Archives For Music

The BriefingNew outlook for high court cases under Trump?
Several Obama administration executive actions are currently in litigation and may disappear if Donald Trump’s administration undoes his predecessor’s policies. But many question marks remain about what executive actions Trump will take. One of the major cases at the Supreme Court this term, Gloucester County School Board v. G.G., addresses the matter of transgender restroom use in public schools.

Texas association may expel churches for LGBTQ views
Two Texas Baptist churches may be expelled from the Baptist General Convention of Texas for their welcoming open-door policies toward LGBTQ people, reports say. Wilshire Baptist in Dallas and First Baptist in Austin received letters from BGCT officials stating that because the churches had affirmed themselves with the LGBTQ people, they were “no longer being in harmonious cooperation with the BGCT.”

People donating to Planned Parenthood as Mike Pence
Some Americans unhappy with the election results have found a new way to protest. They’re sending donations to Planned Parenthood in the name of Vice President-elect Mike Pence, who has called for cutting off federal funds to the organization and — as governor of Indiana — imposed tougher restrictions on abortion for women in his state.

Muslim attacks on Egyptian Christians rising
The Christian and Muslim villagers grew up together, played on the same soccer fields as kids, and attended the same schools. But that didn’t matter on a recent day: An argument between boys sparked clashes between neighbors, with Muslims torching shops owned by Christians. A Christian farmer ran into the melee to protect his two sons. Someone in the crowd hit him with a stick. Others jumped in, striking him repeatedly until he fell to the ground with blood seeping from his head.

LifeWay won’t sell Amy Grant Christmas album
LifeWay Christian Resources will not be selling Amy Grant’s new Christmas album this year, and the manager for the Nashville-based singer says it’s because it’s not Christian enough for the Southern Baptist retailer.

Sources: World Magazine, Houston Chronicle, CNN, Washington Post, The Tennessean

Fanny_CrosbyHEARTLAND | Steve Hamrick

February marked the 100th anniversary of the death of one of America’s greatest hymn writers and poets, Fanny J. Crosby. Frances Jane van Alstyne (née Crosby), lived nearly 95 years, from March 24, 1820, to February 12, 1915.

At six weeks old, young Francis developed an inflammation in her eyes that was treated with a mustard poultice, a common treatment of the 19th century. Whether because of the mustard or a congenital condition, blindness resulted. But it rarely affected her attitude. She was known in early years as the “happy little blind girl.”

Her first attempt at verse at age eight shows her outlook.

Oh, what a happy child I am,
Although I cannot see
I am resolved that in this world
Contented I will be

The attitude of God’s gratefulness continued as a theme throughout her life. “When I get to heaven,” she once said, “the first face that shall ever gladden my sight will be that of my Savior.”

It is estimated that Crosby wrote more than 8,000 hymns, with over 100,000,000 (that’s one hundred million) copies in print. Many of her hymns include references to sight and light. Notice the insight of one of her most well known songs, “Blessed Assurance”:

Perfect submission, perfect delight,
Visions of rapture now burst on my sight;
Angels descending bring from above
Echoes of mercy, whispers of love.

In addition to her hymns, Crosby published more than 1,000 secular poems, four books of poetry and two best-selling autobiographies. Most don’t know that she also wrote a number of popular and patriotic songs of her day.

During her long life she had the honor of reading her works in front of the U.S. Senate, Congress, and before many U.S. presidents, including John Q. Adams and James Polk; she also was dear friends with Grover Cleveland.

Despite being one of the most popular personalities of the 19th century, Crosby’s most rewarding work during her lifetime was her service to rescue missions. She dedicated her life in serving the poor, immigrants and less fortunate. During her years as a mission worker she wrote, “Pass Me not O Gentle Savior,” “More Like Jesus,” and “Rescue the Perishing.”

Her songs are still sung by churches around the world. Thousands of arrangements have been set for choirs, orchestras and praise teams. The band Caedmon’s Call recently recorded “Draw Me Nearer” (I am Thine O Lord) using one of Mrs. Crosby’s best texts. The words tell her story well:

I am thine, O Lord, I have heard thy voice,
And it told thy love to me;
But I long to rise in the arms of faith
And be closer drawn to thee.

Steve Hamrick is IBSA’s director of worship and technology.

THE BRIEFING | Meredith Flynn

Three-dimensional map of Illinois. USA.It’s “State of the States” time at Gallup, and the researcher is releasing new findings every other day. Last week’s data covered President Obama’s job approval rating, political party identification, and ideology–each measured by state. To see how Illinois ranked (a quick preview: The state had the 10th highest approval rating for the President), go to Gallup.com.


Phillip Bethancourt examines “Johnny Manziel, Rehab and the Gospel” on FaithStreet.com, in light of the Cleveland quarterback’s entry into a treatment center earlier this month. “As Christians, our response to the collapse of Johnny Manziel should not be an ‘I told you so’ triumphalism or an ‘anyone could see that coming’ dismissiveness,” wrote Bethancourt, executive vice president for the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission. “Instead it should be a ‘such were some of you’ recognition that, apart from Christ, we might also be there.”


Pew Reseach reports the U.S. Supreme Court could face some religion-themed decisions this year, including two very different cases related to employment. In one, a would-be employee at Abercrombie & Fitch is arguing for her right to wear a head covering. In the other, religiously affiliated non-profits say they shouldn’t have to comply with the Affordable Care Act’s contraceptive mandate.


At the Feb. 5 National Prayer Breakfast, President Barack Obama compared current acts of terrorism committed by ISIS and other groups to past movements–including the Crusades–he said were often committed or justified in the name of Christ.

“His flawed comparison to atrocities that happened hundreds of years ago minimizes the severity of ISIS and other groups that are brutalizing and killing innocent people,” Southern Baptist Convention President Ronnie Floyd told Baptist Press. “Instead of focusing on the past, America needs heroic leadership in the present–leadership that champions religious liberty for all people.”


Christian rapper Lecrae Moore gave credit where credit is due during his Grammy acceptance speech Sunday night.  “…You can’t celebrate gifts without celebrating the giver of all gifts. So I want to celebrate Jesus for gifting us all with the gift of love and sacrifice.” Lecrae’s song “Messengers” (featuring for KING AND COUNTRY) won the Grammy for Best Contemporary Christian Song/Performance. Read more at ChristianPost.com.

 

 

Image from a May 2012 YouTube video Saeed Abedini made before his imprisonment.

Image from a May 2012 YouTube video Saeed Abedini made before his imprisonment.

THE BRIEFING | At a meeting last week with the wife and children of imprisoned pastor Saeed Abedini, President Barack Obama said securing his release is a top priority, according to a release from the American Center for Law and Justice.

“The President was focused and gracious – showing concern to me and my children,” said Naghmeh Abedini. “I know that this meeting could not have occurred without prayer and I am grateful to the many people around the country and world who continue to pray for Saeed’s release.”

Obama reportedly told the Abedinis’ young son that he would try to have his father home by the boy’s birthday in March. The pastor, an American citizen, was arrested in Iran in 2012 and charged with “undermining national security,” Christianity Today reports. Last June, he was awarded a religious liberty award by the Southern Baptist Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission, which his wife accepted on his behalf.


Jury selection started yesterday in the trial over Houston’s Equal Rights Ordinance, spearheaded by a coalition of ministers who collected petitions to repeal the ordinance passed by the City Council last May. (The city disqualified many of the 50,000 signatures collected.) The complicated case also included an effort to subpoena communications and sermons by five Houston ministers; the subpoenas were eventually dropped.

Opponents of the Houston ordinance recently aided Plano residents in collecting signatures to stop a similar ordinance in their city, Baptist Press reported.


A rumored protest by Westboro Baptist Church didn’t come to fruition at a Quad Cities-area Illinois Baptist church, but representatives of the infamous Kansas congregation (which is not affiliated with the Southern Baptist Convention) did visit some churches in the area, and were met with counter-protestors. Prior to Sunday, January 25, Westboro protestors were scheduled to be at Northcrest Calvary, an Illinois Baptist State Association church in Rock Island.


Alabama is the most recent state to face a challenge to its ban on same-sex marriage, Baptist Press reports. Judge Callie V.S. Granade ruled the ban unconstitutional Jan. 23, in a case involving a lesbian couple who married in California but were denied adoption rights in Alabama. The state’s association of probate judges–who are responsible for issuing marriage licenses–said Granade’s ruling doesn’t impact anyone not named in the case.


The struggle continues between New York City public schools and churches that want to rent their space for Sunday worship, Christianity Today reports. The most recent development is an apparent change of heart by Mayor Bill de Blasio.


George Perdikis, who co-founded The Newsboys in the 1980s, has officially renounced his Christian faith, The Christian Post reports. The musician wrote in a recent post on Patheos.com: “I always felt uncomfortable with the strict rules imposed by Christianity. All I wanted to do was play rock and roll.”


Where does your city rank when it comes to “Bible-mindedness?” Barna and the American Bible Society released their annual list of the most Bible-minded cities in the U.S. Four Illinois cities landed in the top 50; see which ones at Barna.com.

 

NEWS | Andrae Crouch wrote songs so familiar now that most people probably have no idea where they originated. “My Tribute (To God Be the Glory),” “The Blood Will Never Lose Its Power,” “Jesus Is The Answer,” and “Soon and Very Soon,” to name just a few.

Crouch, 72, died yesterday after a heart attack January 3.

“Crouch was an innovator, a path-finder, a precursor in an industry noted for its conservative, often derivative approach to popular music,” wrote former Billboard editor Robert Darden in a tribute on ChristianityToday.com.

“He combined gospel and rock, flavored it with jazz and calypso as the mood struck him and the song called for it, and is even one of the founders of what is now called ‘praise and worship’ music. He took risks with his art and was very, very funky when he wanted to be.”

Those qualities are on display in this 2012 video of “The Blood,” performed by Crouch and a whole host of gospel music stars.

The Veritas vocal quintet is helping lead tonight's Mission Illinois: Concert of Prayer.

The Veritas vocal quintet is helping lead tonight’s Mission Illinois: Concert of Prayer.

The choir from Broadview Missionary Baptist Church brought the Pastors' Conference audience to their feet with their opening song, "I Came to Magnify the Lord"

The choir from Broadview Missionary Baptist Church brought the Pastors’ Conference audience to their feet with their opening song, “I Came to Magnify the Lord.”