Boys and Music

Doug Wilson has 7 principles on “how to motivate young men of middle and high school age to enjoy singing well to the glory of God.” You may not agree with all of this, but I think there is some pretty good stuff here. Principle 1 talks about the priority of raising boys to be masculine. Principle 2 follows with this:

“We learn by imitation, and imitation involves persons and personal characteristics. If the music master is not the kind of man that the boys would like to be when they are grown, then they are generally going to avoid the musical pursuits that this man is offering to train them in. If the boys ahead of them in whatever discipline it is (violin lessons, piano or voice lessons, etc.) are admirable to the younger boys, then they will want to catch up with them. If not, then they won’t.”

I would add one item to this point. Principle 2 applies to all persons in pastoral ministry, not just music ministers. Boys are looking for models—exemplars of manhood. They notice when it is missing, and they will drift in its absence. This principle of “imitation” is, therefore, key for all church leaders to understand.

In principle 7, Wilson says there may be something to learn from the attraction of rock music. He writes:

“Instead of sniffing at the popularity of rock… we need to cultivate some humility at this point. We have to recognize that rock is vastly superior to more cultivated forms of music in at least one area — its ability to attract boys to music. If your theory about this is that rock does it all with half-naked girls, you haven’t thought about the subject nearly enough. The immorality of rock culture, and the inanity of the baby, baby, baby school of high poetry, are certainly worthy of our notice. But at the end of the day, they know how to do something that accomplished musicians and musical programs usually do very poorly. In the credit where credit is due department, we should be willing to try to learn what that is.”

Like I said, there’s some good stuff in Wilson’s short essay, and you can read the rest of it here.


Ross Douthat’s Exit-Strategy

Ross Douthat’s column for the NY Times argues that victory is the only exit-strategy for the war in Afghanistan. He writes:

“Here is the grim paradox of America’s involvement in Afghanistan: The darker things get and the more setbacks we suffer, the better the odds that we’ll be staying there indefinitely.

“Not the way we’re there today, with 90,000 American troops in-theater and an assortment of NATO allies fighting alongside. But if the current counterinsurgency campaign collapses, it almost guarantees that some kind of American military presence will be propping up some sort of Afghan state in 2020 and beyond. Failure promises to trap us; success is our only ticket out.”

Read the rest here.


Russell Moore on NPR

Russell Moore was on NPR’s “Weekend Edition” to discuss the Southern Baptist Convention’s response to the oil spill. Two weeks ago, the SBC passed a resolution calling on the government “to act determinatively and with undeterred resolve to end this crisis … to ensure full corporate accountability for damages, clean-up and restoration … and to ensure that government and private industry are not again caught without planning for such possibilities.”

Moore played a key role in getting this resolution passed, and he argues on NPR that Christians have to break with conservative stereotypes to rethink the issue of creation-care. He explains:

“There’s really nothing conservative — and certainly nothing evangelical — about a laissez-faire view of a lack of government regulation because we, as Christians, believe in sin… That means if people are sinful, if all of us are sinful, then all of us have to have accountability — and that includes corporations… Simply trusting corporations to go about their business without polluting the water streams and without destroying ecosystems is really a naive and utopian view of human nature. It’s not a Christian view of human nature.”

You can read the rest of the NPR report here or listen to it below.


Manute Bol’s Radical Christianity

manute-bol-spud-webbJon Shields says that Manute Bol was a fool for Christ. In an op-ed for The Wall Street Journal, Shields argues that Bol’s Christianity was authentic and fruitful, even though sports writers don’t acknowledge it. He writes:

‘Bol’s life and death throws into sharp relief the trivialized manner in which sports journalists employ the concept of redemption. In the world of sports media players are redeemed when they overcome some prior “humiliation” by playing well. Redemption then is deeply connected to personal gain and celebrity. It leads to fatter contracts, shoe endorsements, and adoring women.


‘Yet as Bol reminds us, the Christian understanding of redemption has always involved lowering and humbling oneself. It leads to suffering and even death. Continue Reading →


Isner Wins Epic Match

I used to think that Michael Chang’s victory over the top-seeded Ivan Lendl in the 1989 French Open was the quintessential Iron Man match. Well, move over Michael Chang. There are two new Iron Men in town, and their names are John Isner and Nicolas Mahut.

Earlier today, the American John Isner won his record-setting epic match against France’s Nicolas Mahut. As ESPN reports, the match took 11 hours, 5 minutes over three days and lasted so long it was suspended two nights in a row because of darkness. They resumed playing earlier today at 59-all before an overflow crowd on Court 18. They continued for 20 games and 65 minutes before Isner won. The sheer length of the match made for many broken records. Isner finished with 112 aces and Mahut had 103, with both totals eclipsing the sport’s previous high of 78.

Watch the video summary above and the interview below. This is one for the books. What an amazing match! Continue Reading →


Wimbledon Ironmen


John Isner and Nicolas Mahut are playing what is already the longest match on record in tennis history. They are in the fifth set right now, and the game count is 50-50! The match has been going on for over 8 and half hours. is streaming the match live, and you can watch it here. The match is also being aired on ESPNU. Both of these guys should get a trophy. They are soldiering on, and neither one is willing to throw in the towel.

There’s a sermon illustration here somewhere. I’m sure of it.


DeYoung takes on Complemegalitarianism

Kevin DeYoung picks apart John Stott’s chapter on “Women, Men and God” in the book Issues Facing Christians Today. Stott argues for a middle-way between complementarianism and egalitarianism, but DeYoung shows that Stott’s exegesis is not at all compelling. He writes:

“If anyone could present a strong case for women elders and pastors, or something less than full blown complementarianism, surely John Stott could. But in actuality, a close examination of Stott’s exegesis shows just how weak the middle-of-the-road position (not to mention the egalitarian position) really is.”

Part 1 of DeYoung’s critique appears today, and part 2 will appear tomorrow. Read it here.


Christ & Katrina

Russell Moore’s reflections on the five-year anniversary of Hurricane Katrina is a must-read. He writes:

“I always feared seeing my hometown turn into Armageddon, and five years ago, sure enough, that’s just what happened. As a small child, I would sit in the pews of my church and imagine, as our pastor flipped through one apocalyptic scenario after another in his prophecy charts, what our town—Biloxi, Mississippi, on the coast of the Gulf of Mexico—would look like after the seals of the Book of Revelation had been opened, after all hell broke loose on the world as we knew it…

“I outgrew the dispensationalism (while holding onto the gospel underneath it all), but I still lived to see my hometown face an apocalypse. And rather than watching it all helplessly from a cloud in heaven, I had to watch it all, even more helplessly, on CNN.”

Read the rest here.


Mohler’s Homestretch

Albert Mohler announced today that his daily live radio program will come to an end in two weeks. At the end of his show earlier today, he explains why. He says ending the program is one of the most difficult decisions he’s ever had to make. Listen to him in his own words below. Start listening at 35:40.


I’ve loved “The Albert Mohler Program” and have enjoyed listening to it over the years. He talks about issues in the news in a way that no one else on radio does. When this program ends, it will be greatly missed.

Be sure to tune-in these last two weeks or to download the podcast. You’ll be glad you did.


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