Monday, June 22, 2015

Worship Expereinces vs. Worshipping Community

"Worship experiences are temporary. Worshiping communities are eternal...Worshipping communities have worship experiences. But worship experiences do not necessarily lead to worshipping communities."

- Josh Davis & Nikki Lerner - Worship Together: In Your Church As In Heaven. 28.

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

You Are What You Worship

Recently, I have been studying the formative affects of Christian worship. Are we, the worshipers, shaped by our worship and if so, how are we being shaped? Or is Christian worship just something we do in order to please, or worse yet, appease God's desire to be worshiped? What is our understanding of worship?

To answer these questions let us turn to Psalm 115 (NIV)
2 "Why do the nations say,
    “Where is their God?”
Our God is in heaven;
    he does whatever pleases him.
But their idols are silver and gold,
    made by human hands.
They have mouths, but cannot speak,
    eyes, but cannot see.
They have ears, but cannot hear,
    noses, but cannot smell.
They have hands, but cannot feel,
    feet, but cannot walk,
    nor can they utter a sound with their throats.
8 Those who make them will be like them,
    and so will all who trust in them.

Never mind the univocality of what scripture has to say about worship or what all of Church history says about it. This single passage alone tells us that worship, sacred or secular, is formative. At the most basic level, we are formed (or are being formed) into what we worship. We are never not worshipping, which means we are never not being formed.

This begs the question, what do I worship? More specifically, what does my imagination naturally dwell on? Where do I spend the majority of my time, money, or resources? What do I tend to talk about with those around me? What do I love?  The answers to these questions will tell us what we worship and they will give us a picture of who we are becoming.

To further explore this idea I recommend reading James K.A. Smith's two volumes, Desiring The Kingdom and Imagining The Kingdom. They are heavy sledding, but well worth it. Or you may simply watch the previously posted video for a cursory view of Smith's observations regarding the formative nature of worship.

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

General vs. Particular Worship

Do our personal worship experiences and expressions reveal that we tend to sing about the general attributes of God only? Or are we able to see the particularities of God's saving acts throughout history and how they connect with our lives today?

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Worship & Ethics

"To be sure, worship can be used as a narcotic trip into another world to escape the ethical responsibilities of living a Christian life in this world...Most biblical scholars agree that the prophetic criticism of the cult was not an attack on sacrificial worship as such, but rather upon sacrificial worship that found no expression in social righteousness. The prophets remind us that our rituals can become a retreat from reality, crude attempts to compensate for our moral misdeeds through cultic deeds, and a means of avoiding the ethical cost of discipleship through the ersatz of discipleship of the cult."  

 - William Willimon, The Service of God - How Worship and Ethics Are Related, 41-42

"If we participate in the Eucharist and then walk out of the church and oppress our neighbor, then surely we do open ourselves to God's judgment, for we have not allowed oursleves to be changed by the encounter with the living Christ."  

- Martha Moore-Keish, A More Profound Alleluia, 124

Monday, February 3, 2014

I Saw The Light

Trinity Anglican Mission, Feb. 2nd, 2014
Chris Westbrook, Jen Reardon, Stu Smartt, Aaron Siller, Ian Driver, Jay Wamstead, and Michael Crider