Jenny Smith 12-05-2012
Photo: Nativity Scene, © Zvonimir Atletic / Shutterstock.com

Photo: Nativity Scene, © Zvonimir Atletic / Shutterstock.com

I can remember hearing several times as a middle and high schooler that Christians lie the most when they sing. These claims generally came from the mouths of college-aged worship leaders during emotional praise segments at mission camps and conferences. They were usually followed up with a heartfelt plea to raise honest words and promises to God during the next song. (And if we really meant it, we would ignore the burning stares of our judgmental, worldly peers and come down front for our seventh altar call.) 

Though I generally don’t remember these scenes and indictments fondly, I have recently been contemplating the idea of honest worship, especially in relation to the Christmas season. I mean, how often do we memorize a whole song and sing along to it regularly without really stopping to contemplate the lyrics? And even when we do realize what we’re singing, how often do we actually let those words transform our hearts or actions or perspectives?  

All of these thoughts started stewing in my mind during my Thanksgiving vacation two weeks ago. Per usual, I started playing Christmas music the day after Thanksgiving (and by the day after I mean a few days before). As I was washing dishes, belting out my favorite version of “O! Holy Night,” I was suddenly struck with the thought What am I singing? Read the lyrics below to see if you get what I mean. (Hint: my moment happened somewhere around the second verse.)

Lisa Sharon Harper 08-11-2011

They say at some point in their lives great leaders experience a "dark night of the soul," or a period in life when your feet, knees, and face scrape and stick to the proverbial bottom." It is a time when even your soul feels forsaken. Ultimately, the dark night is not about the suffering that is inflicted from outside oneself, even though that could trigger it. It is about the existential suffering rooted from within. St. John of the Cross, the 16th century Carmelite priest, described it as a confrontation, or a healing and process of purification of what lies within on the journey toward union with God.

"Whenever you face trials of any kind," explained the apostle James, "consider it nothing but joy, because you know that the testing of your faith produces endurance; and let endurance have its full effect, so that you may be mature and complete, lacking in nothing." (James 1:2-4)

Mimi Haddad 11-03-2010
If you are concerned about the question of gender and Christian faith you have probably heard someone say, "Yes, the woman's question is important, but it is not a 'primary issue.'" What is at the
Jim Rice 10-05-2010

Yesterday, I posted a blog about how to get beyond labels when engaging in discourse with another individual. Today I'd like to share some tips on how to get beyond labels and have civil discourse with a group.

Lisa Sharon Harper 04-29-2010

Certain moments in our nation's history have consistently opened the door for the least civil voices to enact evil through civil policy: think the institution of race-based U.S. slavery, the Indian removals, Jim Crow laws, legalized segregation, the federal protection of lynching mobs, and, don't forget, the Japanese internment camps, among others.

Duane Shank 03-03-2010
The recent decision by Goshen (IN) College to begin playing an instrumental version of the U.S.
Justin Fung 09-25-2009
Two hundred years after slavery was declared illegal in Great Britain, and 150 years after the Emancipation Proclamation in the United States, an estimated 27 million people remain enslaved around
Mimi Haddad 09-02-2009
Have you ever pondered the dangers of reading the Bible?
Eugene Cho 06-03-2009
Is it possible that we as Christians just aren't angry enough about injustices like human trafficking and slavery? Perhaps we've grown too desensitized, domesticated, and docile.
Mimi Haddad 05-29-2009
I heard a preacher once say, "Don't let facts blind you to the truth." What did he mean? Facts, misunderstood or taken out of context, can take us further away from, rather than closer to, truth.
Jeff Brazil 03-17-2009
It is said that everyone in the world is Irish today in honor of Saint Patrick.
Mimi Haddad 10-01-2008
Last week I celebrated the political prominence women enjoy today as a direct extension of the gains earned for women by early evangelica
Heltzel 06-01-2008

This spring, when inflammatory comments by Rev. Jere­miah Wright—Sen.

Julie Polter 12-01-2007

The prophetic voice of abolitionist Maria W. Stewart.

Jim Wallis 03-01-2007

Some years ago on a trip to the U.K., I walked through the historic Holy Trinity Church on Clapham Common in South London.

David Batstone 03-01-2007

Through faith and business savvy, the Hagar Project gives new life to freed slaves in Cambodia.

Elizabeth Palmberg 03-01-2007

The 18th and 19th century movement to abolish slavery, with its many Christian leaders, has much to teach us.

Dr. Samuel Cotton, a pioneer of the modern anti-slavery movement, died in December after a protracted battle with cancer.

Rose Marie Berger 09-01-2001

How Isabella Baumfree became Sojourner Truth.

Yvonne V. Delk 09-01-2001

2001 marked the 150th anniversary of Sojourner Truth's famous "Arn't I A Woman?" speech. What does this preacher, agitator, theologian, and ex-slave have to say to us today?