Friday, October 14, 2005

Worship and Other Island Tales

Aloha from sunny CA. I listened in on a recent round table discussion with three Southern California (SoCal) reformed tradition - but emergent- young pastors. I came across the round table pod cast whilst reading Messy Christian’s blog (Oct 12 “The Podcasts I’m Listening to”) a day or so ago.

The interaction was really quite positive. Insightful – even. As I wrestle with connecting our little fellowship to the historic but living threads of the tapestry of Christ’s church, the application of a practical catechism and a “here to meet with God” liturgy were terrific thoughts.

During the discourse,however, criticism was intimated towards a local-albeit unnamed- So Cal church for “ appealing not to the “spiritual seeker” but rather to the “spiritual tourist”. Given the region (SoCal and OC) and being a little bit familiar with the emergent conversation, I thought I had a pretty good idea of the “church in question".

Here’s the controversial smorgasbord"ish" listing of “worship offerings” on any given weekend.

Main Service is our venue for those looking for a style of praise and worship with a full band.

Praise is our venue for those who prefer to spend a little longer singing songs and features a Gospel Choir. Praise! Meets in Venue Tent 3.

OverDrive is our venue featuring a rock 'n roll music style. This venue is for those that like their worship loud. OverDrive meets in Venue Tent 2

Ohana Come for the worship... Stay for the sounds of the islands. Experience hospitality and hugs. Learn to worship through signing or hula. Room 404 near the Beach Cafe and island huts.

Elevation is our venue for all singles. The Saturday night service at 6:30pm is projected through a live video link in Venue Tent 2. You'll get the same great message along with live music.

Passion Join us for a time of expressive worship and heartfelt praise. The look and feel is younger than our main service and more intimate.

El Encuentro Worship with music in Spanish and listen to the live message in either English or Spanish. El Encuentro meets in the Plaza Room.

Traditions Enjoy a lower volume worship experience with a mix of classic hymns, old favorites, and cherished choruses. The message is videocast on the big screen for great viewing.

Country Country music, boots, and buckles are all part of this worship experience with a videocast message. Line dancing for novices and experienced dancers happens after the service. (Note: Children and youth programming is not available for this venue.)

Granted it sounds a bit over the top; however, the intimated criticism and the actual reality that a church really does offer such a buffet style “church gathered” weekend put two thoughts in conflict for me. The conflict is best articulated by the Apostle Paul:

Observation 1:

Brothers and sisters, when I came to you I didn't come with fancy words or great wisdom. I preached to you the truth about God's love. I made up my mind to pay attention to only one thing while I was with you. That one thing was Jesus Christ and his death on the cross.

When I came to you, I was weak and afraid and trembling all over. I didn't preach my message with clever and compelling words. As I preached, the Holy Spirit showed his power. That was so you would believe not because of human wisdom but because of God's power. The Apostle Paul (I Cor 2:1-5 NIrV)

Observation 2:

Now I want you to know, brothers, that what has happened to me has really served to advance the gospel. As a result, it has become clear throughout the whole palace guard and to everyone else that I am in chains for Christ. Because of my chains, most of the brothers in the Lord have been encouraged to speak the word of God more courageously and fearlessly.

It is true that some preach Christ out of envy and rivalry, but others out of goodwill. The latter do so in love, knowing that I am put here for the defense of the gospel. The former preach Christ out of selfish ambition, not sincerely, supposing that they can stir up trouble for me while I am in chains. But what does it matter? The important thing is that in every way, whether from false motives or true, Christ is preached. And because of this I rejoice. The Apostle Paul (Philippians 1:12-18 NIV)

Any thoughts? It’s worth the wrestling for- like it or not – the whole of the church (emergent, traditional, modern, post modern, etc.) is The Body of Christ (catholic/universal) and we have the commission to love each – the easily lovable and the challenging.

"A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another." Jesus Christ (John 13:34-35 NIV)

Let me know what you think and God Bless


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