The Worship Quote of the Week for (06/12/2001):

Worship and Market Forces
Today’s WORSHIP QUOTE comes from a brand new book by Daniel Frankforter.
Although the subtitle is "A Critique of Contemporary Worship," I think the
book is really "A Critique of Thoughtless Worship," because the author spends
equal time challenging traditionalists who bow to history rather than to the
Lord of the Ages. Do not read this book if you are unwilling to have your
"sacred cows" troubled.

The marketplace’s prime directive ("The customer is always right!") serves
restaurants well, and churches are tempted to follow the same principle. Some
are prepared to go further than others, but each has to decide where it draws
the line when standards of integrity conflict with "what sells." Restaurants
have no comparable difficulty, for, as purveyors of earthly pleasures, it is
their business to cater to impulses and transient desires. But market forces
do not adequately guide institutions like schools and churches, for they have
a different mission. They exist not to serve the desires their customers
already have, but to wake people to the value of things they have not yet
imagined. Although the product of this awakening is usually enlightenment and
liberation, the process itself is not invariably pleasant. It involves
assaults on cherished beliefs and prejudices and the loss of comfortable
assumptions. People are better off for discovering that they suffer from
delusions of adequacy, but they may not show much gratitude to the messenger
who brings them the news.

WORSHIP. Louisville: Westminster John Knox Press, p. 27. ISBN 0-664-22284-6

[The book title is obviously taken from Jesus’ words in Matthew 7:9-10 and
Luke 11:11-12.]

Have a great week,

Chip Stam
Director, Institute for Christian Worship
School of Church Music and Worship
Southern Baptist Theological Seminary
Louisville, Kentucky