LOVE IS CONCRETE

So my friend Todd Fadel has continually challenged me and my friends and pretty much everyone he comes across to re-evaluate our perception of what worship is...does it have to have a kick drum going through a sub, does it have to have washed out ebow guitars, does it have to have a minor chord, does it have to be led by a man? Gross questions I know, but there seems to be a branding of what "brings people into worship." Far from a simple annoyance, this branding is really damaging. Check out these words if you're out of touch with the damage it's done in your heart and/or fellowship:

Matthew 15:9
"This people honors me with their lips, but their heart is far from me; in vain do they worship me, teaching as doctrines the commandments of me." (When we're more concerned with form than worship...)

Luke 11:46
"And he said, 'Woe to you lawyers also! For you load people with burdens hard to bear, and you yourselves do not touch the burdens with one of your fingers!'" (A bit of a stretch here, but there's a burden we feel when we try to live up to k-luv's worship aesthetic, yeah?).

Luther writes:
"The Gospel clearly testifies that traditions should not be imposed on the church to merit forgiveness of sins or to be acts of worship that please God as righteousness or to burden consciences so that their omission is judged to be a sin."

He also writes:
"Therefore we reject and condemn as false and contrary to God's Word the following teachings:...2) When such ceremonies, precepts, and institutions are forcibly imposed upon the community of God as necessary things, in violation of the Christian liberty which it has in external matters."

I don't know about you, but part of me wants to be able to eat and pay the bills so sometimes I feel like conforming to the pattern of worship that's been known to sell in the marketplace. But I'm beginning to see that not only will I be "selling out," I'll be damaging who God's made me to be and conforming to a system that discourages the valuation of diversity in worship and expression.

So I guess I say, go on your pilgrimage you Elephants, all you Agents, march into the confusion of sleeping minds, wake us up, and inspire new treasures of worship in our hearts and communities.

p.s. I didn't doctor that photo - it's hilarious tho, eh?!?

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Comment by Aaron Strumpel on February 10, 2010 at 2:08pm
good word paul. my friend in romania calls it coke worship vs. wine worship - coke being a mass produced drink and wine coming from grapes and growing up in the dirt you live on...
Comment by Paul Rivas on February 2, 2010 at 2:20pm
I think too often we see something that impacts us, or we like in another church and try to use that same thing in our own, but it never really works that well because it was not birthed out of our church. True worship should be a community effort and not just some songs one or a handful of people pick out. It should rise out of what God is doing amongst us when we get together. It should be wonderfully messy and unpredictable.

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“There is plenty of courage among us for the abstract but not for the concrete.” - Helen Keller

“Love, like truth and beauty, is concrete. Love is not fundamentally a sweet feeling; not, at heart, a matter of sentiment, attachment, or being "drawn toward." Love is active, effective, a matter of making reciprocal and mutually beneficial relation with one's friends and enemies. Love creates righteousness, or justice, here on earth. To make love is to make justice. As advocates and activists for justice know, loving involves struggle, resistance, risk.” - Carter Heyward

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