Tuesday, February 07, 2006

A Pondering...

I just had a thought, a pondering really, and it struck me, "Jim, this is the kinda thing you should put in a blog!" So. . . here it is:

Is there a real need, desire, want for more "relevant" Christianity(i.e., contemporary music/worship, worship leaders, big screens and in general audio/visual extravaganzas)? If this is the case, is it right to manipulate and bend church tradition to fit human needs and desires?

Is the need only perceived by well-meaning, or maybe not so well-meaning, theologians, pastors, or other church leaders? If this is the case, has that created a perceived need and craving amongst the various sheep in the flock of Christ's church? Example: I have a cousin who was brought up with a strict rule against sweets and sugary foods. The only reason she desired it was because her older cousins and siblings who were not under this rule persuaded her that it was needed and to indulge in this potentially harmful and certainly unhealthy treat, thus creating an unhealthy and unnecessary obsession with it.
Ok, the questions are out there (granted, they are a bit biased.)
Talk amongst yourselves.


Whey Lay said...

Much like the which came first question, the relavent, contemporary service egg, or the Glory theology Chicken? Most contemporary Lutheran services I've attended seem to focus on what I need to do to live fully and godly, expand God's kingdom, accept change, reach out its God's will. Etc. Very Glory works orientated. This I feel is because Lutheran pastors who are Glory or even Crypto-Pentocostic leaning are more comfortable with this style. I would like to be gracious and say that it is only being done to raise membership roles, but even that mode of thought supports a thinking that says its important to show and prove the Holy Spirits workings, and thus God's pleasure in our works and church. After all God loves growing congregations more than steady ones that just preach Christ crucified and administers the Sacrements, right?

Jim Roemke said...

Whey Lay,
Thanks for your comments. As a vicar I struggle with these issues more so now and I'm sure I will continue to struggle with them after I am ordained.

The most important thing we can do in the Lutheran Church is to keep on keepin' on with the greatest thing we have going for us: Word and Sacrament.

The issue I face most is separting my own personal preferences with true doctrinal error. I think that Lutheran churches can have contemporary worship that is not going down the glory road, however I have not seen that in my limited experience. I don't want to ever let my needs, desires and preferences stand in the way of the Gospel.

Its a hard thing to balance. I think that I am fortunate in that contemporary services, especially in the LCMS, are in a decline amongst younger worshipers who desire the meaning and intensity of traditional liturgics. But that could just be my own wishful thinking.

What it comes down to for me is that in all I do, in all I say and in all my actions as a pseudo-clergy now and later as a full fledged clergy, that Christ crucified be proclaimed with absolute clarity.

Whey Lay said...

Sorry for the extended pause, I agree with your view. We personally and as a group need to stay focused on that which is our faith, Christ crucified and the blessings of Word and Sacrement. I so very much hope that your assessment of decline in interest of contemporary is correct.

I also understand that the pressures felt by pastors and elders to perform by increasing membership must be great at times. It is one thing for the likes of me to complain, and another thing for a pastor of a struggling church to try and find ways to increase resources. Our pastors (vicars too) deserve our prayers and support. All concerns we raise regarding worship or structure in church should be done with love, and based on our Confessions or constitution.

Jim Roemke said...

Whey Lay,
Thank you so much for your well balanced and thoughtful answer.

CPA said...

I think you're right and this goes much deeper. There's an interesting article by James Hitchcock called the "Guilty Secret of Liberal Christianity". (first paragraphs here, and I cite parts of ithere). The basic point is: that it's the clergy who first thought they couldn't believe in miracles, etc., and then claimed they were only responding to a laity who couldn't.

In general, because the clergy is so much closer to these issues, there much more in danger than laymen of burn-out, boredom, need for innovation, and also for the pressure to have a big church. It really makes you appreciate good pastors.