Wednesday, February 4, 2009

What is it in "worship" you don't get?

Where has the decorum in worship gone?

During church worship, friend Wu Pu-yi, is not a fan of choruses led by snare drums and drum majors. If Bro. Wu goes into a church auditorium and sees drums and big boom box speakers, he will run out as fast as he can. He will not stop running until he is out of ear-shot of the "worship."

The pastor of a contemporary church, The Right Rev. J. Frank Sneedboro, B.A., B.D., M.A., etc., once tried to explain today's church songs to Ralli. He told him it was an effort to reach the young people. Today's youth is different from the days of the Indian preacher Choctaw Bill. A lot of youngsters don't have a good time unless the music demands ear-plugs. They like these so-called concerts where the more noise the better. So when they get to church they want to carry on with that "high" they got on the night before.

Old friend Alex Kane (a self-made Bible scholar) tried to explain to his cousin Wu that according to the Bible, the apostles all held contemporary services. The only traditional kind they had was in an orthodox Jewish Tabernacle. Not too many of those were built after Joshua took over for Moses. That old desert tabernacle was all Moses knew for worship. Joshua and his descendents spent more time on the battle field than in worship.

Even after the Israelites got a temple, they kept on fighting until only the tribe of Judah was left. "Their offspring," Kane tells me, "opened the first synagogue when they got back to Jerusalem" (they spent 70 years as refugees in Babylon).

As fast as ole Wu Pu-yi runs, I can outrun him when trying to avoid the "7 Up" song services: hold up your hands and sing a ditty-chorus seven times. Sometimes it is called "7-1I" taking seven lines and singing them 11 times. I spoke in the chapel of Howard Payne University some time back and I was not sure there would be a stage to stand on when the youths finished their stomping version of "special music."

I don't encourage the reading of blogs (except my own) but one caught my attention is titled: "Why Churches with Pipe Organs Will Soon Be Condos." The writer's proposal is pipe organs are old fashioned. A church must move with the times, and removing the organ is a start. Can you imagine what Martin Luther's "A Mighty Fortress is Our God" would sound like on a guitar and snare drum?

I don't know what universe this guy has been living in, but apparently he enjoys upsetting the older set who go to worship. I am all for innovation and creative new approaches in sharing the faith of the Lord Jesus Christ. Music has probably brought more people to a personal faith in Christ than all the preachers of the ages. Real music has inspired the faith for centuries. Today's lite-gospel-diddies are too shallow to grow our faith.

I asked Nancy Cheng, a young author in Shanghai, what got her interested in the church and the Christian message. Cheng, whose novels have been made into films, told me she was walking along the street one Sunday morning and the music coming from the Muen Church just grabbed her. She had never been in a church before, but paused to go in and listen to the choir and service. She said she had no idea what the man was talking about, but she was moved by the music. She eventually believed.

This blogger writes: "Most churches that have pipe organs are old, in possibly redeveloping areas where trendy condos just might take root."

Well, "trendy" is not a part of the Ten Commandments and not mentioned in the Sermon on the Mount in the Gospel of Matthew, chapters five, six and seven. The Church of Christ denomination uses no organs or pianos or drums. They can sing harmony without instruments. Their churches have no fear of becoming condos.

Wu Pu-yi likes old time religion and organs. I agree with him on pipe organs. They help drown out my own bad hymn-singing, better than the mandolins.

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