Tuesday, May 02, 2006

I think

Thinking can be dangerous. Even more dangerous can be writing for others to read what we think. But here goes.

I think much "church" nowadays is insipid. Yet, people try so hard to flavor it with all kinds of obnoxious stuff (at least to me) that leaves me weary, frustrated, and detached.

I yearn for a church which first and foremost seeks to be truthful without diluting the Truth,
one that revers and upholds the Word of God, and preaches and practices letting God's Word guide and direct every aspect of faith and life,
one that embraces the Reformational standards, sees the importance of the Westminister Confessional Standards,
and one whose church music reflects those standards, whose verbal music is deep, searching, pregnant with meaning, and beautiful.

Often though, I find the modern church today is often one that seems to see the Word of God as an accessory to be laid aside when it is inconvenient,
one who claims to adhere to the Westminister Standards but in-name-only,
and one whose music is basically gospel camp meeting songs.
I love music. Beautiful music--both words and tune.
Not that there is not truth in "Standing on the Promises" or "Leaning on the Everlasting Arms" but to me, there is a deeper and more specific message to learn in "The Church's One Foundation" and "Before Jehovah's Awful Throne."

I covet this kind of a church: liturgical, no programs, no committees, only worship.

I think liturgical churches have a cloak of protection built in.
I think I am safer so-to-speak with congregational readings from the Bible, not some trendy modernist rendition of something you have no idea what you've assented to when you finish corporately reading.
I think I am safer with prayers from the Book of Common Prayer or from Scripture, not some rambling gush that often is just plain untruthful.
I think I am safer when the minister confines his sermons to the liturgical guide and preaches expositorily, rather than a topical, headline-of-the-day, springboard sermon.
I think I am safer when the sermon makes me feel uncomfortable because it is God's Truth, rather than making me feel good because it is easy or at ease because it was “good.”
I think I am safer when heads and hearts are bowed in humbleness rather than hands clapping as if in response to a performance.

I think we need to depart from experiential worship.
I think we need to start telling God who He is and what He has done,
rather than telling him who we are and what we have done.
If we need to experience something in worship, I think it is God's omnipotence and our unworthiness.
It makes me sick when responses in worship are not much different than a pep rally.


Kim said...


Jeff Miller said...

Thank you for putting this in words. Obviously, the church has always been an easy target. Today it is much moreso for many of the reasons in your post. The very fact that most evangelical Christians would scratch their heads at terms like Reformational and WC Standards is a pretty good indicator that the bones have pretty much crumbled and left a pile of skin and muscle in a heap on the floor. (poor analogy, don't analyze it much)

There is much to say here about church government, worship, theology, aesthetics, etc. But the main thing is that which you hit on in the last paragraph. The focus, in general, has shifted so completely from a focus on God's character, attributes, Word & action, to focusing on us (me),our actions, our needs, our experience(s), etc.
I don't have enough perspective to know if this is a predominately American thing, but American ideals certainly accentuate the improper focus.

Keep thinking!

Dana Miller said...

My thought processes aren't as clear as my dear husband's (my excuse is that I've been homeschooling, so all my words are used!), but will simply echo Kim's Amen!! I appreciate your thoughts so much.

Circle of Quiet said...

You've just made me more grateful for my church, Janie. We aren't liturgical (oh, I WISH!) but the focus on GOD, the treatment of the scriptures, the approach to worship, and the lack of busy-busy-busy programs bless me immensely.

Good thoughts. Don't hesitate to share them again as you ponder more.


Anonymous said...

If you're ever in Austin, TX, my church fits the bill! :-) Denise

Anonymous said...

I love your website. It has a lot of great pictures and is very informative.

robert said...

H-m-m... Well, I certainly agree with you that our churches need to nurture a love for the best in Christian hymnody. However, I personally appreciate a balance that includes the gospel songs loved by many. People can identify with the emotions being expressed. So, in my view, there is a place for both "How Great Thou Art" and "What a Friend We Have in Jesus."

This is why, in my daily blog on hymns, Wordwise Hymns, I feature both.