Monday, July 31, 2006

Worship Experiment

Leading worship yesterday I took a risk. I know the idea was from God. The text for the sermon was Ephesians 5:19-20, "Speak to one another with psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs. Sing and make music in your hearts to the Lord, always giving thanks..."

So we gave the congregation a chance to sing and make music in their hearts - with a period of silence.

I was worried about this, because people (particularly small children) don't always understand stuff like this, and it is easy to have the experiment ruined - without malice, of course - by people who don't catch on. Also, you never know if the people are in the mood for a new thing when they come to church. We are creatures of habit, right? This was only a small, secondary concern, because our church is particularly open to the worship team's ... uh ... eccentricities. HA! So I prayed and left it up to the Lord.

So, we came to the moment, and there was a Holy Silence. It was awesome - in the best sense of that much overused word. And then, we started playing How Great Thou Art - no singing, just an instrumental. It was so sweet - thank you Lord!!

We so often think of worship as singing songs. But it is so much more.

Friday, July 21, 2006


I have just read about two teens who killed a third teen out of a "morbid curiosity" to see what it was like to shoot someone in the head. Apparently, these boys killed this girl, left her body in a field to go eat at the local IHOP, then returned to bury the body in a shallow grave. They were caught trying to flee to Canada after the body was discovered.

Sickening and twisted. I wonder how we get to this point as a culture. Teens killing teens out of "morbid curiosity?" (That is a direct quote from on of the killers!) We do have a culture of death, that seems to see this kind of deviant behavior as normal. Look at some of the big hit movies recently. Movies that show torutre and murder - movies that seem to depict these things as something to look at, try out, think of as normal, and, at the worst, even celebrate - are raking in huge money from a society increasingly fascinated by the most violent types of entertainment. How long will it be, and how big a step is it at this point, until we return to live barbaric entertainment like the gladiatorial games of ancient Rome?

We have got to find a way to stop the insanity.

Monday, July 03, 2006

Inner shift

So I recently came to the realization that God really has called me to preach, and that it's OK to want to do that, and it's OK to do that. I think I was holding on to some reservation about the women in ministry thing.

I have for a long time thought that a solid case could be made on both sides of this issue. I no longer believe that the case for restrictions/hierarchy is as solid as the case for inclusion. I think that those who say women should not preach/teach men/lead/be pastors are not looking at the whole pciture. To pull two restrictive verses out of context and make them the end answer about doctrine is to engage in poor scholarship. Isn't that how we got the whole "tongues as evidence of salvation" doctrine? And we know that is bunk. When ALL of the evidence is taken in - including all references to women, an understanding of the culture and time, and a look at just how radical Jesus and Paul were, I really don't think we can escape the fact that we are laboring under a long held tradition of patriarchy from the middle ages and earlier when we shut women out.

I think I will never again be part of a church that holds the view that women are to be kept from certain roles. Not meaning to be offensive. I have just finally landed someplace, and I don't ever want to go backwards.