A Paranetic Diatribe on Two Totally Unrelated Subjects

Hello boys and girls!  It’s been a while since I last posted.  I’ve been busy with our church’s Christmas music program, (which we presented last night), and my final project for my online biblical hermeneutics class, (which I turned in today!)  Woohoo!  So I thought I would blog about these two unrelated events, since they are fresh in my mind. 

First, my hermeneutics project.  I just love hermeneutics!  I’m not really very good at it, but I do love it.  For those of you morons who don’t know what hermeneutics is, let me enlighten you.  Biblical hermeneutics is a fancy schmancy way of saying Bible study.  That’s right…hermeneutics is the process of how we study the Bible.  I know this sounds weird, but here I am almost 50 years old, having grown up in a Baptist preacher’s home and been in ministry for over a quarter of a century, and I never really knew how to study the Bible.  To carefully observe the text, then interpret it and lastly, but not leastly(?) apply it.  Yeah, I kinda sorta knew, but it wasn’t until I took this class that it all came together for me.  So anyways, I finished my final project that was supposed to be 5-7 pages, double spaced, tahoma font.  It was only after I uploaded my paper and headed home, that I realized I wrote a seven page paper, SINGLE SPACE!  Oh, crud!  So I told Sally that I was going back to the office to cut some fat out of the paper and resend the double spaced version.  I would certainly hate to get a bad grade for having too much information and because I didn’t follow instruction regarding line spaceage.  (I did use tahoma font, for what it’s worth.)  Anyway, by the time I got back to the office to redo the paper, it was too late.  My professor had already read it and graded it!  And I got an A, so…let that be a lesson to you kids, always use tahoma font, and um… don’t follow the rules…oh crud, that’s not right, but you get the idea. 

Now my second subject is our Christmas music program.  I don’t know if I should ask this, but, oh well, here goes.  Is there something wrong with me?  Really, I think there’s something very wrong with me.  You see, my choir presented probably one of the best performances they’ve ever done.  They sang a variety of carols, some traditional, some contemporary, some classical, and even some southern gospel.  They did an outstanding job.  But here’s the deal, for the first half of the program, the audience didn’t respond.  No applause, no “amen,” no “what was that?!”  It was kind of awkward.  It kind of threw me for a loop.  I got so distracted by it that I kept miscueing the choir on when to stand up and sit down.  It wasn’t until we brought the kids in and sang “Happy Birthday, Jesus” that the audience clapped.  They also applauded for the southern gospel quartet song and the final Hallelujah Chorus.  So I ask you, is it me?  Am I too wrapped up in needing affirmation?  Am I making it all about performance?  I understand that some people feel it’s inappropriate to clap in worship.  I don’t necessarily agree with that practice, but I understand it.  But this was a performance of some very powerful Christmas songs in which the choir sang magnificently.  And I guess it just felt like the audience was rating our performance when they selected random songs to applaud and others to stay silent.  It reminds me of the scripture where Jesus says, “I’d rather you be hot or cold.”  We should either never clap or consistently clap, but the in-between stuff gets really awkward.  Okay, it’s just me, never mind.  I’m over thinking this.  Here’s the bottom line for me.  If I’m in the audience and I’m moved by a performance, I’m going to clap.  I want the person who is sharing their gifts in worship to know that I’m with them.  I agree with what they are singing about.  I’m applauding God for creating such beautiful music and voices.  I’m applauding as a way to join with all the others who are applauding, to say “God is worthy of all we are and all we have to offer Him!”

“Clap your hands, all you nations; shout to God with cries of joy.  How awesome is the Lord Most High, the great King over all the earth.”    Psalm 47:1-2