Monday, November 22, 2010

Poetry, discipleship, evangelism, and why we fight

No, not the movie "Why we Fight" which was presented to soldiers during World War Two as they deployed, but rather one reason (not "the," but "one") we fight in church, and also why efforts for evangelism and discipleship often falter.

Specifically, we no longer understand poetry.  Now why does this impair evangelism, discipleship, and our getting along?

Simple; poetry appeals, more than prose, to the heart along with the mind, and we've been systematically eliminating this from the schools for a century--along with the general war our society has been waging on literary (liberal, classical, liberal arts) education.  For another reference--and this on the 48th anniversary of his death--read C.S. Lewis' The Abolition of Man, in which Lewis decries the "debunking" of literary sentiment prevalent over half a century ago.

Now let's consider what we have now that we have done here; by downgrading the significance of literature, poetry, and music in our education (and often in our churches), we debilitate ourselves.  We lose the ability to differentiate, more or less, between Shakespeare and doggerel, and in the process, we lose the ability to speak to another man in a way he understands.

Your church may be suffering from this, and here are some ways to tell.  Look around during music time, and see if people are singing, and how; enthusiastically, or????  Look at the worship leader(s); are they simply singing, or are they trying to whip up enthusiasm?  If the congregation is silent to a great degree, or those leading worship are trying to whip up enthusiasm, you know that a bit of poetry just might be in order.  Where there is strife over musical styles, a bit of poetry might help as well; strife over musical styles largely ignores the bigger question over whether what music is used is speaking to the hearts of men.

The same goes with a congregation remote from one another, or not reaching out to the lost.  God speaks to our hearts through poetry in His Word; why not us in our daily lives?

For a bit of encouragement, check out this flash mob scene where a few dozen vocalists render, sans accompaniment, the Halleluiah Chorus of Handel in a mall food court at Christmastime.   H/T Mrs. Bubba

Personally, of course, I'm appalled.  Everybody knows that a better Christmastime selection is "For unto us a child is born."  :^)  Is anybody with me? 


W.B. Picklesworth said...

I'd happily sing and/or listen to either one.

Bike Bubba said...

Me too. It's got to be challenging to keep on key and on time in such a setting, though. Methinks that if you had about five "dominant" singers, you could do it, though.