An Argument with Sophie

3 thoughts on “An Argument with Sophie”

  1. If we believe that the will of God the Father cannot be thwarted and that He works all things together for good, then of course the Holy Spirit can—and always does—transcend stupid lyrics. It’s true, then, that wherever there is beauty, there is the emanation of God’s beauty, and where God is, that place will be part of the ultimately beauty that God creates in the cosmic story. For this you rightly point the reader to the glory of the almighty God.

    But how are we to recognize this and yet resist not only the pantheism that you mention but also the much greater temptation of pragmatism? After all, no Joseph fails to see the injustice of his sale into slavery in Egypt, no matter what the status it ultimately brought him and no matter what the glory it was allowed to bring to God, and no Solzhenitsyn, however much he thinks “Bless, you, prison!” for the spiritual lessons of political persecution, will fail to write a Gulag Archipelago.

    On my part, I believe that “Listen to Our Hearts” has some ill-conceived lyrics, which would be a serious issue no matter how many people found in it the means for expression of a spiritual reality, that God’s love is greater than words and that we love because He first loved us.

  2. While I do think that “Listen to Our Hearts” is somewhat ill-conceived, I also agree with many of your readers’ comments: I don’t think there’s anything theologically wrong with the lyrics per se. I don’t enjoy singing it because I resent songs that force you to feel something – and this song in particular positively reeks of emotional manipulation – , but I don’t think its inclusion in an otherwise balanced worship set is problematic.

    I sent Sophie a link to this post, and she’s given me permission to share some of her response to your comment:

    “good catch lue-yee! i feel like [Alcuin] was a little cute with the set-up of my comments (gee, i should be more careful who i talk to after church!!!), so let me clarify: i was totally just talking about artistic expression. also, when i said that God can speak through all art, i didn’t just mean warm God-fuzzy kind of revelation. it could be that a really ghastly or upsetting work of art drives you to scripture and prayer for answers. i think that everything–good or bad–has to do with God when you’re a believer, not that everything’s good or bad or ‘one’ or whatever. as to pragmatism: word up. hate that crap.”

    So there, I suppose, you have it.

  3. I am a little late, but this reminds me of Augustine’s initial review of Scriptures. I am paraphrasing generously, but I believe he said something to the effect of: It was kind of dry and surprisingly dull for the alleged Book Of Everything.

    I agree that there is something divine and to be pursued in excellence — and yet, I’ve witnessed even the most mundane, unlearned words utterly undoing the wise and cultured.

    Er. Basically: thanks. I enjoyed reading.

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