Friday, November 5, 2010

7 Quick Takes Friday


Lauren has been going through a clingy phase recently, not wanting me to go to work. She'll beg and plead and barter for me to stay home and does not believe me when I say I have to go.

Lauren: Who says you have to go to work? Did Ms. J say you have to?
Me: No, she's our secretary. She works for me and daddy. She doesn't say I have to work.
L: Does daddy say you have to?
Me: Well, he is in charge at work, but no, I just have to because there are things I have to get done today. I have to make some phone calls and read things and write some things.
L: So, you can just say you DON'T have to work today.

The other night while I was giving her a bath, I told her that I was working the next day. (I only work three days a week, by the way.) She started again with the "who says?" so I explained that I had to go to court.

Me: I have to go to court. The judge said I have to be there.
Lauren (in a lightbulb-going-off voice): Ooooohh, so the JUDGE says when you have to work!
Me: Yes . . . sometimes.

She's still not convinced I had to go to work the day before because the judge didn't say so. That's her new question now whenever I go to work: "Mommy, did the judge say you have to?"


The kids got school pictures back this week. Pardon the dirt on my scanner.

Joshua, 2nd grade:

Ethan, 1st grade:

Lauren, pre-school:


I had to go to Olean again today, because, well, apparently that's what I do on Fridays. Drive an hour to the dry cleaner and Walmart. And to pick up the glass for our table. Again.

Since the glass is quite big, I had to take all of the seats out of the van except the two front seats. So, now we have just gone all-out redneck and have all the van seats on the porch. Since I can't unload the glass by myself, that's where the seats remain for now.

So if you drive by my house right now, you will see my kids sitting in the van seats on the porch eating pretzels. A sofa on the lawn and we're all set.


I was listening to one of my favorite hymns during the drive - "Jesus, I My Cross Have Taken." I'm pretty sure I've mentioned it on here before, but it's worth repeating. One line in particular spoke to me today:

"Soul, then know thy full salvation. Rise o'er sin and fear and care;
Joy to find in every station, something still to do or bear."

All of us understand "doing." We ask God what He wants us to do. We keep busy with what we're currently doing and look to the next thing we have to do. We find our worth in what we do. We feel less significant, less worthy, if we're not doing.

But, sometimes we're not asked to do. We're asked to bear.

Sometimes all we can do is bear.


I've been meaning for quite some time to write a post about music. About the different types of music used in worship and why I find some types more conducive to my own worship than others.

I grew up in a non-denominational charismatic church singing mostly praise choruses. I attended a Baptist church for a few years in upper elementary/junior high school, so of course, that involved only hymns. (In fact, to the best of my recollection, it involved only about a dozen hymns!) In high school and college I was back in a non-denominational church where we sang "contemporary worship songs." These are similar to the choruses of the 80's but usually longer and with more depth. Many, as most newer worship songs do, contained verses and a chorus, rather than just a chorus repeated over and over. and over. and over.

For the last few years of our time in Georgia, we attended a Presbyterian PCA) church where the music was almost exclusively hymns, but they were different hymns from the ones I'd sung in the Baptist church all those years before. They were deep and insightful hymns, rich with meaning. Not only that, but many had been set to newer music to make them more "singable" than the tunes that accompanied them 200, 50, or even 15 years ago.

So, here we are today back in a charismatic church that calls itself non-denominational but is quite heavily Pentacostal. We sing mostly the choruses of the 1960's - 1980's. A few more recent songs, if by recent you mean within the past decade. (And ALL of them are song in a southern-gospel style. How did I manage to move 1,000 miles north and end up in a southern-gospel-singing church?!)

All this is to say, I've spent a lot of time thinking about worship music. I LOVE worship music. I love the old, old hymns; I love the modern worship songs. I listen to worship music when I drive, when I clean, when I work. When I play the piano, I play mostly for worship. I love it. It speaks to my soul.

What I do not love are 12 word choruses. I'm sorry, I just don't.

I've heard them called 7-11 songs, because they have seven words, and you sing them eleven times. I think that's a pretty accurate description.

Here's my issue with them, other than the fact that they are dated and southern-gospel: they don't give your mind anything to focus on.

I find that when I sing the same 10 words over and over, my mind begins to wander. Sure, sometimes I'll feel my spirit moved and be truly, deeply, focused on Christ. But not usually.

The eastern religions use chanting as a way to empty the mind. Repeating the same thing over and over and over empties the mind; it doesn't fill it. Some may say that emptying the mind is good in worship, because then the Holy Spirit can speak to a person more clearly. That may be true, but in my experience, that's not what usually happens. I'm focused on the Holy Spirit for the first two, three, maybe even four repetitions, but at some point, my mind begins to think about how I'm standing, how my shoes feel, whether the kids are behaving, what the singers are wearing, what we're having for lunch, etc.

That is not the case when I sing hymns that are full of thoughtful, intellectual lyrics. God gave us minds to understand the truth of the Gospel, and I find that I can worship Him more fully when my mind has things to grab onto. Like this:

Jesus, I my cross have taken, all to leave and follow Thee;
Destitute, despised, forsaken, Thou from hence my all shall be.
Perish every fond ambition, all I’ve sought or hoped or known;
Yet how rich is my condition! God and heav’n are still mine own.

Let the world despise and leave me, they have left my Savior, too;
Human hearts and looks deceive me; Thou art not, like man, untrue.
And while Thou doest smile upon me, God of wisdom, love and might,
Foes may hate and friends disown me, show Thy face and all is bright.

Go, then, earthly fame and treasure! Come, disaster, storm and rain!
In Thy service pain is pleasure; with Thy favor, loss is gain.
I have called Thee, “Abba, Father”; I have stayed my heart on Thee:
Storms may howl, and clouds may gather, all must work for good to me.

Man may trouble and distress me, ’twill but drive me to Thy breast;
Life with trials hard may press me; heav’n will bring me sweeter rest.
Oh, ’tis not in grief to harm me, while Thy love is left to me;
Oh, ’twere not in joy to charm me, were that joy unmixed with Thee.

Take, my soul, thy full salvation; rise o’er sin, and fear, and care;
Joy to find in every station something still to do or bear:
Think what Spirit dwells within thee; what a Father’s smile is thine;
Think that Jesus died to win thee, child of heav’n, canst thou repine?

Hasten on from grace to glory, armed by faith, and winged by prayer,
Heav’n’s eternal days before thee, God’s own hand shall guide us there.
Soon shall close thy earthly mission, swift shall pass thy pilgrim days;
Hope soon change to glad fruition, faith to sight, and prayer to praise

Considering how long #5 was, I'll mercifully end now. :)

Head over to Conversion Diary for more!


Lenae said...

Cute school pictures! Your kids all have very squishable cheeks :)

I have always enjoyed your posts on music, and appreciate you sharing about your church/church-music background. I love worship/Christian music too and listen to it almost exclusively. Do you have any recommendations for hymns set to more modern music? Any favorite albums/artists?

CDD in Ca said...

The school pics turned out great. I must say, I particularly love the one of Ethan with his adorable dimples. They're all sweet and lovely children.