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May 29, 2009

Comments

Melinda:

I'd be curious about how you arrived at your definition of worship. I'm not saying it's wrong; however, if you're going to propose an outright rejection of one definition of worship, I think the onus is on you to offer a new one... isn't it?

I think you are spot on about worship. Worship is not about creating community among the believer, it is about creating community between the individuals and God. Fellowship is about creating community among the congregation.

I think too many pastors and congregants have forgotten what worship is about.

I find it quite annoying when one of my friends twitters their pastor's sermon. So chalk that up to another reason not to do it.

we twitter at church! sometimes we even twitter questions to the pastor!

I agree, Melinda. But I would also include those Gawdawful "Jesus is my boyfriend" songs.

I wouldent say its worship... per say.. you know what, i take it back. we would have to have a discussion on 'what is worship'. So ill suspend my call here. (i do disagree with the definition offered by time, though)

"Worship is not about creating community among the believer, it is about creating community between the individuals and God."

That's not right. It is the body of Christ, not the individual organs of Christ laid out on a table.

I will say, Francis, that it involves both A-creating a community among believers (that would need to be expanded), as well as creating "community" (i dont think thats the right word) between the individual and Jesus. Worship is alot of things, but Christ is the common demoninator.

"Gawdawful 'Jesus is my boyfriend'" songs. That made me laugh out loud.

A Facebook friend tagged me in a note about this "Jesus/Boyfriend" thing going on in CCM. He used a particular South Park episode to make his point. I don't watch South Park, but I did watch this episode (on the 'Net somewhere), and it really drove home the point.

Could someone define "Jesus Is My Boyfriend" songs? If He is the Bridegroom, and we are the Bride, what's wrong with that?

I also find it interesting that in objecting to that type of song, you're willing to engage in a little creative blasphemy. Whatever.

this conversation is going somewhere amazing, and i hope it keeps going

Worship is our heart, and mind, focused on God. His majesty and His holiness. He is first and foremost in our minds and hearts. In this activity there is community among the members directed not at each other but towards the Lord. We are a worshiping community we do not worship the community. Anything that steals our focus away from the Lord (ie Tweeting. Twitting, or whatever) is self worship or at least worship directed elsewhere.

As far as the Time definition goes it sounds like plain old rationalization.
Rationalization is reasoning in the service of falsehood.

"Worship is not about creating community among the believers, it is about creating community between the individuals and God."

That's not right. It is the body of Christ, not the individual organs of Christ laid out on a table.


Yes, but what is the purpose of worship? Is it not to recognize God and give him the honor due him? The body of Christ comes together to worship but our worship does not foster community, our worship together comes out of our community. The fellowship comes from being united together in Christ, not from worshiping together. Fellowship and community is not built in the worship service and we are badly mistaken if we believe that is the case.

fellowship = the interactivity of believers, deepening spiritual relationships with each other in and centered around the Lord

corporate worship = the Body of Christ worshiping God in the unity of the Holy Spirit

worship = ascribing ultimate worth to someone or something. This expression of worth is directed upon its object rather than toward the experience of the one offering the worship.

While the Body worships God in unity through songs of praise, meditations, Scriptural readings, and other actions, these constitute an act of worship only when they are done with individual hearts of faith, reverence, and sincerity in expression. Without these internal responses, the external actions are vanity.

Twitter Defined: PAY ATTENTION TO ME NOW

Wait a minute! Since when is worship described as only a church service? Church services rarely promote community due to their usually large size. At best it is a cathartic experience reinforced by many others in a group dynamic. That hardly qualifies as "worship".

Worship involves one person and one God interacting in a proper relationship. When the dynamic of multiple people is introduced then the equation is changed to person to person and one God. The person to person experience creates community which reinforces our faith experience.

But when the group is so large that it is no longer person to person, but rather a large group of people, facing a stage with one person directing the proceedings, then that does not easily translate to "worship". It CAN be, but to take it for granted that it IS "worship" is just misunderstanding what true worship (notice, NO quotes?) really entails.

What is a good biblical theology of worship? Most of the definitions here are simply emoted, most likely formed by our respective traditions. If the Bible is the word of God I imagine it should always be speaking prophetically to our ideas of worship, especially Melinda's ;)

Tweeting is a byproduct of our celebrity obsessed culture. Not only can big-shot celebrities have their life condensed down to pithy 5 word tabloid headlines, now we can too! Isn't that amazing? Churches should be collectively resisting this dehumanizing way of characterizing our lives, not endorsing it.

Worship as defined by archbishop William Temple:

"Worship is the submission of all of our nature to God.
It is the quickening of conscience by His Holiness, nourishment of mind by His Truth, purifying of imagination by His Beauty, opening of the heart to His Love, and submission of will to His Purpose."

I love the technology as much as anyone, but I can't say I even understand what twittering in church means. Not sure I want to know!

Since when in the Bible is church primarily about "worship"? All of life should be worship. THe main thing church allows us to do is to get together with other Christians for encouragement- therefore, in one sense, church should be about encouraging us to grow deeper in our all-of-life worship, which Twitter might assist us in doing.

So church is a form of support group for all of us individuals each devoting our lives to God in worship?

We are the people of God whom God called into existence, not the persons of God: the actual act of gathering together is a form of worship. The gathering and "assembly" is an important feature of God's redemption story. The original type being the Exodus, and then the clearest picture being the calling/gathering work of Jesus.

Tweeting is completely appropriate for much of the "worship" in the evangelical church today, and here's why...
Twittering is a self-absorbed form of communication, shouting out one-way contrived sound bites in "safe" arms-length relationships facilitated by Technology.
Now for someone who has spent months or years church shopping for the perfect experience of music and preaching and has finally found the church that best meets their every need, why not tweet about it? When their life is void of real, godly relationships, tweeting just may be their best option.

For God's sake, resist this nonsense.

The purpose of worship is to build up the relationship between the believer and God. Fellowship is intended for the purpose of building up the relationship between believers. It is a question of vertical and horizontal relationships that is at stake here. Both are important to the healthy growth of the church, but I think that worship is more about vertical relationships than horizontal ones. I must therefore side with Melinda on this one...it's about God and the focus should be there during worship. Anything that takes away from that, is not helpful.

I've been live-blogging our church's Sunday services for the past three and a half years, and I can't tell you how many people have emailed to THANK me for bringing the experience of Sunday worship into their living rooms. Some of them are shut-ins, obviously, but most are just normal people who don't have time to go to church every week. Do you think God wants them deprived of spiritual insights and mp3s of our worship band just because they were out late the night before?

The working definition of worship is a tricky one. It is during a worship service somewhat grounded in community, but not "about" community it, like all worship, is about God.

Now, the Twitter thing... I think it can be a useful tool depending on how. I know that it can be a publicity tool and a tool to make sermons and the teaching more didactic and less of a monologue (both forms holding some value and advantage over the other). I don't Twitter in church, but that's mostly because the theater my church utilizes is inside an old theater that used to be some sort of ironworks or something so there is zero service. So the discussion, for me, is moot.

Though, I will probably be doing a lot of Twittering at the Advance09 local church conference this week.

@jaysonwhelpley

Why do we sing in church? How is that worship? Having been a Christian for nearly 30 years, I'm asking honestly.

Why is singing an acceptable form of worship? Personally, I can't stand it when people sing to me (Happy Birthday). Why do we think God enjoys it?

Thanks,

Shaun

I'm going to disagree with the general consensus about corporate worship.

Corporate worship has a variety of theological functions:

1) Doxological. Worship is the corporate expression of gratitude for being alive, experiencing the love and salvation of Jesus, etc. That part is about God but not only about God -- the human element of thanksgiving is obviously present.

2) Communal (koinonia). Worship is where koinonia fellowship happens. In the context of our doxological expression of thanksgiving, spiritual bonds are formed among brothers and sisters, and those bonds which are created are the very bonds which constitute the body of Christ.

3) Didactic. Throughout the history of the church, the church has communicated the message of the gospel through song (and sometimes chant). Evangelicals tend to life men like Charles and John Wesley as examples. The hymns that were written as part of their revival were intentionally didactic, because people remember songs. How often have you left church singing the closing hymn or praise chorus, for example?

In my view, new technologies can contribute to that type of holistic worship.

Take the following example from my local congregation. A few months back, our pastor preached about caring for and praying for others. Worship services usually end in 1-2 songs and some type of informal benediction. However, given the subject matter, our church worked it out so that during the final 2 songs, we could send prayer request via text message that were then displayed on the screen on the platform in real time. We were obviously encouraged to pray for those requests that touched our hearts.

If your theology of worship is "just me and God," then no, this isn't worship. But, if you're willing to broaden the definition a bit, then utilizing new tech in worship can fit quite naturally and organically within the definition.

Shaun, Rev 5:9 for starters, reguarding "why sing to God?" In fact the whole book of Revelation. If it's good enough for the angels, we might consider it. Try listening to Handel's full Messiah. It might change your perspective.

Shaun,

The Psalms. Also Ephesians 5:19. Plus Jesus sang - Matt 26:30.

Would you twitter while having sex? Is it appropriate or disrespectful to twitter while your heart is supposed to be intimately engaged with anyone especially the most infinitely desirable person, Jesus Christ?
If it's no then there is the answer.

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