The Myth of Moral Neutrality

Just read a new post by Tim Challies. It’s a good post, but he said something in there that really irks me: I believe that music, assembled notes and chords, is morally neutral. I don’t think there is music that is inherently good and music that is inherently evil. I don’t think this is a Biblically-informed statement. Now I’m not knocking Challies—Tim could probably thrash me in theological debates most any day. No, this is a very common statement to make, but I believe it’s unbiblical. I’ll try to explain why, but please keep in mind that I’ve been up for about 24 hours now… God didn’t complete His act of Creation on the sixth day and call it “neutral” — He called it “very good.” When He acknowledged the man’s need of a helpmeet, He didn’t say, “It is morally neutral that the man be alone, so I’ll flip a coin (or whatever God does) to decide whether or not to give Him a woman.” He said, “It is not good…” The universe is God’s handiwork, and God is Good. Sin has wrecked much in the universe, and sin is evil. It’s like two sides of a coin: if you flip a coin, it could land on either heads or tails. Anyone with half a brain would acknowledge this. However, it is utter folly (or a strange application of quantum mechanics) to claim that a coin has some sort of mystical “neutral” side to it until it gets flipped. I think we’re in danger of self-deception the moment we think in terms of moral neutrality — because if something isn’t actively (or inherently) glorifying God, then is it not morally repugnant to Him? Music was created by God. However, music was also employed by the Prince of Lies. It’s either one or the other, folks. That something can be either good or evil does not mean it is neutral; no, regardless of its moral adaptability, everything in the universe has a moral default — and that default will either be good or evil. There is no middle ground. So what does this have to do with rap music (or music in general)? I would say that, in light of the Fall of Man, all human employment of music is tainted with evil—to varying degrees, but tainted nonetheless. Music can be redeemed in Christ, and this doesn’t mean “only Middle-English hymns” or “only praise choruses from the 1980s.” Such definitions miss the point of music. The purpose of music is to praise God. Fallen Man has taken this gift and spent it on his idols—whether beautiful women, drunkenness, or simply himself, man has used this worship tool to worship other things. Thus, I would say that any employment of music divorced from praise of God is evil, and any employment of music directed as praise to God is good.

All about Travis Seitler, by the Wife

So, the Blogathon starts and the first thing my husband does is head out the door! Why is that? Well, he’s gone to help a friend from church move to a new apartment. Talk about being over-committed! But that’s my man–always willing and eager to lend a hand. Travis tends to write a lot of posts about theology and comics, but that probably doesn’t give one a full impression of what he’s really like. So, in light of the fact that he’s gone to serve a fellow brother and left me with full access to his blog, I thought I’d write a little bit about the Travis Seitler I know and love. Stay tuned…

It’s Been… One Week

Wow… a whole week without posting. Yes, I’ve been bad again, but at least I have a decent excuse this time. 😉 Even if I’m not writing much, I’m still reading a lot in the blogosphere! Taking a cue from Adrian Warnock, I’d like to direct your attention to some interesting posts I’ve read over the past few days… The House of Degenhart » You May Be Right… When ill-behaved children lose an argument, they say “SO WHAT!” or “Oh yeah? Well you’ve got a big nose!” Grown-ups say, “You may be right, but in the grand scheme of things your solution would represent a misallocaiton of resources.” Christian grown-ups say, “Yeah, but what’s really important is telling people about Jesus.” You know Jesus – he’s apparently the guy that doesn’t really care about the truth very much, or how people live their lives, so long as people sing happy clappy songs about him and don’t judge each other. Pyromaniacs: How to deal with posts you don’t like—and the flip side I’ve noticed a pan-internetal phenomenon you’ll all recognize. It’s how different people deal differently with posts, articles, essays they don’t like. (Now, I suppose I have to add “and pictures.“) You can not like a post for many reasons, reasons which will vary in part due to the post’s content, and in part due to where you are, spiritually, intellectually, temperamentally, and time-wise (schedualically?). Maybe the post in question is really stupid. Maybe it’s palpably wrong. Maybe it’s wrong and stupid. JOLLYBLOGGER: Fathers do not exasperate your children “Do not be harsh with your children but be gentle.” So this writer does not exhort fathers to exercise their authority. Instead, he presupposes that authority and then sets the bounds for its use. He also presupposes that children are not just property over whom the father has legal rights. They are owed dignity as human beings in their own right. Challies Dot Com: The Tyranny of Quiet Time Johnson wrote about something I had only recently realized myself. “That half hour every morning of Scriptural study and prayer is not actually commanded in the Bible.” Imagine that. He goes on to say, “As a theologian, I can remind us that to bind the conscience where Scripture leaves freedom is a very, very serious crime. It’s legalism rearing its ugly little head again. We’ve become legalistic about a legalistic command. This is serious.” We have somehow allowed our quiet time, in its length, depth or consistency, to become the measure of our relationship with God. But “your relationship with God—or, as I prefer to say, God’s relationship with you—is your whole life: your job, your family, your sleep, your play, your relationships, your driving, your everything. The real irony here is that we’ve become accustomed to pigeonholing our entire relationship with God into a brief devotional exercise that is not even commanded in the Bible.” So what, then, does Scripture command? It commands that the Word of God be constantly upon our hearts. We are to pray, to read the Scripture and to meditate upon it, but we are to do so from a joyful desire, and not mere performance-based duty. We are to do so throughout our whole lives, and not merely for a few minutes each morning. Like Johnson, I came to realize that the “goal isn’t that we pray and read the Bible less, but that we do so more–and with a free and needy heart.” So do not allow quiet time to become performance. View it as a chance to grow in grace. Begin with an expression of your dependency upon God’s grace, and end with an affirmation of His grace. Acknowledge that you have no right to approach God directly, but can approach Him only through the work of His Son. Focus on the gospel as the message of grace that both saves and sustains. And allow quiet time to become a gift of worship you present to God, and a gift of grace you receive from Him.

Joshua Felix Seitler, Born July 1st!

That’s right: it’s new baby time! Joshua Felix Seitler was born at 4:59am on July 1st! He was 21¾ inches long, weighing 8 lbs. 11.3 oz (big boy!). We went in on Friday morning for a checkup with Nicole’s midwives, and since she was almost at 41 weeks, they ran a non-stress test. First off, the great news: he was head-down! (This boy’s been breech twice in the past six weeks! We were starting to think a C-section was inevitable…) Anyway, during the test Nicole began having regular contractions… and Joshua wasn’t responding too well to them. Next thing we know, Nicole has a room in Labor and Delivery! Pitocin was started around 4pm, and progress was a bit slow. I tried to be up to help Nicole however I could, but by 1am I was snoozing on the couch/bed in the windowsill any chance I got. 😳 Around that time, Joshua’s pulse started really dropping during contractions: he was pretty steady at 120-150 bpm, but the number began to drop to 60 after Nicole’s contractions. 😯 (The nurses rushed in a few times that night, trying not to look too alarmed but rather quick to stop that!) At this point, the pitocin was cut back to make things easier on Joshua. It worked. His pulse began to stabilize! Just after 4am, Nicole began pushing. Just before 5am, she was holding Joshua in her arms! We just got back from the hospital today — with the Independence Day holiday coming up, the pediatrician wanted another day to be able to keep an eye on “Lil’ Shu Shu.” Nicole’s mom is in town this week to help out, too, so you might not hear much from us for a little while. Here’s a movie to hold you off with! 😉 Oh, this guy is so cute! I wanna go watch him sleep some more…