Monday, March 07, 2005

Entertaining Worship?

A guy recently commented how he didn't like my church because it was too "showy" and it felt like one big "entertainment spectacle" which made me think and ask him many things, one in particular that seemed to stump him: "what's the difference between entertainment and worship when done within the context of a Christ-centered community?" Now, I know the Protestent part of us tends to tell us that it's not really good to be "wowed" when you're at church but I'm beginning to wonder why?! The church I'm apart of here in L.A. is really hip, young, and talented, but at the same time, are we to criticize these people for being blessed with such God-unique talents and gifts? For instance, there is a group of Christian dancers and choreographers that formed at my church that every few weeks puts on a dance to convey some theme or idea to the congregation (not slow, mime-dancing...but hip-hop, mechanical, techno-savvy dancing). The first time I saw them, I was blown away at the uniqueness of their gifts and began thanking the Lord that they could express themselves and be used as part of the worship at a place like Mosaic (the church I'm apart of). So many churches don't seem to find any place for these creative outlets--these artists that are definitly out there in our world--which is why I'm so confused now when people from my generation gripe about worship being more concerned with entertaining than worshipping. What is worship? What is entertainment? Can you have one without the other? Should you have one without the other? Is it wrong to utilize both, so that (God-forbid) our communal worship experience could be both praiseworthy to God, and pleasurable and enjoyable for ourselves?

Obviously, the answer depends a lot on how you would define "church" and "worship," but I think when you look at the Bible, the opportunities in worship are endless. Think about it: God has created humans---these very complex, creatively intuitive beings who thrive in relationships---and yet, enjoying one another and our worship of Christ are supposed to mutually exclusive? Are we getting too individualistic? Too "cater to my carnal preferences" when we see church and how it fits into our lives?

Perhaps we need to stop seeing it as, "this church fits me better" and start seeing it as, "this church most challenges my thoughts on God, the Ultimate artist and leaves much room for unity amongst diversity." It's funny what starts to happen when you stop caring about what YOU like and what fits YOU and start caring about the community of believers and what best serves THEIR needs (and eventually, what best glorifies God). When you break it down this way, your tiny little whiny and self-absorbed voice suddenly sounds like everything worship is NOT about.


Chalupa said...

i like what you're saying here buddy. i've had the same kinda conversation with my mom before. church shouldn't be about what you can get out of it, but more about what you can do for it. it is also a shame how we're supposed to use our gifts for God, yet some gifts are psuedo frowned upon by some believers as being not appropriate for church. seems kinda two-faced at times.

Anonymous said...

Love what you're writing here!