From the EditorJuly 17, 2002
The small, white frame church I attended as a child sat on a hillside among the corn and soybean fields of rural Missouri. It had no running water, no indoor plumbing and was heated by a single coal-oil stove that elders, arriving early on wintry Sunday mornings, had to coax into service. On summer Sundays, we flung open the beautiful stained glass windows, propping them up with scraps of 2-by-4 lumber, to allow any passing breeze to waft in and cool us. Of course, all manner of flying and stinging insects also wafted in through those windows and kept the children, at least, occupied throughout the service.
I remember well the music in our worship services in that church. Millie, our pianist, was a honky-tonk musician at heart, and when she lit into the tinny upright in our sanctuary, the keys rattled and the rafters shook. Not many could keep up with her rendition of "Leaning on the Everlasting Arms." We raced along at a pace that would have made Jerry Lee Lewis proud, and by the time we'd finished all three verses, most of us were winded -- some of our elderly members close to cardiac arrest.
Through the years, I've worshiped in churches with a diverse range of musical presentations -- from traditional organ and choir to jazz ensembles, rock, a cappella praise, guitar or simple piano. Each brought a dimension and an approach that awakened in me a new aspect of experiencing and worshiping God.
On page 24, Baylor alumnus Robert F. Darden explores the issue of how we sing God's praises in today's church. It's a topic that stirs deeply held passions and provokes animated debate. The story looks at both the contemporary Christian music scene and the choir lofts and hymnology of traditional worship services. It also shows how Baylor is facilitating a truce in today's "worship wars."
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Vicki Marsh Kabat, Editor