Monday, March 8, 2010

Worship Redefined

A Methodist church near where we live has this sign on its front lawn.


So I wondered, what IS the new definition of worship? For that matter, what is the old definition, that it needed reworking?

So I had a look at their web page and found out. Worship redefined is vibrant and participatory.

Worship redefined means it is multi-sensory. "On a given Sunday, it may include multi-faceted visual images, sounds, and/or even smells."

The new worship means will not be the same from Sunday to Sunday, but will "include surprises, even to its planners". (We may only hope all the surprises will be pleasant ones.)

It will be "organic", whatever that means, and fluid. It will be less structured, presumably to allow more freedom (freedom?), and it will be more informal. Or as a neighboring church advertises, "Casual Worship, Sunday, 6 p.m." Casual worship? You can worship God casually?

Do congregations that do this realize they're tacitly saying their worship all these centuries up to now, before it was redefined, was non-vibrant, non-participatory, unappealing to the senses, boring, stuffy, non-fluid (gaseous? solid?) and inorganic? Do they wonder how, or even whether, God could ever have accepted such worship?

10 comments:

amy said...

oh my ...I shouldn't be surprised, but these new "emergent" church types make me sad. A dog chasing it's tail.

s-p said...

On the other hand the further they seem to get from the Truth the closer they come back around to it. Someone on the worship committee is delving into Church history... I guarantee it.

margaret said...

There's nothing quite as off-putting as accessorised worship. I really do think the Protestants would do themselves a big favour if they went back to expounding the Word and singing hymns by Wesley and Newton.

Anam Cara said...

This is a real life example right out of the Sola Scritura podcast you so graciously transcribed:


I think that honest-hearted believers within the Western traditions have always sensed this in their souls. And that is why, over the centuries, they have constantly sought some new way of being with God. They have diligently searched for a faith that brings Him nearer than their inherited, philosophical theology allows. And that’s why the history of the Christian West is written in movements; the Reformation movement, the Puritan movement, the Methodist movement, the Advent movement, the Charismatic movement, the Emergent Church movement and so on. This spiritual longing is also the reason behind that phenomenon within Evangelical Christianity which even many Evangelicals refer to as “Christian faddism”. Believers move from Promise Keepers to What Would Jesus Do to the Purpose-driven Life to … dream interpretation, and other popular spiritual programs which they hope will enliven their experience with God with some new degree of intimacy.

DebD said...

They may not all wonder about it, but certainly some have/will. Most of us converts did. Worship is exactly what got me started.

h west said...

No, they don't 'realize' and no, they don't 'wonder'. Part of this is, in a way, not their fault. Orthodoxy is so 'unknown' still in more ways than one. However, I agree with s-p and DebD. Some of them will want to realize and want to wonder and some of them will find.

Anastasia Theodoridis said...

Not disagreeing with anyone, but I have a feeling some of them will not wonder, simply because they've forgotten worship is supposed to be for pleasing God, not for providing a satisfactory consumer experience for us.

Anam Cara said...

Bingo!

And that explains why the question is asked, "How was church today?"

DebD said...

Anastasia.. I agree. Many will simply not wonder. It is a frustration I face quite often with my friends.

Kacie said...

great stream of comments. I agree with s-p that sometimes the "worship redefined" type of thing is simply the marketing of someone that is delving back into historical forms that seem fresh compared to their own forms that have grown and are dying with a generation.

But yes, you're right. Sometimes people think and seem. And some don't. I am a seeker.