Monday, March 03, 2008

Disorientation and Honesty

What songs are you singing? I'm not really asking what you have currently dialed in on your radio station in your car, or the most played on your iPod. I'm more or less asking if you're humming a tune that all is right with this world, or if you are a part-time blues singer.

Ponder this quote from Walter Brueggemann:

“It is a curious fact that the church has, by and large, continued to sing songs of orientation in a world increasingly experienced as disoriented…It is my judgment that this action of the church is less an evangelical defiance guided by faith, and much more a frightened, numb denial and deception that does not want to acknowledge or experience the disorientation of life…Such a denial and cover-up, which I take it to be, is an odd inclination for passionate Bible users, given the larger number of psalms that are songs of lament, protest, and complaint about an incoherence that is experienced in the world…I believe that serious religious use of the lament psalms has been minimal because we have believed that faith does not mean to acknowledge and embrace negativity” (The Message of the Psalms, 1984, pp. 51-52).

As followers of Jesus, we should have a sense that not all is right with this world - I believe what Brueggemann calls the "disorientation." But so many don't seem to have any outward signs of disorientation - in fact, we (I will lump myself in here as someone trying to reorient my worldview) are hanging tenaciously onto what we have, onto the way things are, because we perceive that there is so much to lose. In the process, we are losing our souls.

Not that there aren't moments when we get a little taste of heaven. Tonight my daughter called me into the room to say goodnight. She asked me this question: "Am I special?" I actually teared up as I told her how much I loved her, how there is only one little girl in the world just like her, and that she is more special than she will ever realize. It was a good moment.

But at the same time, we are in a world that calls into question the special-ness of little girls, that special-ness is earned through looks or what she can provide. A world in which a little girl has to even ask that question, and that will continually question her worth based on any kind of scale, is so broken.

Maybe it does have something to do with the music, and the songs that we sing. What is some of the music that you would recommend?

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