregation last night whether there really are churches like this one?
They promised there were and I have to take their word for it.
(Tim:This from ClearNote Blog, by Pastor Stephen Baker) There's a lot being said these days about the feminization of the
Church. It’s an objective fact there are more women in churches
than men. This cuts across all denominations, liberal and conservative,
Protestant and Roman Catholic. Overwhelmingly, the Church has become the
realm of women.
Some contemporary writers have noticed this trend and offered their
remedies. Churches can attract men by using sports illustrations, preaching short sermons, showing clips from movies, perfecting the
art of the man hug. All these solutions are shallow and superficial.
The key to
getting men back to church is worship, but the evangelical Church has reduced worship to an emotional,
feminine activity. Case in point: The Sacred
Swoon. Here's another version. Go ahead, click on the links.
If you've been in an American Evangelical church for five
seconds, you've seen this: eyes closed, head back, hands limply
raised, body swaying… (to continue reading...)
(Tim)Craig French writes: Not that you should know who Katy Perry is, but a headline on MSN caught my attention. Apparently Katy Perry doesn't like other people making a living by way of blasphemy... Ironically, she's a former CCM "artist" now known for her overt sexual displays and singing of the joys of kissing other girls. There was a curious quote that reminded me of (a certain well-known Reformed man):
"(People say) I'm a very hypocritical person: 'How do you say that and (sing), I Kissed a Girl?' Spirituality and sexuality are two separate things. When you decide to put it into the same subject, it gets interesting for some people."
It appears Perry and (our well-known Reformed man) have something in common when it comes to faith and practice. A snippet from an Offspring song summarizes it well: "Ya gotta keep 'em separated!" Perry ...seems to understand (these guys') Law/Gospel dialectic quite well.