Monday, February 12, 2007

Reluctant Worship

I apologize to my readership that is not involved in the Church. This post might fall flat or at the very least fail to incite interest as I will be discussing a universally known issue in Christian Worship. Without a reference point it might be hard to relate.

Apologies and warnings aside, I have made mental notes on and off throughout my churchgoing days that now have me staring at one particular issue squarely. In most churches that I’ve attended we suffer from something called Reluctant Worship. Worship is supposed to be many things but at its bare bones, it is our response to the blessings of Christ. It is our way of honoring God and preparing our hearts properly for what will hopefully be an amazing message from the Pastor.

Lots of new improvements have been made in modern-day worship. Out with the hymnals and in with the movie screens. Out with the tired organ and in with the rock bands. Out with the tired old songs and in with some contemporary beats. What hasn’t changed? Our worship behavior. I cannot speak for all faiths or creeds so I may be way off with some of you. But I suspect you and/or others around you are Reluctant Worshipers.

It is amazing to me that we are ‘responding’ to the Good News with supposed hearts of joy and overwhelming thanks but it takes an act of God (literally) to get us to clap to the beat or raise our hands in the air or just move two inches one way or the other. I am amongst you, don’t worry. As outgoing and crazy as I can be…I am a fuddy-dud during worship. I see that random hand go up in the front isle and have envious thoughts…yet my hands dare not move. Ironically part of my fears stem from not wanting others to question my sincerity or making a spectacle of myself. Yet I stare at those very few that have such courage and judge them not. I suspect I could get out of my self created shell and have similar results.

Maybe it was how I was raised. Maybe it is the long entrenched roots that Protestant churches have in Catholicism. Maybe it is out of fear of what others might think. Whatever the root cause, many of us are guilty of a piss-poor worship response. We may or may not belt out the songs. We may not even concentrate or think about God and the message to come. I catch many looking over the bulletin and writing out checks during the most passion-felt of songs. Whatever the problem is…it needs remedy in a bad way.

If I was on my death bed and along came a guy that gave me a transfusion that saved my life, would I just casually shake his hand and nod in his general direction as thanks? No. I’d jump around, laugh, smile, and offer my eternal servitude. Yet Christ did more than save me from a fleshly death and there I stand/sit barely mouthing the words.

I am not proposing an all out charismatic movement. Part of my deep rooted fears are from watching such spectacles. You see them all of the time on TV. I have even been to such churches and feel no more comfortable with that style than I do my humdrum habit. But something needs to change. Something will change. At least for me.

I invite you to dance a small jig in your pew next week and think of TheEdge doing the same in Double Oak, TX. Who knows? Maybe it will catch on.

Friday, February 09, 2007

Jesus...My bro

You might find that I have a strange side to me. The following is evidence to that. Please don't use this against me in a court of law!

Jesus: Sup dude?

Me: Nuthin. You?

Jesus: Everything.

Me: Oh yeah. Forgot about that.

Jesus: You usually do. But no worries man. It’s cool.

Me: You’re very forgiving.

Jesus: So I’ve been told.

Me: Hey…how about showing me some miracles.

Jesus: Not in the mood bro. I’m not a Jeanie with three wishes or anything. Why people gotta front like that?

Me: It’s cool. Just conversing. (Grumbles) It’s not like 2000 years haven’t passed since your last magic trick.

Jesus: What’s that?

Me: Oh nothing.

Jesus: Liar. (long pause) Good thing I died for you.

Me: Yeah. Meant to thank you for that. (Changes subject) Hey. Wanna beer?

Jesus: I prefer wine. Got any Merlot 30AD

Me: Uhh…no. Just Franzia boxed wine.

Jesus: Holy me! You’re cheap.

Me: Did you just take your own name in vain?

Jesus: I can do that. You can’t. Stop trying to catch me in a sin.

Me: Well. It’s pretty intimidating to be pals with PERFECTION.

Jesus: Be angry but do not sin.

Me: Good one. You’re full of the jokes today. Something got the robes in a wad?

Jesus: Well, I’m still planning the “Come Back Tour” ya know.

Me: Yea. How’s that coming?

Jesus: Stressful. Catering a party that big takes a ton of planning. Father is willing to shell out the bucks but doesn’t have the time to help out. Spirit is Earthside with His hands full taking care of the flock. Michael tries to lend a hand now and then but always ends up getting called to Battle.

Me: Sucks dude. Sorry.

Jesus: Forget about it. Anything good on TV?

Me: Nothing you’d like…now that Football Season is over. Any chance you might help the Cowboys out next season?

Jesus: Impossible. Though I’d love to.

Me: Why?

Jesus: Jerry Jones.

Me: That didn’t stop you during the Aikman era.

Jesus: Wasn’t me.

Me: No? Then how did…?

Jesus: Satan.

Me: Sneaky devil!

Jesus: You ain’t kidding.

Me: (long pause) We can always go fishing.

Jesus: Now who’s full of jokes?

Me: Just thought I’d try.

[Beeping Sound]

Me: Pager?

Jesus: Yeah, sorry. Gotta take this one.

Me: No problem homes. Do your thang.

Jesus: Peace be with you.

Me: And also with…Hey what did we talk about?

Jesus: Right. I forgot. Peace out bro.

Me: Peace!

[Jesus fades out and then fades back in briefly]

Jesus: Yo, snoop.

Me: Yes my Savizzle?

Jesus: Go look at the Ozarka bottles in your fridge. Water into wine and all that. Don’t say I never did a magic trick for ya’s. Franzia! Pfft.

[Fades again]