July 23, 2016

About Chaplain Mike

Chaplain Mike works with a hospice organization in central Indiana. He has been in pastoral ministry since 1978, serving in churches in Maryland, Vermont, Illinois, and Indiana before moving into chaplaincy work. He is married to a wonderful gifted wife, Gail, and they have four children and three grandchildren. He thinks baseball is the greatest game ever invented, suffers annually as a Chicago Cubs fan, and is looking forward to putting on a cap again this spring to coach his grandson's Little League team. He loves a wide variety of music, spends way too much money on books, is happy to live in a place where there are four seasons, and is a "true believer" in Apple computers, having used them since 1988. Luther is his favorite theologian, Bach his favorite composer, James Taylor his favorite singer-songwriter, Chicago his favorite city, and hiking his favorite form of exercise. He would love to do more with photography and dreams of having a place in the mountains of Arizona some day. His heart has been captured by the grace of God in Jesus Christ and considers himself a post-evangelical disciple seeking a Jesus-shaped life and hoping to help the church do the same. He is forever grateful to his friend, Michael Spencer, for giving him an opportunity to write for Internet Monk.

The Incomparable Ken Medema

In 1974, my youth pastor invited an amazingly gifted pianist and singer to visit our youth group and perform at our church. His name was Ken Medema. Despite blindness, he had remarkable talent as an instrumentalist, vocalist, and creative songwriter. His enthusiasm was infectious, his humor hilarious, the depth of feeling by which he communicated […]

A Brief Lutheran Statement on the Arts

Here is another statement on the use of music (and other arts) in worship, this from the Evangelical Lutheran Church. We present this as yet another example of how churches and Christian traditions are thinking about these matters. This brief summary is taken from the ELCA publication, The Use of the Means of Grace. You […]

C.S. Lewis — The Conservative Worshiper

One of the clearest statements of what might be termed the “conservative” position on the practice of worship was made by C.S. Lewis in Letters to Malcolm: Chiefly on Prayer. I wonder how you respond to it. “It looks as if they [innovative clergy] believed people can be lured to go to church by incessant […]

Ralph Martin on an Early Christian Hymn

One of the fundamental texts on worship for college and seminary students when I was in school was Ralph P. Martin’s Worship in the Early Church. I thought I’d go back to it and pull out an excerpt for our Church Music Month. So here, from his chapter on “Hymns and Spiritual Songs” is a […]

A Simple, Honest Song

Over the past week or so I’ve been enjoying Iris Dement’s new album, Sing The Delta, which the Boston Globe called, “a work of rare, unvarnished grace and power.” I’ll be doing a review later this month. For tonight, enjoy this classic song by Iris Dement. It almost always brings tears to my eyes as […]

Eric Wyse: A Theology of Music in Worship

Note from CM: In days to come, I will be introducing and interviewing Eric Wyse, the author of this post. Eric is my brother-in-law, an extremely gifted musician, and currently Director of Music at St. Bartholomew’s Episcopal Church in Nashville, TN. More about his journey on the Canterbury Trail later; for today he has contributed […]

Fr. Ernesto on Music in Orthodox Worship

Note from CM: Fr. Ernesto Obregon has been one of IM’s “liturgical gangstas” for a long time. He practices his faith in the Antiochan Orthodox tradition. We turn to him when we want insight into the theology and life of the Orthodox church. He blogs at OrthoCuban. * * * Orthodox worship involves the whole […]

Worship Is Not Sex

UPDATE: I’m sorry that so many of you have missed the point of this piece. I have been driving from Chicago all day and didn’t have opportunity to say this earlier, so please hear this now: this post is not primarily about the content of certain contemporary worship songs. I used the Lark News piece […]

What He/She Said…

Today, here are some recent quotes from folks around the blogosphere that I heartily affirm… * * * Roger E. Olson, “What do I mean when I say the Bible is ‘trustworthy?’” Note from CM: One of Michael Spencer’s conflicts with evangelicalism was over its insistence on a biblicism that requires the foundation of inerrancy. […]

Psunday Psalms: The First Song of Praise

Psunday Psalms Devotional Thoughts on the Psalms * * * When I behold Your heavens, the work of Your fingers, the moon and stars that You put in place, what is man that You have been mindful of him, mortal man that You have taken note of him, that you have made him a little […]