While singing in church during our service on Sunday, it hit me that there’s is a very insidious vein in a lot of modern worship these days, beyond the shallow theology, the ‘Jesus is my girlfriend’ stuff, and the six million chorus repeats without even a key change.
It is the pronoun, “I.”
I think something just broke in me on Sunday. I was singing a song about how awesome God is, focusing on being part of the corporate acknowledgment of his sheer Bigness, that I almost didn’t notice it. But, almost every time, there was a line (near the end/chorus) that brought it back to it being about us – no, that’s not right – me. I think I would be okay if it were we/us/let us, because then it is about the church in general in corporate communion with God. But nooo, it has to be about me.
Those that know me well, know that I admire and respect C.S. Lewis’ ideas about the Christian life, and one of my absolute favourites is that the opposite of selfishness is forgetting about yourself entirely – the removal of the ‘I’ pronoun. To correctly get on the road of selflessness and humility is to find one’s identity in God so much that you forget you are you. And as Lewis says, the great paradox of it all is that is when you become truly your unique self.
But what I am finding is, naturally, the opposite. By emphasizing our individuality now, we become drones to the hive, cogs to the praise-making machine. I’d like this to change.
So let’s just take all the ‘I’s out of our worship music for awhile, at least. Ok Church?
This is the whole thing:
How to take a church from 14 families to 40 families in only 10 years of bivocational ministry
Read the Bible. Pray. Talk to your church friends in long conversations over meals and coffee for years and years. Learn to love each other so that whatever you do in church gets filtered through your concern for how it will affect others in the community. Then do church in the ways that seem right to you. Let no other concern EVER surpass your desire to be right about church.
Postscript to pastors – Be prepared to find a second job.
What do you think?
First Flip Video Entry:
So one of the requisites of being in Student Leadership at Tyndale (Student Council President – no big deal) is a weekly hourly session that involves talking about important aspects of being in Christian leadership: spiritual discipline, mentoring, community, and discipleship. We’ve been talking about community for the last month and it is starting to really bother me. The reason is because Canada sucks.
Canada sucks because we live in a culture mired in individualism.
Canada sucks because we are trained from an insanely young age to ignore and hide our neediness.
Canada sucks because our Christianity generally finds itself stuck to ideals and not people.
Canada sucks because our leaders are put on pedestals far above where any mortal should be.
I think I’ve found where the majority of my church problem reaches its breaking point.
I wasn’t sure if I should post this, since it is about someone particular and not the machine, but then I said, “Hey. My Blog. Comments are go. I’m opening myself up for conversation, to be corrected if need be.” So here goes:
The New York times just put out a piece on Marc Driscoll, from Seattle, WA’s Mars Hill Church (as opposed to Grand Rapids, MI’s Mars Hill, run by Rob Bell). Before you go any further, read the article here.
After reading the article, I have some big concerns (if the allegations are true – if they aren’t, then I apologise to Marc for some of the following I’m about to say) about Driscoll as a Christian teacher and leader.
First, the idea that “questioning is sinning” is a big one for me. I have been taught to test and discern everything that is brought to my attention through the teaching of the word, like the Bereans in Acts 17:11. For someone to tell me that to question is to sin, and that blind following is the moral and Christian thing to do, then I would tell that person that they are a dangerous person and I’m not following your cult. By blindly following another human being, you put yourself in a false freedom – you are bound not to any god, let alone the Trinity, but to one person’s teachings. There is no freedom there. You take Driscoll’s yolk, not Jesus’: That’s contrary to the Gospel.
Second, Marc Driscoll is a straight-up jackhole. Pardon my rude language, but I really believe this. I’ve been following his remarks online for years now, and I bought his Vintage Jesus book as well, and I’ve heard next to no respectful things come from his mouth about anyone that disagrees with him. For someone who espouses what should be a humbling theology like hypercalvinism, he is an arrogant jerk who seems to show no sign of good fruit in his public life. Am I the only one who sees this a major problem? I don’t care about his swearing or vulgarity, all power to him, but he seems to murder people in his heart all the time. No Grace. I don’t see love in his actions or words. That’s the deal-breaker for me.
It seems that, in an effort to get away from the hyper-sensitive love Gospel being preached in North America in many places, Driscoll has gone on passed the middle and gone to the other extreme of truth with no love. I worry mostly that Driscoll’s position of power will propogate itself in the congregation(s) under his care and ultimately result in a Christianity with little love and grace, like early Calvinism and Lutheranism during the religious wars of the 1600′s.
I guess I’m just worried that the baby is being thrown out with the bathwater.