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Registered user
Username: Colleentinker

Post Number: 14106
Registered: 12-2003

Posted on Sunday, November 18, 2012 - 9:29 pm:   Edit PostDelete PostPrint Post   Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

We just received the latest edition of Westwinds, the alumni paper from Walla Walla University. It contains an article on the 50 anniversary of the Cassavant organ in the College Church. In honor of the celebration, organ professor Kraig Scott and senior pastor of the University church Alex Bryan wrote a hymn that:


was composed in honor of the 50th anniversary of congregational worship in the Walla Walla University Church sanctuary (Sabbath, Oct. 20< 1962–Sabbath, Oct. 20, 2012). The hymn also celebrates God's continuing work at Walla Walla University in the early 21st Century. The lyrics invite our learning community to recommit to the vocation of this campus: training men and women for a life of skilled, intelligent, lovingservice to Jesus Christ and the human family.

Each stanza incorporates one aspect of the four-fold vision statement of Walla Walla University: Excellence in Thought; Generosity in Service; Beauty in Expression; Faith in God. They hymn also draws on more than 30 specific local references: surnames of faculty and staff, book titles by current faculty, specific academic areas, College Place streets, and numerous references to natural aspects of the Pacific Northwest.
The tune is named BADE STREET to honor the location where we gather each week to worship. The music, while incapable of quoting specific places or people of the Northwest, does reference two measures of a hymn tune written by a former WWU music department chair.

It is our prayer that this hymn will bring glory to God and enrichment to our beloved community.

That is the description of the hymn written by Bryan and Scott. Here are the words of the hymn which was sung on that ceremonial Sabbath when they celebrated organ's and the church building's 50th anniversary:


O God of sphere and space, excelling in grand thought
We praise Your storied wisdom, Your acumen fails not
You wrote all laws of calculus, the ways of chemistry
Your mind came up with every rose, each gull and apple tree.

The gentle One did serve, in Christ all death is lost,
A surge of crucial power! Eng'neering of Thy cross!
The Archer's arrow hit its mark, a beam of light did fall
A bond of peace came near to us, new life availed to all.

Expression of all good, O beauty Jesus sweet!
Seen Ash, Palouse, Cascade peaks, and in the golden whet.
Olympic lands hold but one God, the handsome, lovely Lamb,
In mountains Blue we see the One who is the great I AM.

Inspirited Holy God, our faith we place in You,
A bigger bolder venture, this trail we trek anew.
O Teacher give us vision fresh, for this Thy learning place
We dedicate this sacred ground, this sphere, this holy space.

Does anyone else see anything wrong with this song? To be sure, it's got many plays on words, but just looking at the ways they dealt with God and where and how He is found, do you have problems with this?

Sigh. I'm not surprised, but this really is kinda blatant in its lack of orthodoxy...

Registered user
Username: Mkfound

Post Number: 198
Registered: 1-2011
Posted on Monday, November 19, 2012 - 8:15 pm:   Edit PostDelete PostPrint Post   Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

I'm not sure if I'm getting it right, but I'm seeing 'God is one with nature' or maybe even 'God is nature' as a theme.

I found it very difficult to understand, so maybe I'm wrong.
Registered user
Username: Colleentinker

Post Number: 14107
Registered: 12-2003

Posted on Monday, November 19, 2012 - 9:35 pm:   Edit PostDelete PostPrint Post   Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Yes, I see that, too, MK. I noticed in verse three, for example, that they referenced the Olympic Peninsula (the Olympic rain forest is in Washington), and the Blue Mountains where WWU students go to ski in the winter and the locals hike in the summer.

But they've overtly stated that the lovely Lamb is held in the Olympic lands (and I believe there's probably a veiled reference there to Mt Olympus, the place where the Greek Pantheon was said to reside). Next they say that the great I Am is "in the mountains Blue".

God is not in the mountains. He made the mountains. It is paganism and pantheism to suggest that God is in nature. He created nature; nature declares His divine nature and eternal power, but they are declarations of His creative nature, not places where He Is.

I know they were playing with words and feeling very clever, but they said things that are anti-biblical. They are actually anti-Christian. And to say God "excels in grand thought" is to diminish God. Grand thought is one of Adventism's icons; they pride themselves on philosophical debate. (Remember those Contemporary Issues Sabbath School Classes?) God is not about "grand thought", as if we could somehow tap into His thought and share His "storied wisdom" and "acumen", or His stored-up knowledge. Of course, this idea is what drives Adventist education and even vegetarianism: having a clear mind so one can perceive God.

God is the living Word. We don't look for "vision fresh" for our places of learning. Education is not the path to enlightenment. Knowing Jesus is life and light; it has nothing to do with "grand thought" or with finding Him in nature. Life and light are possible only when we submit to Jesus and repent, receiving His blood as payment for our sin. Developmentally disabled people, people with chronic illnesses, people with learning disabilities—ALL are able to know Him without ever having "grand thoughts" or "vision fresh" or trekking the trail of education with boldness.

And He is not in His creation. He is outside and over His creation, and we are completely under His sovereign dominion.

Registered user
Username: River

Post Number: 8054
Registered: 9-2006

Posted on Tuesday, November 20, 2012 - 6:24 am:   Edit PostDelete PostPrint Post   Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

When I read the song some scripture came to mind. It starts at I Corinthians 15:33 and runs to I Corinthians 15:50.

Corinthians I 15:50 But this I say, brethren, that flesh and blood cannot inherit God's kingdom, nor does corruption inherit incorruptibility.

Obviously hymns sang to the glory and praise of God do have value, but the song lacks spiritual value. Of course this should not surprise us that it does not bear the marks of spirituality. They try, but give away their pedigree. It has the markedly earthy flavor.

Someone said recently that they have had years to try to prefect sounding evangelical.

Yes, they have, but then give themselves away in one fell swoop. That, that is of the earth is earthy and that, that is of heaven is heavenly and any attempts to disguise oneself who has not been born of the spirit has the smell of death on them.

Registered user
Username: Rain

Post Number: 100
Registered: 9-2011

Posted on Wednesday, November 21, 2012 - 5:59 am:   Edit PostDelete PostPrint Post   Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

I thought it was a confusing read at first too. I see where you guys are coming from now, though.

I'm okay with attributing God with thought. The Bible attributes a lot of things to God that, as far as I know, we can only attach human-like characteristics to: wisdom, strength, understanding, knowledge, etc. It seems very hard to use any words to describe God without putting him in a box. Am I wrong?
Registered user
Username: Animal

Post Number: 1021
Registered: 7-2008

Posted on Wednesday, November 21, 2012 - 1:31 pm:   Edit PostDelete PostPrint Post   Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

i think all our descriptive words concerning Diety will fall way short of reality, But God understands the meanings of our attempts to express in words our thoughts about Him. Just like when we pray.

Animal...aint God good !!!

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