Archive for October, 2013

Pluralism versus All Nations and Tongues Under the Lordship of Christ

I was first exposed to pluralism as a music education major in the 90’s in South Mississippi. The concept emerged in textbooks that referred to the now familiar American identity as a tossed salad rather than a melting pot. Particularly as an artist in higher education through the late 90’s and early 2000’s, world music and multiculturalism were constant themes. I actually took a world music class from a world-renown Balinese specialist at Florida State University in the early 2000’s. I was exposed to Gamelan, Hindi music, and expert Japanese fluting at that time. Later, during my Georgia era (I like to tell people I am cosmopolitan if you’re only talking about the SouthJ), I noted the abundance of cultural arrangements being sung by GA highschool choirs at the Georgia Music Educators State Convention each year.

I can honestly say that I am a fan of world music and multicultural perspectives in art after over 10 years of exposure. Often as evangelicals we find ourselves caught in the trap of only arguing against something (e.g., Pluralism) rather than making a distinctive Christian mark on the worldview landscape. As observed in Metaxas’ Bonhoeffer, in 1935 it was quite bold to say that all cultures should be treated with dignity and welcomed to the family of God, including local fellowships. The battle that Bonhoeffer and other  Western Christian thinkers began,  namely demanding and encouraging the  love of all cultures within and outside of the church, has been largely won in American churches.

Although fighting for the dignity of all world cultures will always be a battle in certain circles of hate, a much grander challenge among current competing worldview perspectives is that of finding the narrow path of a distinctively Christian response to Pluralism. Namely, the most compassionate and appropriate treatment of all cultures is found only under the Lordship of Christ. Realizing my last statement would be viewed as dogmatic by the world, let me follow it by insisting that there is no lack of free expression of culture within this Christian distinctive. But my mere words could hardly compel the skeptic, and I am convinced that in many cases Christian art representing the cultures of the world serves as a much stronger apologetic.

With this philosophical framework in mind, it is with great enthusiasm that NOBTS will present All Nations and Tongues at Canal Street Church: A Mosaic Community on November 14 at 7 PM. The concert will feature sacred and folk songs representing the  Chinese, Czechoslovakian, Jewish, Latino, South African, and Japanese cultures and  will be presented by the NOBTS Seminary Chorus and NOBTS Children’s and Youth Choirs. Canal Street Church is an intentional choice of setting as one of the most exciting new church starts in the New Orleans area. This is a church that is expressing the love of Christ for all the cultures of the world in tangible ways on a daily and weekly basis. Come celebrate the Lord of Creation with us in the heart of one of the most culturally rich cities in the world.