What do vampires mean? Monsters aren’t just randomly scary. They perform a specific function. Monsters turn up when our identity is in crisis. The vampire, particularly Bram Stoker’s Dracula, tells us very specifically where the Victorians were facing some serious issues about who they thought they were. Dracula blurs and challenges the boundaries between Us and Them.
Beowulf fights three monsters: Grendel, Grendel’s mother, and the dragon. These Anglo-Saxon monsters tell us a lot about the Anglo-Saxons and their suppressed doubts about themselves. After all, narrative monsters appear only when identities are in crisis.
Monsters, Heroes, and Villains are all about identity. Our identities, both individual and collective, are shaped against other things–often, heroes and villains. Monsters turn up when we sense that these categories don’t capture the whole story. We can learn about other people by looking at their monsters–we can learn a lot about ourselves by looking at our monsters.
Improve your songwriting. Christian Praise and Worship songs will be specific.
Here’s almost everything you need to know to understand commas.
If you are tasked to choose the worship songs we sing on Sunday, or if you are a writer of Praise and Worship songs, you need to strive to have every word in their praise and worship song to be the perfect word. But one cannot know if a word is the perfect word until one has developed a poetic ear. Fortunately, it is possible to develop such an ear.
How to write praise and worship songs. I think that we could have better lyrics in our Christian praise and worship songs. Wouldn’t it be great if most of the songs we sang had powerful lyrics? This series, called the Poetry of Praise is my modest contribution to improving the lyrics of our praise and worship songs. My desire is that almost every song we sing in church gets more powerful every time we sing it, rather than less. Diction is the first, but it is not the only step toward this end.
We need to do better. Too much of what we sing in corporate worship is mediocre or worse. I’m talking lyrically. We need to choose better songs, and someone needs to write better songs. Better lyrics are poetry–they will evoke, not just the emotions of worshipers, but their imaginations as well. This video is the first in a series called The Poetry of Praise.
A lot of people, a lot of Christians, love Remember the Titans, but doing so shows a lack of discernment–it’s bad. We establish boundaries around the movies our family will watch, but we enthusiastically let this one in. Perhaps the “G” rating isn’t an adequate measure of a movie’s merit.
Christians responded differently to the Covid-19 pandemic. Attitudes became entrenched and sometimes hostile. How are we to deal with the divisions created by differing opinions about masks, shutdowns, and vaccinations when we all come back together in corporate worship? C. S. Lewis’s book The Screwtape Letters is helpful here.