Worship: The Consumer Mentality Flows and Grows
There is a health update at the end of this message.
CHIP STAM STEM CELL DRIVE: BE THE MATCH
INSTITUTE FOR CHRISTIAN WORSHIP LECTURES
BOB KAUFLIN, Chapel Leadership and Three Lectures,
March 18, 2010, in Louisville, Kentucky
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Today’s WORSHIP QUOTE is from the final chapter, "Doxology: The End and Aim of All Things," of a brand new book on worship by Ben Witherington. There are some very helpful things here.
WORSHIP: THE CONSUMER MENTALITY FLOWS AND GROWS
Worship is many different things to many different people, and people's expectations about worship differ. Some are looking for a reliable, trustworthy link with their past—the worship of their mothers and fathers and grandparents, which conveys a sense of stability to them and their otherwise hurried and harried lives. Some are looking for energy, ecstasy, and joy in the morning, and they gravitate toward a more buoyant, less traditional service, perhaps one with high-energy music or the dramatic sharing of charismatic gifts. Some want a worship service that has a bit of mystery and liturgy to it; indeed, we are increasingly told that this is what postmoderns like. Some want pageantry and pomp and processions, smells and bells.
Some go to worship to be forgiven; some go just to forget. Some go to visit with friends and see familiar faces. Some go because "duty calls" and they have to usher or be the lector for that Sunday. Some go because they feel a deep need to receive communion or the Eucharist. Some go because they want to pray with God's people for help and healing. Some even go for the coffee and doughnuts. There are many reasons why people go to church, and even more why they attend worship, but whatever their reasons for coming, too few of them really understand what worship is meant to be about. And as the biblical understanding ebbs and the consumer mentality flows and grows, it is hardly surprising that worship has been turned into something it was never intended to be: a performance of the few for the couch potatoes for Jesus in the pews. . . .
How do we get back to having a clear and helpful understanding of worship, and, equally important, how do we get back to having an understanding based on the knowledge that we no longer dwell in the past? We are a people who once dwelt in darkness, but now we have seen a great light: the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ. How do we get to a place where we understand our eschatological position between the now and the not yet, between the resurrection of Jesus and our own resurrection, and where we begin to look forward with unveiled faces?
[Then the author summarized some areas that he has already covered in the book concerning the nature of true Christian worship.]
• Worship is recognizing who is the Creator and who is not.
• Worship is recognizing who is the Redeemer and who is not.
• Worship is union and communion.
• Worship is not fellowship.
• Worship is theocentric, not anthropocentric.
• Worship is giving glory to God, and so becoming transfixed and transfigured.
• Worshippers are not an audience; God is the audience of worship.
• Worship is about adoration, celebration, and jubilation.
• Worship, while it celebrates the past mighty acts of God, should not seek to dwell in the past or make it the main focus. Worship is an act of love and hope and faith, and only secondarily an act of remembering.
— Ben Witherington III, WE HAVE SEEN HIS GLORY: A VISION OF KINGDOM WORSHIP. Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 2010, pp. 145-46, 148. ISBN 978-0-8028-6528-1. Ben Witherington is Professor of New Testament at Asbury Theological Seminary, Wilmore, Kentucky, and is on the doctoral faculty at the University of St. Andrews in Scotland.
THE PLACE OF THE CHOIR IN WORSHIP: PART 1 (Ed Willmington):
THE PLACE OF THE CHOIR IN WORSHIP: PART 2 (Carl Stam):
THE PLACE OF THE CHOIR IN WORSHIP: PART 3 (Donald Hustad):
THE PLACE OF THE CHOIR IN WORSHIP: PART 4 (Ron Man):
Blessings to all!
Director, Institute for Christian Worship
School of Church Ministries
The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary
HEALTH UPDATE & PRAYER REQUEST
FOR CHIP STAM, CANCER PATIENT
Dear Praying Friends,
Thanks again for praying for my cancer treatment and for my healing. Please pray, too, for the success of our ongoing stem cell drive. The doctors are still looking for a perfect match for me. Here is the best place for information about the drive: www.carlstam.org/stemcelldrive. To date we have gathered over 850 new samples for the national registry and over $16,000 towards our goal of $45,000 to cover the processing of the samples. Maybe some people in your circle of acquaintances would be willing to "get a kit" or "give a kit."
Longer journal entries and some new photos about my cancer treatment are available at www.caringbridge.org/visit/carlstam (click on "journal" or "photos").
No new chemotherapy this week; I'm just taking my medicines and trying to stay rested. I go back to the clinic again on Monday, March 15. On March 24 they will do another PET scan to see how the lymphoma is responding. At that time, if there is still not a perfect match from the registry, we will discuss the various risks of using a mismatched unrelated donor or one of my unmatched siblings. Each of those options has a different set of risks—mostly with what is called Graft vs. Host Disease. ("Certain cures can kill you," the nurse told us.) I am still feeling OK. My appetite is OK, and I am taking some very good naps along the way. Fatigue is a major factor in my day's activities—not a familiar part of my routine.
We are still fighting. Please keep praying; and don't forget to care for the cancer patients in your families, churches, neighborhoods, and places of employment.
In Christ's perfect love,
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