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One of the primary reasons our singing goes awry is because our doctrine of the church, or our ecclesiology, is messed up. Minimal, distorted, or non-existent. We forget the church belongs to Jesus, not us. In 1 Corinthians, Paul says God will destroy those who destroy his church (1 Cor. 3:17). That’s a sobering word. It seems some churches today are being destroyed, bit by bit, through musical leadership that confuses what happens on Sunday mornings with something else.
And thus ends this portion of the saga.
The recovery since the 1860s of the written culture of ancient Mesopotamia has been one of the least noticed but most noteworthy feats of scholarship of modern times. The world’s most ancient literatures, 4,000 years old and lost for nearly half that time, are now in the process of recovery from broken cuneiform tablets scattered around the world.
From the very beginning, one text, above all others, emerged as the finest representative of this literature: the Epic of Gilgamesh. This Babylonian poem, reconstructed from more than 200 fragments, tells the story of one man’s doomed quest for immortality. It struggles with the same existential preoccupations as we do: what it means to be mortal in an eternal world, how human nature differs from animal and divine, the ethics of political power and military force. It reflects ourselves, for we are all Gilgamesh, and therein lies its power to move us.
Give Joe a hand with this, if you don’t mind.
My deficiency, I realize, is not that I don’t know enough tactics, read enough evangelism books, or even spend time around the right people. If I want to reap the dividends of gospel proclamation, that is not the only place I need to invest. Sadly, those are the wells I have often solely relied on to scratch my I should itch of sharing the gospel while ignoring a deeper need.
Behold suburbia, the mission field for whom our hearts do not break. We hold them in contempt as those who have heard and spurned the gospel. Their failing marriages, rebellious children, and quiet addictions stir in us weariness and wariness: This is their own doing. This is the fruit of their commonplace lives of capitulation and mediocrity. Suffering and loss may visit them, but they still drive to hospitals and gravesites in late-model SUVs. Why should we pour out our lives on the rocky soil of suburban America when, for the price of a plane ticket, we can till the fertile fields of Africa, Asia, South America?