My post on Atheist Worship has elicited a lot of spirited feedback, all of it positive. I want to step out on a limb a bit and give a practical example of what I’m thinking about with regards to integrity and growth in the lyrics we sing. Continue reading ‘Restoring Worship: An Example’
Archive for August, 2007
…So the other night some folks in our church (and other friends) got together for Jared’s 29th birthday party–and every year he has a themed party. Last year the theme was “super heroes,” and the year before it was…well, I don’t even wanna say. But this year the theme was televangelists! See it as tribute, see it as satire, but it had to be seen–guys and ladies all decked-out in their TBN best. I’ll see if I can get permission to post some of the other pics, but here’s one of me preachin’ it, camera red-eye and all.
Because I’m lazy today…
|Which theologian are you?|
|You scored as a Jürgen Moltmann|
|The problem of evil is central to your thought, and only a crucified God can show that God is not indifferent to human suffering. Christian discipleship means identifying with suffering but also anticipating the new creation of all things that God will bring about.|
I’m not sure I agree with this quiz’s pithy assessment of my spirituality and theological concerns; it is interesting, though. And nice to know I’m not very Augustinian.
I’m going to be at Soularize this year; are you? Spencer Burke breaks down what’s going on each day…
Sometimes, I feel like an atheist amid worship. The songs being sung earnestly around me are about a god I don’t really believe in anymore. As Shane Claiborne asked, does God really have lightning in his fists, or is this Zeus we’re talking about? “God, rid me of ‘god,'” Meister Eckhart prayed. Many times this is my silent prayer amid circles of saints singing their hearts out to a deity I scarcely recognize.
[September update: For visitors from Jonny Baker’s blog, I’ve included some new thoughts here. Feel free to drop by this post once you’re finished with the present one.]
Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy singing, and many songs old and new still resonate with me. I used to be an assistant worship leader in my old church, ages ago. And I still keep track, albeit a bit peripherally, with the “worship world” today. There is much to be commended in the crafting of new music for friends of God in Christ to sing, as there is among those who lovingly revive somewhat older hymns and ancient liturgies.
But to put it bluntly, my worship-life-in-song has not quite kept pace with my spiritual, theological, and social development these past 5-10 years. My journey of apprenticeship to Jesus means that I’m reading, praying, thinking and doing very different things now than I did as a late teenager. At the same time, I’m still singing the same old songs. I don’t know about you, but I’m longing to raise a new song to God, one that integrates a vision of God and humanity, creation and cosmos that I can get behind.
How close are we to such a worship-in-song renaissance within the emerging church conversation? I don’t know. But in this vein, I want to bring your attention–if you’re not already aware–to the inaugural widespread release of one of the newest singer-songwriter kids on the block…Brian McLaren. “What, he sings too?”, you ask. Yep, the epitome of the well-rounded human being, Brian has actually been strumming his guitar and creating original worship since his post-Jesus Movement days. (I always hated those guys in school, the ones who were good at poetry and calculus; some of them are my closest friends, alas…) Songs for a Revolution of Hope is inspired by his upcoming book release, Everything Must Change: Jesus, Global Crises, and a Revolution of Hope and is coming out this fall. One of the tracks, “Atheist,” explores this worship dissonance I’ve been feeling head-on. It’s now on YouTube in a sort’ve “music video” format:
I know it’s cliche, but I’m going to try for some “resting” on Sundays. We’ll see how long at lasts. But for now, I think on Sundays I’ll try and point your attention to some worthy blog posts that have impacted me, regardless of their vintage. Today I have something tasty from my friend Kevin Beck.
“Rudolf Bultmann was a great German theologian of the twentieth century. In his sermon entitled Concerning the Hidden and Revealed God, Bultmann imparts this profound wisdom. “If we want to see God, then the first thing we should say to ourselves is that we may not see him as we have conceived him. We must remind ourselves that he may appear to be wholly other than the picture we have made of him.”
Meister Eckhart made a similar observation more than half a millennium earlier when he prayed, “God, save me from God.”
We all have ideas of who God is, where God is, what God is. Our thinking about God is informed by personal experiences and cultural phenomena—as much or even more than our reading of sacred scripture. That’s not necessarily a bad thing. It is just unavoidable, and in some cases it may be even helpful…”