To Be Overthrown

We can’t come to God under our own steam; we haven’t the strength. But with his radical intervention, he can give us strength to become his.

Holy Sonnet XIV

Batter my heart, three-person’d God ; for you
As yet but knock; breathe, shine, and seek to mend;
That I may rise, and stand, o’erthrow me, and bend
Your force, to break, blow, burn, and make me new.
I, like an usurp’d town, to another due,
Labour to admit you, but O, to no end.
Reason, your viceroy in me, me should defend,
But is captived, and proves weak or untrue.
Yet dearly I love you, and would be loved fain,
But am betroth’d unto your enemy ;
Divorce me, untie, or break that knot again,
Take me to you, imprison me, for I,
Except you enthrall me, never shall be free,
Nor ever chaste, except you ravish me.
John Donne

Premises for Diverse Expressions of Worship

As a worship leader married to a dancer in a church that is mostly made up of non-demonstrative people, the discussion of certain expressions of worship comes up repeatedly for me — in particular, the question of whether dancing, raising hands, speaking in tongues, kneeling, and the use of certain modern instruments such as drums are acceptable expressions of Christian worship.

It’s not the leaders that have the difficulty. It’s folks in the congregation from a variety of backgrounds that may be familiar with social prohibitions against some of these practices.

So I jotted down a few thoughts on the subject.
Continue reading Premises for Diverse Expressions of Worship

Goodbye, Farewell

Larry Norman died on Sunday.

To me he was one of those real, principled, flawed, human people that you revere not because they’re perfect, but because they’re all too aware of their imperfections, and haven’t justified them nor succumbed to despair about them.

I wish I’d known Larry better. I just know that he was one of the most influential musicians of his generation, influencing U2, John Mellencamp, The Pixies… not to mention the entire Contemporary Christian Music industry.

He spent a lot of time dying. He nearly died in airplane accident in the late ’70s, he nearly died of heart failure in the early ’90s, and has been on the verge of death ever since. And yet he inspired countless musicians in deep ways. Chris Willman, senior music writer for Entertainment Weekly, said:

His influence outweighed his sales so much that it’s comical. He certainly had a heart for evangelism — almost to his detriment, I might say. He really could’ve been a star if he were singing about something other than Jesus.”
Christianity Today

This fact gives me hope that the transcendent power of Jesus when transmitted through his followers can still dramatically influence this planet.

Certainly his influence on me personally and musically has been profound. I will never forget taking up the offering for him in Edmonton in 1994, or handing out handbills advertising his concert at a DC Talk show and answering “Who is Larry Norman” in five seconds or less over and over again.

Who is Larry Norman? He’s the Godfather of Christian Rock, man. He’s the reason you’re here, because the people you’re listening to are who and what and where they are because he paved the way for them.

Goodbye, Larry. We’ll meet again.

LarryNorman.com

Suriname

My eldest son, Thálion, is travelling to Suriname this summer. He’ll be doing construction and demolition work there. His mother and I are unspeakably proud of him.

This will be his first trip overseas, the first trip without his family. It’s an incredible opportunity. It will change him. It will mature him. He won’t return the same boy that left.

He will need much prayer. He will need some finances. If you are interested in supporting Thálion this summer, or would like to know more about what he’s doing, visit his website at thalion.jasonfriesen.ca.

Christmas Music

I just love walking into the grocery store in November and hearing Christmas music. There’s just something inherently cool about it.

I know it drives some people crazy. Maybe it’s an association with commercialism. So, it’s okay to buy nothing for Christmas. Maybe it’s the huge array of cheesy Christmas music. Listen, there’s tonnes of Christmas music out there; I guarantee there’s something in your taste.

To me, maybe it’s just the fact that people who have no real emotional or ideological attachment to Christianity are hearing, over and over, somewhere under the squeak of shopping carts and beeps and dings of cash registers, something like:

Hail the heaven-born Prince of Peace!
Hail the Son of Righteousness!
Light and life to all He brings,
risen with healing in His wings.
Mild He lays His glory by,
born that man no more may die
Born to raise the sons of earth,
born to give them second birth
Hark the herald angels sing,
“Glory to the newborn King”

That’s so cool.

Forum

New forum up at jasonfriesen.ca/worshipforum/.

Set list and confirmed participants.

Discuss Worship Philosophy

Faith and Reason

Awhile back, CBC Radio interviewed Sam Harris on his book, The End of Faith: Religion, Terror, and the Future of Reason. I was actually shocked at how neutral the interviewer was: not once did he speak as though he assumed Mr Harris’ views had any validity whatsoever. All the same, I found myself finding bits and pieces of Harris’ message that were actually valuable.
Continue reading Faith and Reason