Songs of Lament as a form of Protest against COVID, Racism, Climate Change, and other Wounds

I’ve written and preached on the bedrock of joy that animates faith, but its equally true that church should be the best place for a broken heart to find welcome. But few of our worship songs today want to go to the dark places, ask the hard questions, and complain to God. Here I examine a few lament songs possible for Christian worship. … More Songs of Lament as a form of Protest against COVID, Racism, Climate Change, and other Wounds

Sing A New Song for Cultural Renewal: Hymns that Mention the Economy, Media, and Justice

Why are there so few spiritual songs about life on our planet–about the things that most Christians do with most of their time–tend gardens, buy groceries, engage in business, build homes, create artworks, do scientific experiments? There is an inherent dualism in much of our singing that confines it to “spiritual” matters of prayer, praise, church, and loving and serving our neighbours in generic ways. But Christians are called to be culture makers first–this is the blessing that God gives right off in Genesis 1:28: “Prosper! Reproduce! Fill Earth! Take charge!” (MSG) … More Sing A New Song for Cultural Renewal: Hymns that Mention the Economy, Media, and Justice

Everyone do Leisure Studies: Summer, Recreation, and Vocation

Summer officially begins in two days. COVID notwithstanding, its time to make plans to get away from work, spend more time outdoors, getting exercise, exploring creation, and investigating new landscapes and communities. We just got a used trampoline for the backyard, and we are planning a family bicycle trip this month. These kind of activities, … More Everyone do Leisure Studies: Summer, Recreation, and Vocation

Two Cheers for Zoom: Video Conferencing during COVID as a Gift without Presence

Zoom means fast. Zoom is so fast it connects two distant points almost instantly. In fact, Zoom assumes social distance, and to some extent the whole modern world is zooming away during COVID: families, friends, churches, businesses, governments, and even doctors. Zoom allows us to see and hear each other without getting infected by what the other person’s presence might bring with it. But I’m only giving two cheers for Zoom. … More Two Cheers for Zoom: Video Conferencing during COVID as a Gift without Presence

Belief and Belonging at Calvin University: How Does a Denominational University stay Vibrantly Christian?

A shorter version of this article appeared in The Christian Courier June 8th 2020. It involves changing faculty requirements at Calvin University, but it has implications for all Christian institutions of higher education: how best to nurture a faithful Christian faculty with a common identity and purpose? How do you navigate between the polar extremes … More Belief and Belonging at Calvin University: How Does a Denominational University stay Vibrantly Christian?

The Hillsong Worship Industry: Praise, Performance, and Prosperity

This blog was originally published in the Christian Courier April 23, 2018, but its been getting numerous views on my academia account, and so it appears people continue to seek some discernment when it comes to the powerful influence of this Australian church on global worship. I do believe this music is something to resist and use discriminately, even as I play guitar in worship bands that deeply enjoy it. … More The Hillsong Worship Industry: Praise, Performance, and Prosperity