Tuesday, July 11, 2006

The Pure and Ancient Stream

I am listening to an Internet streaming audio service called "Ancient Faith". It is Eastern Orthodox in origin, and, as I listen to the music I am aware of how alien the melodies often are. Yet, at the same time, I taste the familiar flavours of my own faith. I do not mean the "Lutheran faith", but something much more ancient, yet pure, coming from the pre-reformation faith that goes back to biblical times.

I am sure that is the effect that "Ancient Faith" radio is trying to achieve. But all contrivances aside, it is worth thinking about that we "orthodox" Christians can taste the flavour of the water when we hear it, if there is any trace of it in the stream from which we "drink".

Jesus said, "my sheep hear my voice and they follow me". "they will never follow a stranger; in fact, they will run away from him because they do not recognize a stranger's voice" (John 10.5.

There is "worship music" that I will run away from - as anyone who really knows me will attest. (Even at District functions, I blush to admit, I have to leave the room when THAT sort of music comes on). Yet, it is not the fact that such sounds are "not Lutheran" (although often they are not). It is that they do not taste right to me.

If you are thinking that I am giving way to subjectivity here and its really just "a matter of taste", you misunderstand. I do not claim it is objectively demonstrable, yet I insist it is more than mere subjectivism when I say that the water from the pure and ancient stream has a detectable flavour.

Just as pollutants may also be detected occasionally, so the pure thing can also be detected by the soul. So, at the very least, please give me credit for not being biased in favour of only one kind of worship music. Nor should it be said of me that I am trapped in one particular culture or something (i.e. German).

Its just that I can taste it when I am getting the pure stuff or some lame musical counterpart to “junk food”. Bon appetite!


Lawrence said...

I look forward to more dicussions of "proper" church (worship) music, versus popular "inspirational" music.

E said...

Thank you for such a wonderful link (thought Ihad to google "Ancient Faith" to find it. I have since a child been attracted to the music of the ancient church yet at the same time wanting to pull away from the same. I came to realize that what I find in this music is similar to what I find in many passages I encounter during my bible study time. It is something that pushes me further and deeper into my faith and at the same time I allow that it also expects more from me, hence the love and fear for the music and its demands. I look forward to visiting your site again. Blessings to you and yours...

Renaissance Blogger

Ken / WA3FKG said...

I also will Google for the link. You can embed links in your posting if you choose. I am really enjoying your blog.

EMartinT said...

How is faith perceived in music? What familiar flavors are you tasting: reverence, majesty, power, worshipfulness? What "faith flavors" can music convery? Surely if the faith were not already planted in your heart you would not taste faith in the ancient music.

I have a hard time accepting the linkage between Jesus' sheep hearing his voice and how music "speaks" to us. I thought the voice of Jesus that I hear is in His word. How else might I "hear" Him: perhaps in the work of the true Church and true believers? Yet I do not have eyes that can discern these things with perfect clarity. I must always return to His word to interpret the world.

I remain unconvinced that you are not being subjective. You provide no substantiation of your claim that pure, "faith-flavored" music can be detected by the soul. I submit that your metaphors, although colorful and powerful, obscure your argument. How do orthodox Christians raised in very different cultures (e.g., African, Native American, Eskimo, Polynesian, Appalachian) react to this ancient music?

We can agree that musical junk food not only exists, but is currently a plague upon the American Church (the extent of my experience), both in terms of muddled and/or bafflying lyrics and lack of compositional excellence.

cheryl said...

I love "Ancient Faith Radio". I just wish you were able to play the songs back and/or download them. I hear songs/sermons that I really like, but have no way to replay them, or save them and share them with others.