2012 NIT Bracket Predictions

The NCAA has announced the pairings for the 2012 NIT Championship – the tournament featuring schools that couldn’t get into the Big Dance.  For better and for worse, my Tennessee Volunteers are among the NIT headliners.  It’s disappointing only in that they were so close to NCAA Tourney consideration. But in all honesty, I have been hoping the Vols would go to the NIT rather than NCAA anyway.  In the NCAA they are likely one-an-done; in the NIT they could be the ones cutting down the nets in Madison Square Garden in a couple weeks.

While I have not done this in the past, and probably few will care now, below is my initial bracket predictions for the NIT’s:

Round One

Region 1

Region 2

Region 3

Region 4

Here are the actual NIT brakcets from the NCAA: 2012 NIT.  Below are my initial predictions for the whole tournament.  I will update it after each round to reflect my new predictions with the teams that are actually still in contention.

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Sentimentality in Worship

In his book, Worship: Together We Celebrate, Leslie Flynn notes:

In many churches the art of worship has markedly declined. The so-called hour of worship has become a time when mind and emotions are anesthetized into neutral. Out of habit, church obligation, affection for the minister, peer pressure, family togetherness, patriotism, or community expectation, people sink into their usual pews.

I don’t know Leslie Flynn, nor much about him.  (In fact, I didn’t even know Leslie was a “him” when I wrote the first draft of this post.) But while I may not know much about Leslie Flynn, I do concur with his assessment.

Worship of the One True God, which is  an action hardwired into the essence of humanity and, as John Calvin once said, is “our highest calling and most noble endeavor”, is a largely misunderstood and vainly practiced experience. Genuine worship, as Tozer lamented, has too often been replaced by a “program” or “show”.

While I sympathize with Flynn’s lament of vapid reasons that motivate many people to occupy a pew, his assessment that emotions have been “anesthetized” resonates even more.  I am disappointed whenever I participate in an emotionless worship service, whether the absence is from within me or in the general atmosphere.  Genuine and acceptable worship carries deep and real passions, and engages both the head and the heart.  But I am at least equally chagrined when I participate in a service where emotion is present but substance is lacking.  In such cases, which are all too common,  what is passing for worship is really various forms of sentimentalism.

What’s the difference?

I am thankful that the folks from the Center for Christian Study in St Louis  have taken the time and effort to describe the differences, giving both examples and historical patterns.  Their perspective in a Q & A session below is worth consideration:

Q: You say biblical music is emotional, but you reject sentimental music in corporate worship. What’s the problem with sentimentality, and how can you develop emotion in worship?

Sentimental music is music with lyrics directly addressing the affections. All worship music should work on the affections, but there are two ways of doing this.

The biblically faithful way to work the emotions in music is indirect – through God-centered content. A song addressed to God, a song that proclaims his holiness, power, transcendence or grace, or which expresses to him our utter needfulness of him; such songs work the heart with the head.

A sentimental song seeks to bypass the mind and speak to the emotions directly. It’s the “I’m so happy” syndrome. If you sing about being happy, you won’t necessarily be happy. In corporate worship, sentimental lyrics communicate how we’re supposed to feel, rather than directing us to a God who is altogether desirable.

Sentimentality can work in private worship, provided you actually feel the way the lyrics say you should feel. It doesn’t work in corporate worship, however. What actually frees us to worship God is a demonstration of who God is and how he is committed to us. It’s the truth that sets us free, not singing about how syrupy we feel (or don’t feel, turning us further inward on ourselves).

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