The Sound of Bad Theology

I love the classic Rodgers and Hammerstein musical The Sound of Music. It has a nostalgic effect on me. It is a moving story. The melodies are memorable. And in many ways it is wholesome entertainment.

But underneath even the most wholesome movies we must beware of wretched theology. Do I really need to have ‘confidence in me’? Or how about when an unexpected good happens to us, should we sing, ‘Nothing comes from nothing. Nothing ever could. So somewhere in my youth or childhood, I must have done something good’? There is no gospel here. It’s all a sugar-coated form of merit.

But I’ve been thinking lately about the scene where Maria is struggling to find God’s will for her life. Mother Superior’s advice is that she should ‘climb every mountain, ford every stream, follow every rainbow, ’till you find your dream.’ That seems to be the motto of our culture. It was the processional at my high school baccalaureate service. But what if, because of the security of the gospel… and the sure hope of heaven, the right Christian approach is to just pick a hill and die on it?

“Make it your ambition to lead a quiet life, to mind your own business and to work with your hands, just as we told you” (1Thess. 4:11).


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