Harrumphing

Had a great lunch this past week with Gregory the Sinner who’s now Melancholic. You can check out his thoughts on the state of the church at the Melancholic Pipe. We harrumphed about current trends in evangelical Christianity.
Incidentally, “harrumphing” is an onomatopoeic word. (Don’t you just love to say that? “Ono-mA-tO-POeIc”). “Harrumphing” is a word that sounds like it’s meaning, though I do take issue with Webster’s definition, “to clear the throat in a pompous way.” Pompuous, indeed! (harrumph). Face it, there are just some thoughts or sentiments which are simply, simple. That is, it’s not pompous to call silly things, “silly.” Or frankly, “stupid.” I know it’s not nice, and I tell my kids not to use the word, but doggone it. Sometimes, when it’s warranted, you just got to call someone a “stupidhead.”
I’ve been harrumphing about the lyrics of contemporary Christian worship music. Not to say that “new” is bad, there is a vibrant hymnody out there – “In Christ Alone” for example. And not to say that there isn’t the sappy and sentimental in much of the triumphalist hymnody of the later 19th and early 20th Centuries. However, some of that which is sung today by evangelicals is — how shall we say — pathetic, stupidhead; that is, it is full of pathos. This self-pity seems to be the overflow of a self-indulgent, me-first, my-needs-need-meeting, consumerist, church-shopping, commodified Christ, Christianity which is slowly atophying the body of Christ. (Harrumph!)
We need to counter the indulgent emphasis on the immanence of Christ with the power of the transcendence of Christ. He rules. He’s the king. C.S. Lewis understood this when he placed the children in a story with Aslan the lion. “He’s not safe, he’s a lion. He’s the king, I tell you!” We need to come into His presence, yes. But we also need the overwhelmed apprehension of the Holy One which forces the cry, “I am undone!”

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