What Have We Become?

Sometimes it's good to take a long look at yourself in the mirror…and laugh.

And then, ask yourself some tough questions…like…

Have we become an overly consumer-driven, rootless evangelicalism that borrows our worship rituals more from a culture of entertainment than from historic expressions of faith? No finger-pointing, here. Just an encouragement to do some soul-searching.

http://vimeo.com/moogaloop.swf?clip_id=11501569&server=vimeo.com&show_title=1&show_byline=1&show_portrait=0&color=&fullscreen=1

"Sunday's Coming" Movie Trailer from North Point Media on Vimeo.

I should add that this was made by the good folks at North Point, which is to say that this isn't made by sometime anti-church group slamming what we do. It's a way of challenging us to keep asking the tough questions even as we "speak the language of our culture". The first call is to live out as the people of God, not to reach out. If we try to reach out and add to the people of God at the expense of our identity as the people of God, then what are we adding to?

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6 thoughts on “What Have We Become?

  1. If we don’t keep up with the culture, don’t we run the risk of becoming one of those “dry, dead churches” we warn our congregations about? Don’t we have to have some “excitement” to keep people coming? If we’re not cool, we’re, like…nowhere. How do we make God exciting and attractive enough to have folks show up? 😉

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  2. Marelize and I discussed this video a bit yesterday, funny and sad all at the same time.
    Sometimes I wonder if we should close up the church doors and take a year-long sabbatical from the traditional Sunday morning service and instead have brunch with fellow believers and neighbors in our homes (don’t take this as a pitch for the house-church movement).
    After this year we can come back to our church buildings and have a big meeting and decide what we should be doing. I would be willing to be that it wouldn’t look like what we have now.
    It’s very hard to understand or critique a method or system from the inside.

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  3. It has been along time since I have been in such a flash protestant service. Overseas we are still making the adjustment from overheads to video projectors.
    One quick personal note, since we converted to Orthodoxy, when ever I return to a protestant service, I have no idea what to look at or what to do. I feel really passive. It seems weird to be looking at a band for 15-20 minutes while I am singing to God or to be listening to a guy for 30 mins while I am sitting down. Everything seems to point to a man/sometimes woman, stealing attention away from Christ. For me in order to can focus, I have to close my eyes most of the time. But this act takes away from the what I believe is the intention of our gatherings: our being together. If my eyes are close most of the time, I have a personal encounter. But when we are together this encounter ought to be corporate and shared.
    This is a huge contrast to the iconography and physical nature of Orthodox worship. Even if my mind is trying to wander, I am continually bombarded by images of Christ, the Theotokos, the Saints. The constant crossing my self and bowing helps to keep me mentally and physically present. The incense, the bells, the candles, the repetition, the movement, and the lack of chairs conspire to make me uncomfortable and aware that I am someplace altogether different than my regular life, that I am participating in something significant, mystical, and ancient.
    These are some of my observations when I cross back over, and this video made me feel like sharing them here. Ooops sorry!
    So when you ask if some borrow more from the entertainment culture, yes some/many do. This speaks to a more fundamental question, what is(ought to be) the nature of corporate worship?

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  4. It’s not up to us to “make God exciting”… He’s already done that well enough all on His own. What IS up to us is to speak God’s truth, as written in His Word – not to embellish it, spice it up, or add/remove from it. His Word stands on its own.
    The most freeing thing I ever learned as a worship leader is that it’s NOT up to me to “make worship happen” by playing the most emotional songs or telling heart-rending stories. It’s up to me to lead my team in playing the songs that God laid on my heart to do, and letting the Holy Spirit do what He does best… minister to the people where they are.
    In Christ,
    Jason

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  5. Wow, pretty thought provoking. Brings me back to a vision I had years ago at the WPC. I was in the midst of an old theater where there were long red velvet curtains with an old wooden stage. Jesus was in the wings waiting for us to ask Him to be the Master of Ceremonies. We just kept performing and were so busy in the performance that we didnt even glance His way. It was a grievous feeling to watch Him and the disappointment He showed. I believe in any gathering it is easy to miss why we gather and who is The One that should always be front and center. If we lift Him up He will draw all men unto Himself. Hasn’t the age old question been…Will we prepare a place for Him to dwell….I believe He shows up as a result of a heart posture….always draws near to the humble, broken hearted, those who realize they desperately need Him, not at a service but in every moment of every day. Will we prepare a place for Him to dwell personally and corporately? kathy
    walton

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  6. I saw the video last week as well. I think that as Christians we have to respect methodology and worship the living God. There is a wisdom in the principle of the wineskin. The real message we bring is Christ, love, redemption, the power of the Word of God. But it’s pretty cool to package this awesome message into a methodology, a wineskin, a package…that the masses can relate to, that is relevant to the culture in which we live. We don’t worship the lights or the cool music. We don’t dare manipulate with a pregnant pause. But there’s nothing wrong with touching someone’s emotions because that’s the power of the Arts! The Arts allow us to touch beauty which is reflective of God’s glory. Exodus 28:2 tells us that Aaron’s tunics were made for beauty and glory. The beauty that we see from creation should always point us to God’s immeasurable glory! So as long as our cool original songs, tatooed associate pastors, and pausing pastors use their methods to bring the authentic message of Christ to a lost world and not for their own glory, I say go for it!

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