I just posted this on Twitter and had a hard time articulating what I really want to say in 140 characters:
If I had to choose: I would take one simple act of service to a person in need over singing 100 songs at a Christian rock/’worship event’
Let me expound…
I’ve been living in a place where I’m very removed from the Christian sub-culture of my past. I don’t often hear of the newest and ‘greatest’ trends ins Churchianity. And when I do get wind of these trends I’m often left feeling like Christianity is running on a newer, more clever, more ‘excellent’ treadmill that we’ve been running on for generations. While we get better and better at ‘doing Church’ we don’t make any real progress in being the ambassadors of Jesus that we’re beckoned/supposed/called/asked/left to be.
I was watching a video on youTube of a Christian rock concert that we now call a worship event. Worship leaders are the new Christian rock stars. I wonder how many ‘worship’ albums have been produced and sold in the past 5 years? The funny thing is that I’m having a hard time calling this a worship movement. It’s a movement, but of the consumeristic kind: consuming experience, consuming more musical gear, consuming more CD’s, consuming the latest trends…But I can’t call this a movement of true worship of God. Yes, it’s singing song to and about God, and this is a part of worship, but it’s not the full thing. It’s like a reading a restaurant menu out-loud and ordering the food, but not eating.
So here is what I’m not saying: I’m not saying that I don’t like singing as worship. I’m not saying that it’s not worship. I’m not saying that it is not beneficial. I’m not saying I don’t buy Christian worship albums that I like. I’m not saying that I don’t appreciate Christians who lead worship or make a living by leading worship.
I am saying that I have a growing concern that worship is a new form of consumerism that feels like the ‘right kind of spirituality’ for a demographic of people that prefer to ‘feel Jesus’ as opposed to living for and like Him. If our expressions of worship only move us into wanting newer/better/more exciting singing and music, then I don’t believe it’s really worship. True encounter with God draws us into being more like him: sent into the world to be messengers of promise, grace, love, hope, and forgiveness. If my singing and music were becoming idols in my life over-and-above following Jesus into the world then I would never pick up a guitar again. I’m not saying that as hyperbole. Better is one day fixating on the right things of God, than thousands elsewhere….
You may call me judgmental or whatever. I know that post like this runs that risk…critiquing worship. But if you feel defensive about this (as I do a little bit even myself) then I think there might be something to look at.
After all, we learn in scripture (Micah 6:8) what God requires of us: To do justice, love mercy, and to walk humbly. I fail to see anything in there that says, “Let’s turn the amps up to 11 and rock out for Jesus.” But maybe that’s just me…