Saturday, November 05, 2005

Theology of Aesthetics: Who Will Set Our Heart Aright?

Scott Aniol at Kara Ministries has put forth the idea that Pastors are responsible for maturing the flock both in theology and emotions. Could it be that the emphasis on counseling methods has led our shepherds away from some of the tools that could really help the flock “to lay down beside the cool waters”? Could it be that we need more poets and less couches to set our hearts to love the savior more and worry less?

It must be said that only God can set our hearts aright. Regardless of technique, couch or choir, we must have the work of the Holy Spirit moving in our heart. But talking about the Holy Spirit's work, I have yet to hear someone say that they left a counseling session inspired and encouraged. Usually there is digging up of the past mistakes, past sufferings, and confrontation with present faults. But I have often heard people talk of being moved by a song. People sense the rightness of the words and tune that speaks of the greatness of God and/or his truth. Given that simple observation, I would say we need to have at least an equal amount of music courses in our ministerial training as we do counseling courses.

It would appear to me that Christian music is being led by the music recording industry and Christian radio. There are some really godly men and women who work in the Christian music recording industry and Christian radio. But I'm not seeing this as being connected well with the ministry of maturing God's flock emotionally. I am not criticizing these industries but stating there is a disconnect with this pastoral responsible and the leaders of Christian music. There is a difference between a song that is appropriate for Christian radio and the song that is appropriate for a worship service. The distinction is lost on not a few. For now, it seems the recording industry has the influence with the members of the flock. While there are many notable exceptions, the music recording industry does not attempt to led the flock anywhere, but attempts to reflect what will sell in the market place. Of course this is not leadership. Do we create (or live with) two systems of music, the music which helps groom our soul for heavenly affection and the music that is popular in the market? Sadly, the institutional church is playing second fiddle to the music recording industry.

The pastor and elders are responsible for oversight of their flock. The pastor must be able to lead his flock, encourage his flock and bring his flock to a place of resting in the grace of God. Guiding the flock is more art than science. While some may use music, other might use words of encouragement. While some might use words, others may use actions to communicate. In the realm of sports, I'm sure there are coaching classes taught, but coaching is learned by modeling for the most part. I think pastors often learn how to lead the group by seeing it modeled and by doing it. Additionally, modeling the emotional maturity is probably the most important earthly factor in leading the flock down this path. That true leadership must stand on the Scripture, trust in God with courageous faith, and live a humble, godly life. In the end, I would say both couch and choir can be a way to bring people to emotional maturity but neither are effective without the work of God.
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