FREE SONG: "My God My King"; Review: God's Great Dance Floor (Martin Smith); Book: Paul (NT Wright); Article: "Brokenness & Restoration"
Welcome to Digital Worship News, Edition 75. This issue includes 4 different resources. First is a book review of "Paul: In Fresh Perspective", a book by historian and theologian N.T. Wright. Second is an album review of the new recording "God's Great Dance Floor: Step 1" by Martin Smith! Third, "Brokenness & Restoration in the Last Century" is an article discussing the last hundred years of national brokenness, how we got there and some examples of hope. Finally, we have a free song "My God My King" (by duo All Sons & Daughters) for you as our download of the week- available in both MP3 audio and chord chart!
blessings, Kim Gentes
BOOK REVIEW: "Paul In Fresh Perspective"- N.T. Wright
NT Wright has two kinds of primary writing that I am aware of- the scholarly tomes debating and explaining nuances of his theological positions to other academics (such as Jesus and the Victory of God) and the short but complete books meant for summary and concision of a topic for use by pastors and lay people (such as Simply Christian). When I first got my paperback of "Paul: In Fresh Perspective" I assumed it would be a book in the second style- pastoral, easily read and without the dense pressure of theological details. I was right, and wrong.
In this book, Wright definitely is aiming to speak concisely and clearly about a deeply complex set of issues. And in that, the author succeeds marvelously. The book is easy to follow, well structured and moves clearly from point to point, in a building progression. But the book does not "boil down" the points of Pauline theology into a few clichéd notes. Instead Wright grasps with the breadth of not just our perspectives, but with Paul's. In doing so he turns the understanding of Paul's theology away from our context and into Paul's 1st century, monotheistic, Jewish worldview intersecting with the Greek philosophical underpinnings which were itself pounding its ideologies onto the imperial Roman world.
Wright compresses Paul's world into seventeen deft pages of introduction that orients the reader for the journey to discovering- what was Paul really saying about Jesus, the Spirit, Israel, salvation and God. It would be hard to stack together a work that collapses so many controversial theological pivot points as Wright has done here. But he has done it, and done it without sounding defensive, contradictory or condescending. More than that- he has done it convincingly...
Over 15 years ago, I remember listening to the cardboard-packaged CDs from the UK called "Cutting Edge 1 & 2" and "Cutting Edge 3 & 4". As I heard "Did You Feel The Mountains Tremble", "I Could Of Your Love Forever" and "Find Me In The River" my heart soared, arms lifted and tears welled in my eyes. I remember feeling that finally someone was playing my music. In that moment, I knew that "church music" was changed for the rest of my lifetime. Those albums, and the songs on them, were the first fruits of a crop of fresh worship that was to come from the UK, heralded most prominently by the worship leaders/songwriters Matt Redman and the incredible band Delirious.
Delirious' leader singer and main songsmith, Martin Smith, has come full circle of that place - writing new songs from and for the local church. Reading a recent biography of Martin Smith, it sounds like he is stepped into a time of community in a local church plant in his native UK. It is from this seedbed of connection and community that Martin and his songs have re-emerged in this new album "God's Great Dance Floor: Step 1"....
ARTICLE: "Brokenness & Restoration in the Last Century"
...Historically, collectivism and individuality have been counter-weights on an ever tepid scale, helping to keep the human race in a complex balance of personal and social health. In languishing times for either scope (societal or personal) survival was made possible through the strength of the other.
When individual vitality in a given culture was under attack, the strength of the collective would protect and eventually re-tip the balance back to the individual over time. The societies of the European monastics were an example of community protecting individuals and core values of our civilization through the dark ages, when individuals had little power, crushed under the weight of barbarism and the later feudal systems. Similarly, the society of AA became a collective conscience and community that proved (and still does) to be an effective cure for millions of individuals who might have thought themselves as hopeless. In both cases, constructs of community became vanguards to heal and "save" the individual. These are beautiful examples of the positive power of collectivism.
Conversely, when societal structure and collectivism became a cancer, individual heroes rose up and rallied their contemporaries to a sense of living for the greater good. Iconic historical figures such as Jesus, Joan of Arc, apostle Paul (the first person to write significantly in a historical document about equality between different classes, races and genders), William Wilberforce, Abraham Lincoln, and Martin Luther King stood up against entire societies to wrench freedom from the collective cultures of their day in hopes of dispersing its benefits to individuals, oppressed and broken as they were. These heroes showed us a new way of living rightly as individuals, even in the face of oppressive societies.
Turning our particular attention to the late 20th century and early 21st century in North America...
FREE SONG: "My God My King" - All Sons & Daughters
The new album "All Sons and Daughters: Live" is a beautiful collection of fresh songs, done with wholehearted devotion. One of my favorite songs on that album is "My God My King". A simple song of devotion, declaration and Psalm-like surrender from our heart to the King. As with other songs on this album, I found myself getting out my guitar and playing along. As the crisp lyrics rose of out my heart I was reminded of Psalm 9 and the similar theme and words used there to express thanks and praise. I love where it echos that thanksgiving for God's goodness :
For You've been good always
You're good always
I encourage you to download BOTH the mp3 and the chord chart and engage with this song. Many thanks to my friends at Integrity Music for giving us permission to post this...