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Peter Leithart's new First Things article, "How the Church Lost Her Soundscape" is an absolute must read.  I've excerpted it below, but please go read the whole thing.

"The desire to make worship more appealing to young people was a major impulse behind the development of contemporary Christian music in the first place. The magnitude of this shift cannot be overestimated. Culture is a gift from the old to the young, and the younger generation’s grateful reception is a sign of honor for fathers. Cultural transmission has been thrown into reverse, also in the church."


"For all its variety, pop music is dismally monophonic. Transgression is encouraged, so long as it doesn’t get too close to the music. Lady Gaga wears her meat dresses and Rihanna feigns sex on stage, but when the music starts they are both as frothy as Justin Bieber. There can be no Stravinsky of pop music."


"Expertise is one of the values of modern culture, but expertise has always had a limited scope. We trust experts in physics and computer programming and perhaps foreign affairs. But the suggestion that there are experts in aesthetics, musicians who know what music one should appreciate, is greeted with hostility, also in the church. 'I know what I like' stops every argument, buttressed by 'Musical taste is subjective.' Lebanese organist Naji Hakim has lamented that in the Catholic Church 'many in positions of liturgical responsibility, with no musical education as regards technique or aesthetics, have come to believe in a tabula rasa, denying any lineage whatsoever.' Professional musicians have been 'sidelined' as 'the least common denominator has become the rule.' He wonders whether Catholics 'realize the level of mediocrity which the present liturgy has reached.'"


"The church created the soundscape for Western Christendom because she cultivated her own musical life in the liturgy that united human voices with the angelic choirs of heaven. I can hardly imagine a more worrisome sign of worldliness, or clearer evidence of the church’s identity crisis, than our eager renunciation of our own soundscape and our determination instead to reproduce the world’s."

 
 
To begin with, I cannot recommend this little essay highly enough.  Dr. Leithart cracks the door open on a number of issues that pastors, theologians and others need to think much more seriously and creatively about.  The hegemony of the scientific worldview has not been erased by the advent of post-modernity.  Not even close.  If you doubt that just read some of the comments below the essay and notice how many simply cannot conceive of scientism not functioning as the epistemological ace of spades, and thus fail to even understand what it is that Leithart is saying.  It's as if he'd written his article in a foreign language.

However, I would offer one small quibble.  Dr. Leithart states in his essay, "Though it often buttresses its authority by empirical appeals, science secured its hegemony by inculcating skepticism about everyday experience."  But I wonder if science actually inculcated this skepticism, or if they just picked up on something that was in the air, so to speak, and used it to secure an exalted place among those who traffic in truth and confidence.  Remember Galileo was a contemporary of Descartes. And who can even mention skepticism about everyday experience without thinking of René and his intellectual angst about his own physicality.  But perhaps Leithart is right even so.  While the philosophers had been moving in the direction of skepticism and unbelief for at least a few generations, maybe it was the scientists who "inculcated" it as Leithart has it.  That is, while Descartes and Co. pondered in their dens about whether the ball of wax they thumbed was in fact 'real' or was just an illusion, it was those who would follow in the footsteps of Galileo who would make it a commonplace for the average laymen to quip that it is "super obvious" that the sun doesn't rise.
 
 
"Again, the question I’m asking is what do we tell our children?  That’s, that’s the way to summarize the question I’m trying to ask.  Can I tell my three year old child that they are right before God?  And can I tell them that their baptism tells them that?  That Jesus has claimed them, that they belong to him and he forgives their sins and he is, that the Father counts them as righteous because they belong to Jesus? I think I can and should tell them that.  And I think that hesitation to do that, I think is, is, is the problem.  Does that mean that I know that that child is going to continue in that personal favor? No.  You - - you can have children who are in that favor and fall away from that.  And the people who don’t fall away, the children who grow up and don’t fall away, who persevere in faith by the - - by the power of the Spirit are those who have the justification that is given to the elect."

Peter Leithart, Testimony before Commissioners, Transcript of Pacific Northwest Presbytery Trial of June 3-4, 2011, Pg 247