Now What?

As I embark on this new adventure with God, I have decided to do something different, something ancient. I have sensed a calling from the Lord to step out of the boat.  I haven’t abandoned ship because of the storm or the rough seas. Like Peter, I heard Jesus say “come,” to experience Him in a new way. I have opted out of the institutional church; not in protest or bitterness, but spiritual necessity.

I am not alone; a faithful band of brothers and sisters asked me to walk with them. “Origins,” a simple church, was born. Our first worship gathering was last night. We broke bread together. Actually we had Taco Soup, but you get the idea. We sang and prayed together. Then we finished up with a discussion series on life lessons from Peter. You can engage in this discussion titled, “OK, We’re Out of the Boat! Now What?” at

It is exciting to look into the face of Christ and step out. Thank God, when I focus on the storm, He will immediately reach out, take my hand, and rescue me.

(see Matthew 14 for the first hand account of Peter’s experience)

Go and Sin No More (originally posted 05.14.2007)

I have been labeled, at best a troublemaker, at worst a heretic . . . again. But, to know me is to love me. I am a 45 year old undergrad at Leavell College on the Campus of New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary, a lover of grace, and one who has great disdain for the law. I want so much for all Jesus went through to mean something to the people around me. After all, if the law had been effective in perfecting the sinner, I am quite sure a loving God would not have asked such a thing of His one and only Son. Focus on the scourging and the crucifixion if you must, but I think the thing worth sweating great drops of blood over was the act of a sinless man bearing the weight of the world’s sin upon himself. The least I can do is accept this great thing, done for me when I didn’t deserve it. Man, my sins hadn’t even been carried out yet. The “paid in full” voucher had been sitting there waiting for me to pick it up. I didn’t get some kind of starter kit, I’m 100% forgiven! I’m a new creation!

That said, I was so bold as to suggest, in a doctrinal theology course, that after someone is saved it is possible to finish out your Christian walk without sinning. Wow! You would have thought I was suggesting a dance contest with Jello shots. Now, before you draw your label gun, consider this, in order to disagree you must believe two things; 1) that you are a NOT a new creation, and 2) that God’s not big enough to pull it off.

Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new. (2 Corinthians 5:17)

And He has said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness.” Most gladly, therefore, I will rather boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may dwell in me. (2 Corinthians 12:9)

For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation to all men, 12 instructing us to deny ungodliness and worldly desires and to live sensibly, righteously and godly in the present age, 13 looking for the blessed hope and the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior, Christ Jesus, 14 who gave Himself for us to redeem us from every lawless deed, and to purify for Himself a people for His own possession, zealous for good deeds. (Titus 2:11-14)

Now in my personal experience it is improbable, even inconceivable, but I believe the Holy Spirit that dwells in me can do it. That is what gives me abundant life. I can’t image what it is to live life anticipating your next transgression, so focused on inevitable failure that you miss the great adventure the Almighty Creator has planned just for you. Have I missed Christ’s message altogether? Have I become a heretic? . . . Or the renegade I long to be.

Pharisees and Drums

A Google search of “Christian+drums” dug up this paranoid, moralistic, caustic, fodder for twenty first century Pharisees. I usually let these things go, but this is maddening.
What do you think? is the source of all this proof-texting.

An excerpt from “Bible Guidelines for Christian Music.”

The Bible lists many kinds of instruments: Psalms 150:3-5 says:
3 Praise him with the sound of the trumpet: praise him with the psaltery and harp.
4 Praise him with the timbrel and dance: praise him with stringed instruments and organs.
5 Praise him upon the loud cymbals: praise him upon the high sounding cymbals. Psalms 150:3-5
With all the many references to musical instruments, there is one instrument that is NEVER mentioned! The DRUM! Why is that? The drum was a very common instrument in Egypt and the lands around Israel. And yet the DRUM is NEVER mentioned in a King James Bible.
Did the Lord just forget to include the DRUM or is there another reason?
Is it because — drums are associated with voodoo, shamanism, paganism and magic rituals?
“[Drums] represents the beat of the heart and is played to summon up magic powers.” (Miranda Bruce-Mitford, The Illustrated Book of Signs & Symbols, DK Publishing, 1996 p.80)
“The shaman was the original ‘long hair’, the first rock star draped in leather, dancing POSSESSED to a rhythm banged out on A DRUM.” (Danny Sugerman, Appetite for Destruction, p. 208)
In Siberia, in northern Asia, drums are used in shamanic rituals to heal people. It is believed that the shaman can communicate with the spirit world THROUGH DRUMMING. (Louise Tythacott, Musical Instruments, Thomas Learning, 1995, p. 37)
“Pagan dances and rituals are always accompanied by the incessant BEAT of DRUMS. Rhythm plays a major role in these demonic activities.” (Hart, Lowell Satan’s Music Exposed, Salem Kirban Inc., 1980 p.71)
Robert Palmer is a contributing editor to Rolling Stone and other rock magazines. Palmer has also taught courses in music at Yale, and many other universities. Palmer was the chief advisor for the highly acclaimed “History of Rock ‘n’ Roll” that aired on public television. Palmer, an advocate and lover of rock music, is among the leading authorities on rock music. Here’s what Palmer says about rock and the drum:
“Bata drums [drums used in voodoo], sacred to the Yoruba people of Nigeria and Cuba: Their push and pull provided a template for the inner rhythms of rock and roll.” (Palmer, Robert Rock & Roll An Unruly History, Harmony Books, New York, 1995 p.46)
“The idea that certain RHYTHM patterns or sequences serve as conduits for spiritual energies, linking individual human consciousness with the gods, is basic to traditional African religions, and to African-derived religions throughout the Americas. And whether we’re speaking historically or musicologically, the fundamental riffs, licks, bass figures, and drum rhythms that make rock and roll can ultimately be traced back to African music of a primarily spiritual or ritual nature. In a sense, rock and roll is a kind of ‘voodoo’ . . . ,” (Robert Palmer, Rock & Roll, An Unruly History, Harmony Books, New York, 1995 p.53)
Palmer describes how drums are used in “voodoo” possession — and the same drum patterns are part of the basics of rock ‘n’ roll and CCM!
“Bata drummers tap out their toques, or rhythm patterns, like signals to the realm of the gods, inviting and enticing them to come on down and mount or POSSESS their horses, or devotees. . .The specific drum patterns or toques include some riffs and licks basic to the rock and roll vocabulary.” (Palmer, Robert Rock & Roll An Unruly History, Harmony Books, New York, 1995 p.62)
Here’s an episode from the occult, new-age magazine, New Age Journal, describing the “possessing” power of drums. Notice, even the devotees of the occult stay away from those drums:
“I remembered a conversation I’d once had in Cuba with a reporter from The New York Times, ‘Stay away from those drums,’ he had told me, referring to the ones said to call down the gods in Santeria’s sacred ceremonies. ‘If I ever really gave in to those DRUMS, my life would change in ways I’m not prepared to take on,’ he had added. I knew what he was talking about. It was all there in the drumming. Listen long enough, and some energy field, some kind of interconnectedness, became palpable. I was hungry for those drums. Yet I still ran from them.” (A Shaman’s Story, by Elizabeth Hanly (A Vodoun priest leads the author on a journey of understanding, New Age Journal, March/April 1997 pp.56-57)
Little Richard, the self-professed “architect of rock ’n roll”, readily admits Satan’s control and influence in his life and rock music:
“My true belief about Rock ‘n’ Roll — is this: I believe this kind of music is demonic . . . A lot of the BEATS in music today are taken from voodoo, from the voodoo DRUMS.” (Charles White, The Life and Times of Little Richard, p. 197)
Danny Sugerman, an authority on rock music, and author of several books on rock, writes in Appetite for Destruction:
“The shaman was the original ‘long hair’, the first rock star draped in leather, dancing possessed to a rhythm banged out on a DRUM. . . To these people, communication with the gods was synonymous with DRUMS . . .the body can become the conduit for a deity, a deity not necessarily the same sex as the worshiper, and DRUMS are the catalyst for the whole process. The trance of the RHYTHM then begets the hysteria, which begets what Westerners simplistically call ‘possession’.” (Danny Sugerman, Appetite for Destruction, p.208, 181)
David Tame writes in The Secret Power of Music:
“Today’s DRUMMER differs but little from the shaman in his incessant beating out of a rhythm, and likewise often enters into a form of trance while performing.” (The Secret Power of Music, David Tame, p. 199)
The DRUM has always been associated with the paganism and the devil. In fact, a little more than a hundred years ago, drums were forbidden (exy th for the military) in America!
“The arrival of African slaves has had one of the strongest influences on North American music. In the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, millions of African people were taken as slaves to the U.S. to work on plantations in the South. They brought many of their own traditions with them but were forbidden to play their DRUMS.” (Louise Tythacott, Musical Instruments, Thomas Learning, 1995, p.19)
Do you know why New Orleans is the voodoo capital of the U.S, and also the birthplace of jazz? Because drumming was forbidden in the U.S. – except in New Orleans!
“This was especially true in New Orleans. African-based DRUMMING, singing, and dancing, discouraged and repeatedly banned elsewhere in North America, had flourished there since the early eighteenth century. This unique heritage has informed and enlivened New Orleans music ever since, as well as distinguishing it from the rest of American musical culture, making the city an ideal incubator for a nonmainstream music as rhythmically oriented as rock and roll. (Palmer, Robert Rock & Roll An Unruly History, Harmony Books, New York, 1995 p.21)
When the first blacks from Africa were converted to Christianity they knew the power and evil influence of DRUMS. And the converted blacks strictly forbid the use of drums! They referred to the drums as “the Devil’s drum”. (Martha Bayles, Hole in Our Soul: The Loss of Beauty and Meaning in American Popular Music, p. 138)
“Historically blacks had drawn the line between particular instruments and practices; They permitted tambourines, for instance, but not DRUMS.” (Martha Bayles, Hole in Our Soul: The Loss of Beauty and Meaning in American Popular Music, p. 130)
One simple guideline for Christian music is NO DRUMS!

Well . . . The Bible never mentions the piano or organ either, which happen to be percussion instruments. I wonder if the author owns a gun or a knife since those things, if not used to glorify God, are clearly deadly as well. I look forward to your thoughts.