Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Argument Starters:Can we be done?

Folks, I'm itchin to talk about something else.
Like...the day Lydia decided to paint her own nails.

Or...the day my brother Kevin resuscitated a huge fish.

Or...the day the lake and sky turned bronze.
But I'm feeling an obligation to the 7 of you (Hi, Mom!) who read this blog to bring the worship argument to a tidy close.

It's been a nice ugly little big walk in the park through the mud puddles, wouldn't you say? Mostly, I want a life that pleases God and one that does not bring shame to who He is. I want to walk in faith and love people and prove that life's meaning comes after we die. (I want to believe that last part wholeheartedly instead of most-of-the-time-heartedly.)

For me, the closet musician, the stage musician, the shower musician, the humming-all-the-time musician, talking about worship without music feels empty. I do worship without music, but worshiping with music comes naturally out of who I was created to be.

I also believe music is important to God.

That's really what it comes down to.  If God, in His wisdom, saw it best to eliminate my power of speech or the use of my hands, I sure hope somebody else would do it in my stead. Not because it's about what I bring to God, but because He's worthy to be worshiped the way He's asked us to.

Let's just use a little example from parenting.
My kids make their beds everyday. I did not have to do this when I was a child (bless you, Dear Mother!!!) but I have taught my kids how to make their beds (and have taught them how to make mine in case guests are coming over. I kid! I kid! Sort of.) Anyway, so I instructed them how to do it, I showed them how to do it, I watched them do it and encouraged really good bed making. And my oldest 3 do a stellar job of bed making.

But one day, one of them decides to do it a different way by putting the quilt on upside down. The bed is made. It's neat, tidy and upside down. But who cares? He is still basically followed my instructions. I didn't correct it because I'm not expecting perfection here. We even kind of joked around about it at bedtime. "Heehee, that's not really how it's supposed to be, but it sure is creative, Son..."

A few days later, there's a lump under the upside down quilt. A quick peak reveals he didn't pull up his sheet. Everything's just a tumbled up mess, with an upside down quilt on top.  And this time, my heart just sank a teeny tiny bit, because while my kiddo clearly knows the expectation, he's choosing to fulfill it half heartedly
Without freaking out on him or even pulling out the Mean Mommy voice I sit down and chit chat with him  about 'what's up with the bed?' He clearly knows he wasn't doing a good job, and has no other explanation than, I just didn't want to do it the right way.
 I can totally relate to that. I don't like to make my bed either! I let him know that I care only a teeny bit about what the bed looks like, but I care a whole lot about his responsibility in honoring and respecting his mommy.

What in the WORLD does this have to do with music and worship? 

Here's my point. If God tells us to sing to him soooooooooooooooo many times in the Bible, I think we should do that. Sing! Make music! Out loud and in your heart! Make a joyful noise! Not because Jody Robinson likes to sing nor because it's the only way to worship. It's much simpler than that. We worship God with music because he tells us to.  Period.

Why did it take a blood sacrifice to wash away sins? Because God said so.
Why are we supposed to sing? Because God said so.

When it comes to elements of faith I'm hoping I'm in the crowd that's doing it like He said to do it, and not something of my own rendering, or culturally standard or brilliantly creative.

Am I missing something here?

Because I really am open to Kirk bringing his hammer and me bringing mine and we'll both start to pound until other people get their hammer's going, too, if this will glorify God.  We were certainly created by God to worship him with all our gifts and skills. But when we come together as a group of people who love God, let's worship Him by singing! And let's use relevant music with lyrics than honor and respect and speak of the One True God.

I'm a girl who goes across the spectrum on what kind of music I like. So whether we have a band, or a guitar, or an organ, a drum or nothing but voices doesn't matter to me a hill of beans. I can take it all or leave it all. But it seriously bothers me when people worship with one style of music, while filling their lives with other kinds of music. The "We Only Do Hymns" I have no problem with, if that's the music of their lives. But if "We Only Do Hymns" listens to 95 Country all day long. What is that? Why is there 'God Appropriate' music and 'Inappropriate' music? Why are we drawing lines around what's secular and the sacred based upon tempo and instrumentation?

For some people this may be a dull conversation because the church you're apart of is filled with other believers who think a lot like you or who "worship" in a way that's seems normal or close to regular or perfect. For others, this is a really hard topic to think about because of all the emotions involved.

Music affects people's emotions. I'm in a very different mood when I listen to Sweet Home Alabama than I am when I listen to Beethoven's Moonlight Sonata. It stirs different emotions in me as they were both intended to do. They lead my mind in different directions. I'm in the camp that thinks God knows this and created it to be such.

Does that give us enough to talk about?

Because I could go on....


rodiemom said...

Just so you know, I have both read and tried to comment on this blog series and I'm very interested in having this conversation, if we're together and are so moved. But I can't do it here, maybe on vacation. In person, I don't get to look over what I've typed and decide it's stupid and then hit delete. Maybe that's good. Maybe not. Whatever. That's the way it is. Anyway, know that you've started this arguement in my brain. And got me thinking more about the way I worship. Which is kinda your point anyway, I think. Feel free to move on if you like though.

Jen R said...

Just wanted to let you know that there is one other person that has been reading your blog! Like your sis-in-law, I have started to respond about 4 different times, but always hit the delete button because I think I had too much to say to just leave a comment and an in-person conversation would be more worthwhile. Anyway, I second her comment that it has been thought-provoking. I also like your new blog picture that includes you!!

David Wells said...

Great thoughts J - yes, singing is important to God ... I think it's because He knows how He made us - emotional, expressive people who need to get the stuff on the inside of us out. So when we sing, our feelings, our faith becomes more real. So sing, shout, bow, clap, dance, hammer, etc. because it makes God happy to see us happy in Him.

Kretschmer Family said...

You definitely have me thinking more about some things I was already kicking around. I've been an usher at my church for a few years and have seen some things that I question, but follow because they are requested by the elders. Nothing wrong with what they ask necessarily (i.e. families with young kids sit in a certain section, etc.), just wonder about the biblicalness of some of it. It also hurts to know that some people never come back because of some of these things (like my own parents, though they have their own issues as well).

Let me say that I do not go to a bad church. It is great in many ways like the singing (we sing contemporary and hymns - shocking, I know), the teaching is about 45 minutes straight from the bible every time, the discipleship, the caring, the evangelism, etc. It is not perfect or I could not go, but it is good.

A recent event involved their Jr. High group (6th - 8th grade) that meets Wednesday evenings. My oldest just finished 5th grade and they had a meeting for the upcoming kids and parents. After a few minutes of introductions, they told the kids they could come up to the stage for the singing. As the band played the songs, I could not help but wonder - are we here to worship or for a concert? Most of these kids have not personally received Christ and they are there because their parents brought them. This is all just entertainment for them. It is this aspect that bothers me most about the segregation of the kids from the parents, and how children's ministry seems to run in general. Keep it fun, interesting, exciting, etc. so they keep coming and maybe Jesus will rub off on them. I don't get it.

I blame a lot of this on the newtertainment of society, including Christians. (Newtertainment = Neutered in their thoughts and actions by the effect of too much "news" and entertainment)

Reminds me of Isaiah when he says, "These people worship me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me...". People aren't thinking about worship when they sing (I'm generalizing here), they are just being entertained and enjoying the moment.

I don't know that I'm actually contributing to your posts, but as I said, you got me thinking and just wanted to get some thoughts out there.

Ginger said...

Was there a discussion somewhere about not needing to worship God in song? How could I have missed that??
We worship God in many ways, as an overflow of a heart of gratitude. Singing is definitely one of the ways we worship God.