Monday Morning Music Ministry

Start Your Week with a Spiritual Song in Your Heart

Denomination Blues

I have had the privilege recently of reviewing the manuscript of a novel that might be (ought to be) published in the near future. I won’t give away the ending (or the beginning) (or the middle) (or the title) (or the characters) (or the message)…

… but I’d love to give away one of the subtexts, which is to beware of organized religion.

Speaking for myself, I tend to distrust anything organized, but that’s another matter. Now the world, which looks for any stick with which to beat Christianity, invariably points to religious wars as pro forma warning-labels against spirituality. In truth, however, most “religious” wars have probably been waged using religion only as an excuse.

Moreover, the serious attacks, excesses and atrocities committed in the name of Jesus… do not mean that Jesus would commit them. The world too often forgets that Jesus is the standard, True and Holy. When people scurry around, constructing and construing, blaming and naming, if they fall short of that Standard they dishonor themselves more than they dishonor the Savior.

Before the “amens” roll, it is good to recognize that Christians, also, forget this fact too often. The sad truth — the more important deal than wars and doctrinal arguments (although doctrine is important) — is that the church often fails its mission in direct proportion to the extent it is “organized” religion. Youth pastors who serve (Barna Research says) an average of only 1.5 years — what heartache must that represent? Churches that don’t preach the whole Word. Children abused by priests. Pastors involved in sexual scandals. Judgmentalism. “Open-Mindedness” so open that theologians’ brains fall out. Politics, bureaucracy, and pride on church boards and committees. Is this the church Jesus wanted? — the Bride of Christ awaiting His return?

“What sort of music accompanies this heavy message?” Well, it’s the same message, but a more light-hearted delivery. Hilarious, in fact. But the chorus that Buddy Greene returns to in this living-room get-together is the message for this week, and has been for 2000 years: “Jesus — That’s All!”

You can beware — that is, be wary — of organized religion’s pitfalls by keeping this song in your mental iPod!

Click:  Denomination Blues

It Is Well… With My Soul

Not much to write here this week, because the music we have chosen, and the message that both inspired and flows from it, are delivered beautifully by Sonya Issacs on the clip.

You might know the story of the horrible accident, and the faith of the man who suffered the loss of his family, behind this song.

To me there are several lessons. The role of faith… a faith that can only arise supernaturally by the Holy Ghost. How God can heal through the creativity of music and poetry – and be turned back to praise Him – what mystery! How healing can come from a determination to trust, and even praise, God when the world cries “despair.” Amazing.

In Mr Spafford’s case, these lessons he learned and taught have blessed uncountable millions of people. Yet that was not his intention. He was just having a conversation with God about his family who drowned right where “the sea billows rolled.” How profound this hymn is when we know the circumstances of its creation.

Is it well with your soul?

Click:  It Is Well With My Soul

Welcome to MMMM!

A site for sore hearts -- spiritual encouragement, insights, the Word, and great music!

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About The Author

... Rick Marschall is the author of 74 books and hundreds of magazine articles in many fields, from popular culture (Bostonia magazine called him "perhaps America's foremost authority on popular culture") to history and criticism; country music; television history; biography; and children's books. He is a former political cartoonist, editor of Marvel Comics, and writer for Disney comics. For 10 years he has been active in the Christian field, writing devotionals and magazine articles; he was co-author of "The Secret Revealed" with Dr Jim Garlow. His biography of Johann Sebastian Bach for the “Christian Encounters” series (Thomas Nelson) was released in April, 2011. Read More