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Location: Greensboro, NC, United States

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Andrew Peterson, etc.

I just learned this past weekend that Andrew Peterson will be doing a Christmas concert at Westover Church on December 16. Lord willing, I'll be attending. I've seen him twice before, but it's been a few years, so I'm looking forward to it. That said, thinking of Andrew Peterson reminds me of a story.

A few years back we had a couple of Contemporary Christian radio stations in the area. I was riding in my car one day and listening to one of them when Andrew's song "Nothing To Say" came on. Here are the lyrics:

Hey, Jamie would you mind driving down this road awhile
Arizona's waiting on these eyes
Rich is on the radio, and I think we ought to take it slow
Arizona's caught me by surprise

Hey, Jamie, have you heard, 'A picture paints a thousand words'
But the photographs don't tell it all
I see the eagle swim the canyon sea, creation yawns in front of me
Oh Lord, I never felt so small

And I don't believe that I believed in You as deeply as today
I reckon what I'm saying is there's nothing more, nothing more to say

And the mountains sing Your glory, hallelujah
The canyons echo sweet amazing grace
My spirit sails, the mighty gales are bellowing Your name
And I've gotten nothing to say
No, I've got nothing to say

Hey, Jamie, do you see I'm broken by this majesty
So much glory in so little time
So turn off the radio, let's listen to the songs we know
All praise to Him who reigns on high

And I don't believe that I believed in You as deeply as today
I reckon what I'm saying is there's nothing more, nothing more to say

And the mountains sing Your glory, hallelujah
The canyons echo sweet amazing grace
My spirit sails, the mighty gales are bellowingYour name
And I've gotten nothing to say
No, I've got nothing to say

Glory, glory hallelujah
Glory, glory hallelujah
Glory, glory hallelujah
hallelujah

And the mountains sing Your glory, hallelujah
The canyons echo sweet amazing grace
My spirit sails, the mighty gales are bellowing Your name
And I've gotten nothing to say
No, I've got nothing to say

Hey Jamie would you mind driving down this road awhile
Arizona's caught me by surprise

It's a beautiful song of rejoicing in God's creation. But the lyrics weren't there in the radio version in full. Someone, in process of preparing the track for play on air, had edited out a couple of lines:

So turn off the radio, let's listen to the songs we know
All praise to Him who reigns on high

Having the CD, and having listened to the song many times, I recognized the change immediately. Could it have been a one time thing? No, I heard this station play the song many times after this, and it was the same version each time. The two lines had been cut from the original version of the song.

And why? It was obvious. They didn't want anyone to get the idea to "turn off the radio". Not if it was to glory in God's creation, or for any other reason. CCM radio stations are businesses. And if you aren't listening, they can't sell commercial time slots. Worship, shmorship. Time is money.

Socialism is unbiblical. And yet there are places where certain approaches to Capitalism clash with Christianity, and this is one of those places. If Christ is not the center, then Capitalism just descends into another form of idolatry. And Christian marketing has, in many ways, become a haven of idolatry.

I am reminded of the choice, made about five years ago, on the part of the higher ups of Family Christian Stores, to start opening their stores on Sundays. Now, the days of Sabbath observance are long gone in our country, and so it was only natural that if Christians weren't going to observe the Lord's Day, then the businesses that cater to them would soon follow suit. But what got to me the most was the sale flyer I received from Family Christian around that time. In the place where the hours of the stores were listed, there was a bold announcement: "Now open in between services!"

"Who do they think they are fooling," I thought to myself. But it was soon clear to me. They were fooling darn near everyone. We worship Christian celebrities - they are above blemish in our eyes. Our worship music sounds, not like rock (if it did it would be better), but like the music made for TV commercials. And our church buildings look like office buildings.

We worship the Culture of Commerce. It should be no surprise to us that God has allowed us to get into such an economic mess.

But, in this mess, maybe it is the best time to take Andrew Peterson's advice. Maybe we should turn our eyes back to the wonders of creation and, through it, to the God of Creation. Maybe God has slowed us down in order that we may return to Him, the Author of all blessings. Maybe, just as Israel was sent into captivity due to their violation of the Sabbath, and in order that their hearts may return to Yahweh, He has done the same to us that we may return from our captivity.

We may call it a crisis, and it is, in some sense. But God calls it an opportunity, and so we should treat it as such.

1 Comments:

Anonymous Jim said...

good one, Kerry.

2:17 PM  

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