The Courage to Sing

musicThe third and final section of Andy Crouch’s The Tech-Wise Family involves singing and showing up.  It is the shortest section of the book, but it still packs a punch with content.  On some level, the content of this final section is a bit more abstract, a little more difficult in its practicality for some.  The final chapter, about showing up, concerns Crouch’s commitment to strive to be present when invited to a major life moment of friends and family members.  He readily admits to the difficulty of that challenge, but he also bears witness to the joy that results from it.

The other section of note is about the significance of song (and the weird ways song has been displaced in contemporary culture).  For the Christian, of course, singing is intimately tied to worship.

Worship brings us to the real truth about the world, its original intention and its ultimate meaning, and our responsibility in it. And this is not just a matter of merely knowing that truth; we must respond with our whole being to that truth and the One who is the source of that truth.

And so what is a family to do, particularly in our world of manufactured-not-played music?  And assuming music can be present, what role does it or should it play?  For Crouch, a big part of music and singing involves courage.  Crouch:

But worship is actually more like a form of training— practicing, week after week, ideally in the presence of others who are further along in faith than we are, the exertion of our heart, mind, soul, and strength in the direction of giving glory to God. And Christians believe that God actually responds and moves in the midst of our worship: when we gather ourselves to offer him praise, he in turn dwells with us. At its best, worship transforms us, making us people capable of things we could never work up the capacity or courage for on our own: the ability to sacrifice, to love, to repent, to forgive, and to hope.

All of life, of course, is worship.  And singing can be a key part of that, a real means of formation.  It’s interesting to contrast churches where worship is a given meant to evoke emotional response with churches where worship is seen as a way of training the heart to see and feel beyond the present moment.

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It’s amazing how comprehensive The Tech-Wise Family is (and all while being a compact book with its fair share of diagrams based on data from the Barna Group).  The book exemplifies thinking Christianly about a significant-yet-touchy subject.  We are enjoined throughout the Bible to seek wisdom and good counsel.  This is the best example of that for day-to-day life since I was led to the Rule of Saint Benedict over a decade ago.  The handful of reflections I’ve posted here cannot do the book justice.  You can order your own copy here.  If you read it, let me know what you think.

(image from cambridge.org)

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