Saturday, March 17, 2007

Just A Short Note: Theology Is Not Always Our Friend.

For my own personal growth in the word, and to fend off the clever and self-important messengers of historic and contemporary christian theology, I need to once in a while remember certain important things.

You have those who say that to study scripture and even merely read the bible is to engage in theology. Theology is an inescapable part of looking to and understanding God's word.

The truth be reconciled that, yes, theology is a study of things religious. Is there any disagreement with that definition? We have Christian theologians, Hindu theologians, Islamic theologians and even Greek Mythologogical theologians. This man-made science of theology has to be applied with the uttmost care when using it to clarify the words of God's revealed self, Jesus, in Christianity, for Jesus said already that His words are Truth which came from the Father. We have to recieve them that way, all of them, together, purely and plainly.

Yes, and then you have spiritually guided Christian theology, in which you have wild disagreement and spiritual disharmony that is in reckless opposition to the clear scriptural counsel to agree and be of the same mind in scripture. When the theological tools are applied to God's word discretely and with measured restraint it can lead to reinforcement and support for Christ's own words. When it's used selfishly or superficially it can leave brethren splintered and scattered and left apart from each other in slightly different gospels.

The world of Christian theology, has long ago taken on a life of it's own, apart from sound workmanship in and under Christ's counsel. It's become virtually a man-made science trying to prove those things which God ordained for us only to know in part for now.

This makes it clear to me that Christian theology is not always our friend and cannot be said to be a part and parcel of studying God's word.

I need protection from the fleshly biting and devouring forces thriving within the Body of Christ in the form of self-proclaimed christian theology. And that very reassuredly comes in the form of a good literal rendering of scripture in the NASV bible, a Greek/English NASV interlinear bible in Greek and English, a good scriptural dictionary, a concordance to bolster the memory, along with the promised indwelling Spiritual help that Christ came through with for us. A good teacher is invaluable as well. One that's always learning. One that you can be sure you have when he uses the entire bible to teach itself, so to speak. And it's a big book and is very helpful to have someone around with a love and a respect for it that's been through it a few more times than I have.

Very few people share my fascination and admiration for christian theological thinking from just after Christ and until now. In my own mind, that may be why I can see it, not only for what it is, but more importantly, for what it is not. And then get back to studying the pure milk of the word right from the book. As it was intended. Oooo...can I say that? As it was intended? Yes, most definately.

It was a more comforting day when I came to that realization. Hope it works for a few others as well.

Comfort and joy, spiritually, from Him to us, as promised. Together in Christ(ripped asunder in theology, ohhpppssttt...sorry). And it is well with our soul.


Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Regrets, Minor Regrets and Blessings.

A day very well blessed. I get to practice piano for a couple of hours. Then go about 20 minutes away and make a pretty good worthwhile time of getting out in the mud and trimming up some Morgans that I had put some shoes on for the Christmas parade last November. Come home to about 2 more hours of practice after when my kiddo will get home and we'll skate off to girl scouts. I'll get some reading time in while I wait, come home, and after dinner she can practice her piano briefly, do a little Awana, and then it's either computer games with dad or watch a little tv while dad goes of to practice or study some more. Nice well rounded day.

I'm trying to finish My Jesus, I Love Thee and Since I Have Been Redeemed. My playing is growing in leaps and bounds-at the cost of a huge time investment-which I thank God continously that I have, and owe to Him. I will work at filling out the four tunes I have on my website, or the two instrumentals that is. I won't be posting hymns and songs I'm going to formally record. There is no hurry for them, as I see it. There are, however, many great hymns that are left for the meantime to have some fun with and to share with friends and aquantainces here.

I also intend to press on and explore as many fascinating scripturally relevant questions as time permits. Such as the one in the last post that I still have to answer. A minor regret is that I don't have the time to debate away alot of the divisive Christian theology that has crept into the Church, from right about the time Jesus, probably reluctantly, left us to our own devices down here and went off hoping we would listen and testify to what He said. But people have always and always will listen and be tickled by every wind of doctrine that comes along, and so all a person can do is make sure that they're grounded in what Christ has done for them, and leave it at that. And let's not forbid, even make some use of what He has done for them. Given the opportunity, I would love to host a 'Theological detox' blog to give some of these hard core, hard label, theologically opposed and encamped Christians a new look at going 'theology free', so to speak, and uniting in scripture, and scripture alone. And there have been worse dreams. But for now I slog on in the vast sufficiency of the present.

Saturday, March 03, 2007

Here's (part of) My Philosophy.

My hope is to take these hymns and put a little complementary twist in them. Probably the same as most any player of hymns. There are a lot of musical tools and techniques that have developed along since most of these hymns were written and I suspect most of the orignal authors would enjoy having many of these musical developments employed in the presenting of their masterpieces. I can't help but have my entire history of musical experience well up inside of me as I play through many of these hymn pieces, and consider it a privilege to let them share in the growth that has occured in the musical arts since their own beginnings. Music is........form and content. All of it's form is 'of ' the world, and there is none which is by itself unclean. But it's content springs from the heart, and for the 'new heart', there is a spiritual standard. Looking forward to explaining that further as time permits. And as the Lords gracious teaching enables.

That's all I know for sure tonight, because, my time allotment has run out and my daughter just let me know that.

I'm awfully excited about the He Hideth My Soul arrangement. Not necessarily the recording of the present arrangement as it stands. Because it's time in line finally came to sit down with it and decide where I was going with it and, it wasn't until I was done slogging through it many times, and I was done recording it, that the theme really firmed up. So I'm looking forward to a few weeks of learning how to play it and then coming back and tentatively finishing it. And then singing through it. And that's what I'm looking forward to almost the most. That, I have to emphasize, is the great hope I have that many of these pieces will useful for to others than myself. That's more of the philosophy thing...there are many who love to sing these vintage hymns that simply need some musical accompanyment that presents a pleasant opportunity to do just that. I'm still trying to figure out how to best manage that. At least I can finally play them.

I'll be resinging all of these as my sort of self taught voice training progresses. All of them that make the website that is. There are many that won't, but will, however, be formally recorded and ultimately shared. I've learned I can't sing very well in the morning but that that's when I start on a song and the voice track needs to get in early so I can build onto it as opposed to the other way around. I'm doing most of these in the course of one or two days. As a means to figuring out how to do them the next time better. Or just socking them away until I can get them to a better producer than myself. But the ones on the website will be slowly evolving all the time.

I sat down the other evening and resang, "I Sing the Mighty Power of God". It sounded more like yelling. That let me know that my voice conditioning was working. It's nice to know that the pipes are starting to pump pretty well. But now I have to work toward that happy medium. I've got to work on improving the voice. Speaking of that tune, that was my first home recording effort and wasn't really intended to come out as such a pop tune. But I've fallen in great like with the end product. It's all from my electric effects piano so I know I could easily reproduce the whole song for a crowd of people and that has some practical benefits. But not a lot of my stuff is going to have that sort of sound. Just wait until half of the hymnal I've turned into a jig. Yikes. Still working on my technique there.

So on it goes.


Thursday, March 01, 2007

I Know Whom I Believe.


I Know Whom I Have Believed

Here's one. Something got into me, I think even the first time, when I was assigned this hymn to play on a Sunday. About four years ago this spring as I remember. We play a hymn at the beginning of the service and one at the end. I hadn't played the piano in about probably 23 years, my last lesson had been in the fourth grade (or 38 years ago), but was glad to get back at it because frankly, between my fiddle, guitar, accordian, and trumpet, it was my first love. Just a little big to lug around. But when I began to get these assigned hymns, I couldn't stop my left hand from wanting to get a little excited. Nor could I quit toying around and adding little variations. And it's happened with every hymn I've played since. So it's chronic. The sobering news is that these hymns are not complete without their God honoring words and I can't really sing very well yet. So I'm trying to get serious and get my voice a little more well trained. So watch your ears.

The hymn came together for me on Monday morning. I finally figured out, on Monday morning, how the extra pieces which I've enjoyed playing to myself with this hymn for several years now would all fit together. Seemingly. So this is meant for your enjoyment and to put a little bounce in your step while meditating on the truly inspiring words contained in this hymn.

It's by no means finished yet. It's what you would call a rough demo. But I see no reason to keep it in a box. It's the very popular and familiar hymn called I Know Whom I Have Believed and below is the link:

I Know Whom I Have Believed