Wednesday, April 1, 2020

The Story of Reality – Music Story

Christianity makes exclusive truth claims, truth claims based on the Bible. For instance, Christianity claims that we are highly created, deeply fallen and in need of a Savior. Jesus, and no one else, is that Savior.

Our culture wants us to believe that these exclusive truth claims marginalize people. Do they?

Christianity tells us that we have inherent dignity and worth. We are created in God’s image. Even the most marginalized person bears the image of God. But we are deeply fallen. We victimize the vulnerable. We oppress the defenseless. So, God took special care to ensure that the most defenseless, the most easily victimized, would be treated with dignity and fairness. Check the original documents. God’s laws protected the most vulnerable – women, the poor, orphans, widows, day laborers, debtors, foreigners.[1]

Our culture divides people into two groups: those who are oppressed and those who do the oppressing. Our culture tells us that oppressed people can better understand reality. Their “lived experience” gives them privileged access to truth about oppression. Their special insight makes it possible for them to free themselves and their oppressors.

Christianity disagrees. The Bible tells us that Jesus is the truth. According to Jesus, the real story about people is that all are slaves to sin. No one can free themselves. Jesus came to set us free. And if Jesus sets us free, we are truly free.[2] Christianity, not our culture, tells what is true about man. Christianity, not our culture, tells the story of reality.

How are we to live in a culture that thinks poorly of Christianity’s truth claims? Paul in Colossians tells us to:
Live wisely among those are not believers, and make the most of every opportunity. Let your conversation be gracious and attractive so that you will have the right response for everyone.[3]

We are to take the most of every opportunity to graciously and attractively share the story of reality! From the album “A ChorusBook” this video is scrolling playback of the song.

Our culture divides people into two groups. Click here to read how this differs from Christianity.
Jesus died to make two groups one! Click here to read how he does this.

You can get print (PDF) sheet music for the Story of Reality.
The Story of Reality
Click here for print sheet music.

[1] Deuteronomy 24
[2] John 8:34-37
[3] Colossians 4:5-6 NLT

Sunday, March 22, 2020

The Wall – Music Story

An emergency room physician in the Chicago area has tested positive for COVID-19. Illinois Governor J.B. Pritzker issued a stay at home order effective March 21st through April 7th. We are not on lockdown. Nor are we under martial law. We are to “shelter in place” in order to curb the spread of the coronavirus. Our homes provide physical barriers against infection. Walls protect us.

There is another disease that is just as pandemic as COVID-19. It is the disease of anger and resentment fueled by privilege and exclusion. Walls cannot protect against this disease. Walls exacerbate it.

Today’s social justice movement teaches that our identity is found in a group, either an oppressed group or an oppressor group; that individual identity is on lockdown, inseparable from group identity. People “shelter in place” according to identity markers such as race, economic class, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, physical ability, age, weight, etc., feeling “safe” in their group and “threatened” when the norms, values, and expectations of society exclude them. By resisting dominant power today’s social justice movement seeks to liberate groups that are oppressed. Today’s social justice movement sees Christianity with its exclusive truth claims as oppressive.

Group identities separate people. The lockdown fuels anger and resentment. Today’s social justice movement cannot end the war between privilege and exclusion. But a new identity can! The wall separating people groups crumbles when people share the same identity. That’s what Jesus accomplished when he died for us.

For he himself is our peace, who has made the two one and has destroyed the barrier, the dividing wall of hostility.[1]

Jesus won the war between privilege and exclusion. He won it on the cross. His death ended our anger and resentment. It ended at the cross. Jesus tore down the wall of separation. He is our peace. He made us one.

From the album “This and That” this video is scrolling playback of a song based on Ephesians Chapter 2.

Click here to read Ephesians 2.
Click here for an overview of Critical Theory, the social justice movement making inroads in our culture and church.

You can get sheet music for The Wall at the MusicStories Shop on
The Wall
Click here for sheet music. 

[1] Ephesians 2:14 NIV

Friday, January 3, 2020

Rend the Heavens – Music Story

What was wrong with the nation?
According to Isaiah, ordinary citizens were what was wrong with the nation. They were embracing pagan customs: they practiced divination and bowed down to the work of their hands.[1] Isaiah prayed:
Oh, that you would rend the heavens and come down … The nations would tremble before you; then your enemies would learn the reason for your fame! … But we are not godly; we are constant sinners and have been all our lives. Therefore, your wrath is heavy on us.[2]

What is wrong with the church?
According to Jesus,[3] ordinary church goers like me are what is wrong with the church.
I am what’s wrong with the church when I practice loveless doctrine.
I am what’s wrong with the church when I expect to be rescued from the unjust or cruel use of power.
I am what’s wrong with the persecuted church when I excuse sexual immorality in the church or embrace pagan customs.
I am what’s wrong with the serving church when I think social justice requires the endorsement of sexual immorality or paganism.
I am what’s wrong with the church when my faith is dead.
I am what’s wrong with the church when I don’t walk through the door Jesus has opened for me.
I am what’s wrong with the church when my worship is lukewarm.

What’s wrong with the church?
Me! I am! I am what’s wrong with the church.
Jesus asks the church – me! – to repent.

From the album “Sing” this video is scrolling playback of the song.
Click here to read how today’s social justice movement differs from the teachings of Jesus.

“Was Jesus just a spiritual leader like Buddha, Krishna, Confucius, and Muhammad? Or is he something more – something else entirely?” Ken Samples evaluates these religious leaders in God among Sages and shows that Jesus is more than a spiritual leader. He is God himself.

You can get print (PDF) and/or digital (MusicXML™) sheet music for Rend the Heavens.
Rend the Heavens
Click here for print sheet music for wind quintet and piano.
Rend the Heavens
Click here for digital sheet music for wind quintet and piano.
(MusicXML™ is the standard open format for sharing digital sheet music. Check the help files in your music notation app for directions on importing MusicXML™ files.)

[1] Isaiah 2:6-8
[2] Isaiah Chapter 64
[3] Revelation Chapters 2 & 3