Posts Tagged InterVarsity

Diverse Worship Matters

I deeply appreciate these videos created by InterVarsity’s video production crew, twentyonehundred . They have re-framed the conversation about worship styles to emphasis something that I’ve always believed – that worship should be diverse in style out of love and mutual submission  that looks a lot like sharing a meal together.

These clips could function as a good conversation starter for a team of musicians, pastors, youth leaders, etc who are exploring the idea of diverse worship. It’s also a breath of fresh air in a time when the church is having hard and painful conversations about race and ethnicity. Brothers and sisters in Christ do need to have hard conversations, but they need to happen in the context of relationships that are fueled by gospel-based hospitality.

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Congratulations, Michelle

I’ve known Michelle Higgins for about 20 years. We were in the youth group together at New City Fellowship (PCA) in Chattanooga. We also attended Chattanooga Christian School together where we both sang in the choir and even performed in a stage adaptation of “Pride and Prejudice” together. (I was Mr. Darcy and Michelle was the mother, “Mrs. Bennett.”) Later, in college, we were ministry interns at that same church for a summer where we had some crazy times learning about how to love and serve as church staff. Later, we were able to hang out again when she and her family relocated back to St Louis where I currently live. Michelle came here to get her MDiv from Covenant Theological Seminary, the denominational seminary of the Presbyterian Church in America. Since then, we’ve been able to collaborate on a number of events and our churches, New City Fellowship in St Louis (PCA) and South City Church (PCA) have been able to grow together as sister congregations in our presbytery.

I finally got to watch her talk this morning (I’ve been chasing my kids around, gimme a break) and I want to say that I personally endorse and support everything she said. I know she’s getting flack about what was said about adoption/abortion, and I want to say a hearty “AMEN” about her comments. I am now an adoptive parent and I have been a foster parent of 10 other children. I believe that abortion is murder, but the church in America can’t shout about abortion legislation without putting foster care and adoption in that same conversation.

If you watch her message at Urbana 2015 and think that she’s “blaming white people” or promoting hate of some kind, then I’m sharing all this to let you know from my personal experience that Michelle Higgins loves White folks. Her life is a testimony of the reconciling power of the Holy Spirit to break down the walls of division. In my 20 years of knowing her, she has been a compassionate and prophetic voice to both White and Black folks (and more).

I deeply respect her for being willing to say things that will get criticized. I’m not too comfortable even writing this endorsement because of the flack that I might get! But we need prophetic voices to say these things and not flinch. So, Michelle, thank you and congratulations for how God is using you at such a time as this.

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The Boomers and another Twin Oaks visit

It was a pretty full weekend for me and my family. My fingers are hurting from so much playing. That’s a good feeling.

Friday night, I was able to finally participate in “The Boomers”, a rotating line-up of musicians under the leadership of the incomparable, Hal Bush. I have to take my hat off to Hal for what was the most impressive birthday party that I’ve ever attended. Hal’s wife Hiroko was turning 50, and Hal went all out to show how much he loved her. Playing with the Boomers gave me a chance to work on my “wedding band” chops. We played some Beatles and other assorted “oldies”. I played my first ever Chuck Barry-esque solo on “I Saw Her Standing There”.  A lot of our church community was there as well as a lot of Hal and Hiroko’s other friends and family. It was great to spend time just having a party and enjoying the spirit of celebration and community. Thank you, Hal. (It was also great to not be in charge!)

Saturday and Sunday included our usual rehearsals, but we had a special guests on Sunday. The Visions Gospel Choir from Washington University was at New City Fellowship and they shared a few songs. It was awesome to see this large choir of young people who are excited about singing praise to the King. My favorite moment of the morning was singing “Better Than Life” and hearing the choir over to my right blasting out in harmony.

Sunday night, we headed out once again to Twin Oaks Presbyterian to participate in the Sanctity of Human Life service. Lori Pagano, Tracy Bell and Parker Loveless joined me from NCF and Ryan McMillen from Chesterfield Presbyterian was there on the keys. Dale Zarlenga directed the choir and hooked us up with an excellent drummer and bass player from Twin Oaks (Nate and Brian). It was another great opportunity to connect with the PCA community in St Louis in deeper ways.

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