Image by Jason Wohlford. Creative Commons.
For many years, I approached my faith from a fundamentalist perspective which placed a lot of emphasis on being right. The downside to that perspective is the latent sense of arrogance and exclusivity that holds that everyone who believes a little differently is wrong.
Every church thinks they do things the right way and that a lot of other churches do things the wrong way. Some churches have emotionally driven worship services, like I described. Some stress theological correctness and some just sort of go through the motions of whatever their ritual happens to be. So, on Sunday morning, depending on where you attend, you may be deeply moved, intellectually affirmed, or simply satisfied that you did your duty and showed up. Now you can get on with life.
Theologically laced hymns written in the nineteen century or earlier, accompanied with scripture readings and a lengthy sermon full of contextual nuances that leaves you feeling smarter and even more correct in your beliefs is the fare for some houses of worship.
Good old-fashioned hymn singin’ and old time preachin’, punctuated by a few amens is served up in the congregation of another church.
Processions, priests, sacraments, vestments, and homilies within the confines of beautiful architecture are the trappings for the more formal of the worshippers who prefer symbolism anchored in church history as an expression of their faith.
All of it is passed off as worship or as a worship service. Again, some worship may happen, but mostly, it is a presentation, designed with a desired response in mind. I get how these things can connect with some people, but it seems kind of phony, contrived, and very limiting to me.
The idea of an omnipotent, omniscient, omnipotent God being the center of our attention for few minutes on Sunday morning as part of presentation to make us feel better or some other designed response seems pretty weird to me. It seems like we are putting God in a box to somehow serve us. The box is filled with emotionalism, intellectualism, or ritualism and is all packaged in a convenient time frame.
I wonder if God is insulted by what we think is the ultimate way to pay tribute to him.
There is something more.
To be continued…