“Into” the Mystery

by Pastor Larry DeBruyn for Contemporary Church, Music

On Musical Mediatrixes

But God, being rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us . . . seated us with Him in the heavenly places, in Christ Jesus . . . Ephesians 2:4-6

The Matrix: Though defying rational explanation, it is what it is. Foremost, music is spiritual. In whatever venue, whether a rock concert, a national anthem before a sporting event, a funeral, a military parade, or a church worship service, etc.—music delivers powerful experiences to its hearers. Music’s subliminal message can prove mind-altering. One newspaper columnist accounts for its popularity for reason that, “Music is a vehicle that propels [the disc jockey]—and me and so many others—toward the place we might call enlightenment, or God, or the higher consciousness, or Grace.” [1]

But not only is music spiritual, it is also mystical. Like hand in glove, the spiritual and the mystical work together with an interconnectedness that defies rational explanation because however else it might be understood, music is an experience. “Feel the music,” ran an advertisement for the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra a few years ago. It may be deduced that the “language” of music is universal because it is neither conceptual nor verbal, but rather experiential and mystical. It’s a language without language. Together. people from different nations and tongues can experience it. Subject to the individual impulses, tastes, and delights of composers and consumers, there is much about music that is ethereal.
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No Fear

by Pastor Larry DeBruyn for Contemporary Church

On the Moral Collapse in the Pan-Evangelical Nation.

There is no fear of God before their eyes.” (Romans 3:18, KJV)

Circa 600 B.C. Indicting the people of his day, Jeremiah described that; they “swear falsely,” “refused to take correction,” “refused to repent,” “do not know the way of the Lord or the ordinance of their God,” “were well-fed lusty horses, each one neighing after his neighbor’s wife,” “bend their tongue like their bow“; that “lies and not truth prevail in the land“; that their “sons have forsaken Me and sworn by those who are not gods“; and that “every brother deals craftily and every neighbor goes about as a slanderer” (See Jeremiah 5:1-9, 26-28; 9:3-6). Déjà vu! Any reader of Jeremiah and the other prophets cannot help but notice the uncanny resemblance between the society of Judah then and the evangelical sub-culture now. Fast forward to . . .
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“Feelings Driven” Christians

by Pastor Larry DeBruyn for Contemporary Church

On Faith, Facts, and Feelings in the Christian Life.

Our society is passionate. We feel strongly about politics, religion and other issues. Frequently, I hear people state they are really “passionate” about this or that. For decades now, the sensate has come to dominate how in our culture people view life. People determine the validity of things not by whether they are right or wrong, but rather by whether it makes them feel good or bad about themselves. Joel Osteen makes people feel good about themselves. With his message of “hope and change,” Barack Obama did the same during his election campaign, and became President of the United States. This is the manner of contemporary culture, and I am concerned that it has also become the way of culturally driven Christians who have immersed themselves in the contemporary way of doing church.
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Religious Excitements

by Pastor Larry DeBruyn for Contemporary Church, Mysticism

The Sights, Sounds, and Spectacles of Spurious Spirituality.

We reject all shameful and underhanded methods. We do not try to trick anyone, and we do not distort the word of God. We tell the truth before God, and all who are honest know that. The Apostle Paul, 2 Corinthians 4:2, NLT

Along with other Americans, I am a sports fan, especially of football and basketball. I grew up loving, playing, and watching both sports, especially basketball. After shoveling the snow off his driveway in the dead of winter, for hours at a time I used to shoot the round ball at a goal attached to my neighbor’s garage. During cold and snowy winter months, my father would drive me to Godwin Field House to watch our local semi-pro team, the Grand Rapids (Michigan) “Tackers,” play on Saturday evenings. (In that day, my hometown was known as the furniture capital of the world; hence the name “Tackers.”). Although the players were not nationally known, watching big and skilled men play a finesse game was an awesome experience for a young boy. In my late teens, I regularly played pick-up games on public courts around the city. Because I was more force than finesse, I earned the nickname “junk man.” Today, as a half-season ticket holder of the Indiana Pacers, I still enjoy watching the biggest-best athletes in the world compete in the NBA.
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