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11.16.15

Should worship be only about God and me?

Filed under: Discipleship,worship — 4:10 pm

I love the conversation that Missio Alliance — a network churches connecting around a theology and practice of mission — is curating these days for the sake of the world. They are thoughtful, diverse, bold, and completely committed to joining God’s mission of redeeming and restoring of all things. If you’re exploring the intersection of theology and mission, definitely check out their website and get connected.

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Today, I got to write for their blog and share something I’ve been thinking about for a long time: Should worship be only about God and me?  Here’s the post…

It recently occurred to me that 95% of modern worship music is about God or about me. We largely sing about who God is (“Good Good Father”), what God has done for me (“This is Amazing Grace”), and what I’m going to do for God (“The Stand”). I affirm all three of these postures as deeply good and necessary.

However, Jesus didn’t only teach about God and me. Much of Jesus’ teachings were about how we treat one another and how we treat “the other.” In fact, Jesus directly tied our love for God to our love for others, and directly linked God’s forgiveness for us with our forgiveness of others. (Matt 6:15) Notice how much of his most famous sermon (on the mount) explores how we treat those inside and outside of our community, rather than our own relationship with God. We find this all over the scriptures (the laws of Moses, Paul’s letters, etc). God seems intent on creating a holy people, not just billions of holy individuals. Much of what it means to follow God in the way of Christ has to do with how we treat each other.

Yet we come together each Sunday and sing individualistic songs to our personal God. We all stand facing the same way (rather than toward each other), dim the lights (so we’re not distracted by seeing each other), and have a deeply personal, one-on-one experience with our Creator…

Read the whole post here.

 

3 Comments »

  1. Aaron in truth and in love I do believe that you are sincere seeker. However you must know that as a leader, as a teacher, you will be held to a higher standard by God. As you blog, I would ask you this-if you are uncertain about what you believe, why in the world are you attempting to lead others in an “experiment”? It is heartbreaking to see people who are sincerely seeking being led into a collective of man made doctrines, traditions, self-absorbed philosophies and vain reasonings when the Word of God is available to seriously study and find out what God has to say. You can debate and converse with a million so-called spiritual directors about what they believe, they are just men. If you really are that fascinated with Catholic mysticism then join the Catholic Church, but before you take others with you, have the ethical integrity to study the origins of the church, what the activities of the mass actually represent, and what the doctrines of the Catholic Church actually teach. There are Catholic believers, but you need to take the collective “wisdom” of your “spiritual directors” (shouldn’t the Holy Spirit be in this role?) and find out whether what they are telling you aligns with the Bible and what God has to say about worship before you attempt to lead others-the Bible says to test the spirits to see whether they are truly from God. I had to study the Bible to find out why I felt so uncomfortable with the Catholic Church’s teachings growing up in the church;there are no short cuts-especially if the souls of other people depend on what you’re doing. The people in the Practice should not be treated as laboratory animals in some grandiose theological experiment of a few; their souls hang in the balance! Yes, the meditation of new age Catholic mysticism can be quite an “experience,” but we should walk by faith, not by sight and what we “feel.” If you truly love the people you are leading, then please, please, love them enough to study the Bible at least as much as you are studying what mere human philosophers believe.

    Comment by Carol — January 1, 2016 @ 8:01 pm

  2. Hi Carol-

    I am Catholic and I can totally understand where you are coming from. Unfortunately, I think many people of the Catholic Church misunderstand its teachings, and represent it wrongly. In reality, the heart of the Church is the gospel…just like any other Christian Church. I have found that when I truly seek the truth of what the Church believes, I find it to be completely in tune with the heart of the Bible. It is refreshing and encouraging for me to see people like Aaron, so rooted in the freedom of Christ, also coming to appreciate some of the Church’s practices. I think the Catholic Church desperately needs these reminders of what our traditions are meant to be!! Thank.you. Aaron.

    Comment by Carrie Schuessler — January 6, 2016 @ 9:47 pm

  3. I completely resonate with you on your main point, the 95% focus. And here I thought I was the only one who felt that way! As a volunteer worship leader, I search long and hard for songs that balance out that perspective. I have only found a few really good ones. Can you suggest any songs that work for worship on this front?

    The 4-part assessment you suggest is really good; I’d suggest a fifth point around “the gospel,” or “person and work of Jesus Christ.” (but I wouldn’t rank it #5!)

    Finally, thank you for sharing the ‘praying in pictures.’ Can’t wait to try that.

    Good stuff, brother!

    Comment by Drew — January 16, 2016 @ 12:27 am

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