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Reconciling Christians mix their music

From an article of the same title by Peter Smith of The Courier-Journal:

In another setting it would have just been a switch in style: a praise band with guitars and drums opening a worship service, then giving way to a choir weaving tight, multi-part harmonies a capella -- without musical accompaniment. The display of musical variety at the Kentucky International Convention Center this week was also a theological statement. Members of two church movements have been holding services of reconciliation this week to mark the 100th anniversary of their bitter division over whether the Bible allows the use of musical instruments in church. The gathering is taking place at the North American Christian Convention, an annual gathering of independent Christian Churches and Churches of Christ. The difference this year is that another group of Churches of Christ -- those who traditionally don't use musical instruments -- are also there, with some of them preaching and leading worship. "Thick books have been written on what caused the split," said Rick Atchley, pastor of Richland Hills Church of Christ in Fort Worth, Texas. But "for many in my generation, the interest isn't so much in understanding what happened as … we don't want to pass it on. I do believe in an increasingly secular world, people of faith are finding reasons to fellowship with people who believe in the same savior and the same Scripture." Jeff Walling, pastor of a non-instrumental Church of Christ in North Carolina, demonstrated that view last night when he gave his Bible, a gift from his mother, to Dave Stone, senior minister of Louisville's Southeast Christian Church. "It's time to be family," Walling told the crowd… Both movements consist of conservative evangelical churches rooted in an early American revival movement -- led in part by Kentuckian Barton Stone -- that sought to drop all denominational structures and restore the model of the early church. In the 1906 split, some Churches of Christ, mainly in the South, concluded that they shouldn't use musical instruments because the New Testament never calls for them. Scholars say there was more going on behind the scenes: different methods of biblical interpretation, lingering Civil War tensions and the sense that richer churches -- those able to afford organs -- were becoming too liberal. Today, although their churches govern themselves, each movement has its own network of Bible colleges, publications and conferences. Each movement has roughly 1.5 million adherents… A third branch of the movement, the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ), has become a more structured denomination. North American Christian Convention's executive director, Allan Dunbar, said that while this year's focus is on reconciliation with the Churches of Christ, he hopes he hopes rank-and-file Disciples can participate in future conventions.

An article in The Christian Chronicle gives more details about the reconciliation.

You might be a member of the church of Christ

Selected items from an article by Bobby Ross, Jr. in The Christian Chronicle that resonated with me:

you might be a member of the church of Christ …

  • If you know exactly what song I'm talking about when I ask you to turn to number 728b.
  • If you could recite all the books of the Bible before you could even read them.
  • If you know the first and third verse of nearly every song.
  • If you actually know what a "ready recollection" is and have been thoroughly "guide-guard-and-directed" all your life. (If you're really a member, you know that "guide-guard-and-directed" must be followed by "and-bring-us-back-at-the-next-appointed-time.")
  • If you think "progressive" refers to those in the church who want a sound system and PowerPoint.
  • If you think the Bible questions on Jeopardy are way too easy.
  • If you immediately reach for your wallet when you hear the phrase, "Now, separate and apart from the Lord's Supper … "
  • If you know all the words to all the verses of Trust and Obey.
  • If, when you're happy and you know it, you clap your hands, stomp your feet and say "Amen!"

COC-Related Deaths in Jamaica

From an article in The Christian Chronicle by Erik Tryggestad (I remember Erik being on the Lipscomb "Babbler" newspaper staff) titled "Churches mourn seven Jamaican slaying victims":

The recent slayings of seven people - ages 3 to 40 - with ties to churches of Christ in Jamaica has church members across the country mourning and Jamaica's prime minister denouncing the tide of violence sweeping the island nation. Mourners packed the Morant Bay Church of Christ for the funeral of six members of a church family - Patrice George McCool, 28; her children Sean Chin, 9; Jihad George McCool, 6; and Lloyd McCool, 3; her aunt Terry-Ann Mohommed, 40; and another family member, Jesse O'Gilvie, 9. Their bodies were in three locations, some with slashed throats and one stuffed in a barrel... Minister Michael Dehaney conducted the funeral, which included a speech from Prime Minister Portia Simpson Miller, who called for a time of prayer and fasting as Jamaica struggles to cut its high crime rate. Days after the funeral, the Mona Church of Christ in St. Andrew laid to rest 15-year-old Jordano Flemmings, who was fatally stabbed in a robbery while walking home from church.

An article in the by Carol J. Williams in the LA Times mentions the Morant Bay slayings, calling them a "suspected revenge attack for a failed drug deal":

Contrary to the islands' laid-back, reggae-rocked, calypso-serenaded image, the Caribbean is awash in murderous anger. Homicide rates have soared - Jamaica last year achieved the alarming distinction of being called the homicide capital of the world, and Trinidad isn't far behind. With suspects walking free because of ineffectual courts and corrupt law enforcement, vigilante justice is also on the rise.... Although the roots of the violence differ from island to island, some striving to contain it point to the region's shared afflictions of poverty, social inequity and racial resentment stemming from its history of slavery and colonization. "This is not just about people losing confidence in law enforcement. This is an eye-for-an-eye society," said Deputy Commissioner Mark Shields of the Jamaican Constabulary Force. "Even if you had an effective system of criminal justice, when children are murdered, you'd have mob rule." He was alluding to one of the more grisly recent slayings, the Feb. 25 suspected revenge attack for a failed drug deal that left a Morant Bay woman, her aunt and four children with their throats cut and the neighborhood enraged. Residents of the quiet community east of Kingston, the capital, stormed the police station demanding, "Give him to us!" after the suspect turned himself in for his own protection... Jamaica has been tabbed the world's most homicidal country since reporting 1,674 killings last year, a rate of 62 per 100,000 residents. The country had ranked third in the most recent U.N. global assessment, in 2000, with 32 per 100,000, behind Colombia's 61 and South Africa's 49. By contrast, anarchic Haiti, usually seen as the most unstable country in the Caribbean, had fewer than 20 homicides per 100,000 last year. Jamaica's shootings, stabbings and rapes mostly occur in Kingston, but bystanders and even tourists may be at greater risk as the incidence increases. "No one in his right mind goes to Kingston," said Rensselaer Lee, a security analyst and senior fellow at the Foreign Policy Research Institute in Washington, who has long studied crime in the Caribbean. "People can be shot walking down the streets. The violence is mainly turned inward, poor people killing each other. But increasingly people are getting caught in the cross hairs of these gangs and getting killed."

From an article in The Jamaica Observer:

The deaths sparked much public outrage amongst residents in St Thomas, and after a suspect was apprehended, many of them descended upon the Morant Bay Police Station, where he was being held, and demanded that he be turned over to them. This prompted a speedy transfer of the suspect from Morant Bay to a police station in Kingston. Still seething, the residents found recourse in setting fire to a house allegedly belonging to the suspect last Tuesday. Two rooms and the contents of the back of the house were scorched in the blaze.

Another article in The Jamaica Oberver describes Jamaica's new prime minister's remarks at the memorial service held at the Morant Bay church of Christ:

"Let us use this occasion of immense grief to make a safer Jamaica for our children," Simpson Miller said in her tribute. "We must stop the slaughter of our children, mothers, fathers and grandparents. We need to engage all sectors of society to play their part." She noted that nearly 100 children were killed last year and called for an end to the "savagery and barbarism". "We need to take back the power from the criminals and restore it to peace-loving citizens by influencing change in the society," she said. In a symbolic gesture of unity, she invited Golding, the MPs and the police commissioners onto the platform to stand beside her. "We need unity of purpose and to demonstrate that we are serious, because we need to secure the future of our children," Simpson Miller said. The six were honoured with numerous tributes in song and poetry by friends, family members and former schoolmates of the children.

COC Attend Most

From an article by Bobby Ross Jr. in The Christian Chronicle:

Americans who give their religious affiliation as "Church of Christ" are more likely than any other group to attend weekly worship services, a new Gallup Poll reports. Sixty-eight percent of Church of Christ members interviewed by Gallup said they attend worship services at least once a week or almost every week, according to a poll released April 14. The analysis is based on an aggregate of more than 11,000 Gallup Poll interviews between 2002 and 2005, including 123 identified with the Church of Christ. Pollsters did not ask respondents to specify whether the churches were a cappella or instrumental. Denominations on the list included:

  • Mormons - 67 percent
  • Pentecostal - 65 percent
  • Southern Baptist - 60 percent
  • Catholic - 45 percent
  • Methodist - 44 percent
  • Presbyterian - 44 percent
  • Lutheran - 43 percent
  • Episcopal - 32 percent

Growing up, we were always a 3-times-a-week family, a trend that continued once I was on my own. A few years back, we started "forsaking" on Wednesday night because the 7 PM start didn't work nicely with our kids' bed time. Hebrews 10:25 was always the proof text regarding attendance: "Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching." As if there was no possible distinction between anything less than 100 % attendance and totally abandoning the practice of the assembly.

COC a Cult?

The recent case of Mary Winkler in TN who recently shot her husband, a COC preacher, stirred up a bees nest of controversy for the COC when it was called a cult on CNN. Some of the details are documented on Travis Stanley's blog.


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