Sunday, February 01, 2009

Super Bowl Sunday and 728b History

My friend, Allan, posted this to his blog late Friday afternoon. It's a little late, but no less convicting as it calls us to consider our priorities. Does Matthew 6.33 mean all the time? Seriously? Here's Allan take, with a hearty "Amen" from a dad who takes seriously the stewardship of his children's faith and the message his decisions have on the formation of his children's faith:

I’ll never forget — ever — a telephone conversation I had with my sister, Rhonda, back on Super Bowl Sunday, 1994. It was about 2:00 pm. I don’t remember what we were talking about, but in the middle of the conversation, I told her I was skipping church to go to a Super Bowl party at a friend’s house.

She was genuinely surprised. “You’re skipping church to watch the Super Bowl?”

“Well, yeah.”

“You’re kidding.”

I said, “Rhonda, come on! You know me!”

And she said, “I thought I did.”

That was the last time I ever skipped church to watch a TV show. I urge you to make the same switch in your lifestyle and in the message you send your kids and your friends starting this weekend. Please don’t skip church this Sunday night to watch a TV show.

It is quite amazing that in an era of TIVO and DVR's, worship attendance on "Super Sunday" seems substantially less than before technology. Is it possible our hunger and thirst for an "experience" has marginalized our submission?

Could it be the culture is doing a better job impacting church than church is doing impacting culture?


My good friend, Jeremy Turner from the Bay Area and now living in Kansas, accepted the challenge of Friday's blog to dig up some history on "Our God, He is Alive" and its famed place as #728b. Here's what Jeremy found:

Your latest blog post and question inspired me into a little research into the so-called churches of Christ national anthem.

728B is found in Alton Howard's Songs of the Church which was published March 1st, 1971 (ISBN: 978-1878990136). "Our God, He Is Alive" was written by Dr. Aaron Wesley Dicus in 1966. Dr. Dicus was a scientist, inventor, songwriter, and minister. In his early years, he ministered to the church in Bloomington, Indiana. Every time you change lanes, think of Dr. Dicus, for he invented the automobile turn signal! He was deeply into the study of physics, mentoring many students who would go on to train in other areas such as nuclear research. ACU professor Bill Humble was one of his students. He served as the head of the Department of Physics at Tennessee Tech, before retiring early to teach and become a dean at a small Florida Christian college. His mathematical background spilled over into music and his faith. He wrote several songs, probably "Our God, He Is Alive" arguably being the most known. His physics, math, and music background also gave him the skills to consult with churches on designing their auditoriums.

None of that really answers your question, but I found it fascinating! From what I have heard (and therefore should be more as speculation), the song became so popular especially at youth events Howard Publishing felt they had to include it in the hymnal. I'm 99.9% sure there was a 728. But why didn't they pick 729?