Tuesday, August 04, 2009

Irreverent "Worship"

Jeff Straub makes an accurate observation in his review of Peter Masters' book on worship:
In contemporary worship services I have sometimes attended, it seems that God rests too lightly on the congregation. There is not an attitude of reverence—not in the order of service, not in the music, and sometimes, not in the preaching.
My only observation is that everything he says also applies to too many traditional worship services I have attended. Reverence, sadly, does not invariably accompany a conservative/traditional style.

9 comments:

Scott Aniol said...

Yep.

Dan Salter said...

Reverence - honor or respect felt or shown (Merriam-Webster). Reverence certainly should not be equated with formality. Our worship should be reverent. But worship is the stuff which makes up all of our lives as Christians. Confusing reverence or worship with either formality or pure self-seeking emotionalism is equally misguided.

Those used to a traditional style of gathered worship should probably take care not to dismiss as irreverent and self-involved that with which they are not accustomed. Those used to a contemporary style of gathered worship should probably take care not to dismiss as dead and without relational love that with which they are not accustomed.

Anonymous said...

Of course by italicized "traditional" you really are referring to the "contemporary" styles of evangelicals/fundamentalists from only 50 to 100 years ago. The older orders of worship of the Roman Catholic, Eastern Orthodox, Anglican, Lutheran, and Reformed had reverence built into them. Probably wasn't always pulled off, but it was designed with that end in mind.

Keith

Keith

Ben said...

Keith,

I largely agree. Evangelicals/fundamentalists of this age are notoriously limited in their ability to grasp the history of the church prior to the 20th century.

On the other hand, I find some of the elements of some of the traditions you cite as possessing built-in reverence to be utterly blasphemous.

Jeff Straub said...

Ben:

Your point is well made! What i should have said was that

In modern day worship services I have sometimes attended, it seems that God rests too lightly on the congregation. There is not an attitude of reverence—not in the order of service, not in the music, and sometimes, not in the preaching.

I was using "contemporary" not as in contemporary Christian music but as in current. So the confusion is mine -- modern day woship, by what the form of shows a lack of genuinue reverence!

Thanks for the correction.

Ben said...

Jeff, no worries. I probably interpreted it in light of what I expect Masters to be critiquing. Regardless of how it's interpreted, your point is correct.

Anonymous said...

Ben,

You're right. But it's not a blasphemy arising from lightness and frivoloty.

And, of course, I'm sure you can't find anything blasphemous is a fine historic presbyterian service.

Keith

Ben said...

Keith,

I'd argue that it's a pseudo-reverence that is functionally light and frivolous, but that's not an argument worth having. In any case, I have no reason to doubt that you're right about the Presbyterians.

Anonymous said...

Good point about the pseudoness of empty seriousness.

Keith