I recently gave some hints about how we can be more aesthetically engaged, so let’s pick up on that note once more.
For decades now, a certain sort of music has been popularised for Western Protestant Christians: worship music / contemporary Christian music. But in the early 2000s, something else started brewing.
The new hymns movement is something I’ve begun exploring only recently. These artists draw direct inspiration from traditions that have been obscured to us, and they take what I consider a more community-minded approach to music-making, a folk/roots sensibility. Probably because of this influence, it has become popular to rework hymns — the famous ones, that is — but there’s even more exciting stuff around. One group that helped pave the way (and grew from a university ministry!) is Indelible Grace:
Our hope is to be a voice calling our generation back to something rich and solid and beyond the fluff and the trendy. We want to remind God’s people that thinking and worship are not mutually exclusive, and we want to invite the Church to appreciate her heritage without idolizing it. We want to open up a world of passion and truth and make it more that just an archaic curiosity for the religiously sentimental. We believe worship is formative, and that it does matter what we sing.
In this post, let me introduce you to Cardiphonia as an avenue into the new hymns movement. Cardiphonia is curated by Bruce Benedict, who gathers all sorts of musicians to create amazing compilations. Most Cardiphonia releases are free to download and each comes with a songbook. Let’s take a quick tour through some of their releases. They’ve amassed a huge collection now, so I’ve picked out just a few highlights for you to explore. Read more
OK, so it’s a provocative heading. It’s based on the title of this article. I’ve got nothing against John Piper. I’d be hesitant to describe his preaching as a ‘monumental event’ but if Facebook promotion is anything to go by, he’s been helpful to stacks of people in our day and age. It’s a good call to encourage the average pew-sitter to respect, love, sit under and encourage their own pastor, which I think is Burchett’s main aim in the article.
From George Whitefield to Billy Graham, evangelicals have long adored a homeboy. Piper is the latest in that tradition. So any discussion about John Piper as a hero isn’t just about John Piper: it’s a broader question for all of us who identify as evangelicals. Read more
The essays for my three other subjects allowed me to get stuck into some issues I came to college with. My essay for History of Evangelicalism was fun but didn’t carry the same weight for me as the others. (In case you’re interested, it was on whether/how Charles Wesley’s hymn ‘And Can it Be’ typified the theology and ethos of Methodism.) However, the class as a whole has been an incredibly heartwarming experience.
We looked at Phoebe Palmer in History of Evangelicalism this week. I’ve come across her before but the lecture gave me reason to read a bit more on one of the most prominent Christian women of the nineteenth century. Authoring 18 books, editing a leading Christian magazine and preaching on two continents resulting in an estimated 20 000 conversions, she was indeed a woman of power!
This is the project I submitted for our recent study tour. It’s a survey of some of the museums and monuments that we visited, from Germany to Switzerland, Luther to Calvin. I had a lot of fun with it. Enjoy!
Reformation in Context Today: a historiography of Reformation sites in 2010
The earlier book reviews are here.
A selection of Will Mackerras’s limericks from the Reformation Tour