Monday, 23 June 2014

A Worshiping Christian's Blacklist

For these, you have shoot on sight authorization*:

1. Emotionalism

There's no therapist quite like Jesus.

Emotionalism is probably one of the most subtle forms of idolatry that I find lacing worship services. It's our self-indulgence in non-stop repeating of tasteless, meaningless, and heartily heartless bridges. It's our careless waltzing on the sparkling side of the Grace coin. It's a sad rejection of maturity and responsibility. And it's probably a bigger block against real sanctification than it should be. Simply put, it becomes more about my feelings rather than about God's delight and the object of worship, itself, shifts.

2. Atmosphere-ism 

Zach Snyder's Man of Steel required the right atmospheric conditions to be powerful. God is better than that.

In my mind, the need to create an "environment" or "atmosphere" where God can "move freely" seems to be a sort of marriage between materialism and emotionalism, at least in the context of corporate worship. Most Big Name worship bands, I believe, are at fault in this area, which saddens me because for some bands, namely Hillsong United, it might be their only significant one. Unlike the craving for a raw emotional high (first point), atmosphere-ism comes to us under the guise of service to God, as a kind of bridge between Him and us. Let's remember that a joyful experience in God's arms is not the aftermath of the right combination of light, fog machines and melodies but solely in the humble struggle to carry our cross. 

"Tell me, Jesus Culture, why do I feel so alive at your concerts and so dead everywhere else?"

3. Relativism

"Narrow is the gate to life... but feel free to believe what you want because no one knows the truth and who am I to judge." Said no prophet or apostle ever. But apparently, for some churches, when it comes to hermeneutics, it's open season. The problem with trying to work out Christian worship in a relativistic framework or a postmodern worldview is that your words are killed before they have the chance to be vocalized. The god you want to worship ends up being an entity without identity. Your "worship" is reinforced (and jettisoned) by standards founded on water rather than steel.

4. Preach-prayers

"Dear God, as we come before you in worship, I pray that you would remove all distractions from our hearts and minds, because you don't like it when people text in church and sing obnoxiously loud during the chorus and I ask that you would quickly silence the aloof spirit that commits such blasphemous deeds."

Worship leaders: there's a time and a place. 

"You shall fear the LORD your God; him alone you shall worship; to him you shall hold fast, and by his name you shall swear." ~ Deuteronomy 10:20
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* This was intended to be a joke, but could be misinterpreted. What I mean to say is that we should be diligent to fight the existence of these beliefs and/or tactics, if you will, in our own worship lives. We can even extend this pious, spiritual militarism in our conversations, but remember that pride and hypocrisy are the bane and biggest hindrance to genuine worship as well.