Evolutionary Hymn by C. S. Lewis

Genius!

Lead us, Evolution, lead us
Up the future’s endless stair;
Chop us, change us, prod us, weed us.
For stagnation is despair:
Groping, guessing, yet progressing,
Lead us nobody knows where.

Wrong or justice, joy or sorrow,
In the present what are they
while there’s always jam-tomorrow,
While we tread the onward way?
Never knowing where we’re going,
We can never go astray.

To whatever variation
Our posterity may turn
Hairy, squashy, or crustacean,
Bulbous-eyed or square of stern,
Tusked or toothless, mild or ruthless,
Towards that unknown god we yearn.

Ask not if it’s god or devil,
Brethren, lest your words imply
Static norms of good and evil
(As in Plato) throned on high;
Such scholastic, inelastic,
Abstract yardsticks we deny.

Far too long have sages vainly
Glossed great Nature’s simple text;
He who runs can read it plainly,
‘Goodness = what comes next.’
By evolving, Life is solving
All the questions we perplexed.

Oh then! Value means survival-
Value. If our progeny
Spreads and spawns and licks each rival,
That will prove its deity
(Far from pleasant, by our present,
Standards, though it may well be).

Merry Christmas!

The Jewish Messiah might not have been born on December 25th, AD Zero. (It was may have been springtime; the exact year is debated.) He may have had an entirely ordinary name (Joshua).

Nevertheless, he was born, lived a life free of the usual human errors, preached a remarkable Message for a brief three-year period, was executed by a collusion of religious and governmental leaders, and miraculously returned to life. And one day, every sentient being, willingly or not, will acknowledge Jesus as Master of the Universe.

He changed the lives of those he met. Those he changed were so completely transformed that their eyewitness testimony of the Messiah, combined with experiences of Yahweh choosing to live inside them, likewise transformed the planet.

And December 25 is as good a day to remember and celebrate that birth as any.

Merry Christmas, everybody.

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