Monday Morning Insights

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    Wanted:  An Old Fashioned Church

    I don’t want to have my eardrums bashed in by the three kids in the “worship band” who can’t be bothered to bathe, shave, dress or comb their hair on Sunday morning. If it’s really all about the God that Scripture describes as ineffably holy, shouldn’t that be reflected in attitude and dress for those who serve in church music?

    I don’t want a vampy “praise and worship” leader who is flaunting her wares at every male within view as she does her worship moves on “stage”. If we are to worship God in spirit and in truth, as Scripture tell us, than what’s all the flesh about? Can we no longer discern the difference?

    I don’t want to see people in beach attire with their backsides peeping out of their shorts because they think that God isn’t worth their best efforts at dressing. “God doesn’t care about clothes, only man”, they say. But the real reason is that it’s just plain easier to cruise into church in jeans or whatever is still lying on the floor from the night before. Dressing up for worship of the Lord would cost them something, however little, and they don’t want to pay it.

    I also don’t want to see all the variations on lovers’ back rubs where Chuck and Sue take turns massaging each other’s neck and shoulders during the sermon so everyone behind them is completely distracted. Behavior affects other people. Are Christians so self-absorbed that they never think about the people behind them trying to hear the message?

    You can

    I’m looking for a good Christian church. I don’t want to sing songs off a wall, the same five notes, over and over and over and over again while I am lightheaded from standing so long. There’s a record of the hymns of God’s people that spans 2000 years. Why are we so arrogant as to think we don’t need those wonderful songs any longer? Have we gone through more suffering, more affliction, more pain for Jesus than those who wrote these enduring hymns? Does a semi-secular song writer in Nashville with a multi-million dollar music contract have more to say to us about God and the Christian life than the 17th-century hymn writer who lost four children and his wife during the 30 years War?


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    1. Kurt on Fri, March 07, 2008

      Ouch! The Great Divide

    2. Naive Opie on Sat, March 08, 2008

      In Ezra 3 there is a great illustration about this whole situation.  They’re building the Temple and the older people, who had seen the previous Temple, are crying because the new Temple was no where near as big or decorative.  The younger ones, born in exile, were just excited to see God moving again.

      This is my statement…if “the good ole’ days” were so good, why did God not continue to bless?  The answer, sin.  The older Israelites failed to serve God and were punished, then He began with a new generation…one not so tied to tradition, but tied to God’s movement and blessing.  I’m not accusing people who prefer traditional of sin, I’m just saying something happened somewhere that cost us at least one generation.  I just want to see God move and be a part of it.

    3. Chevette on Sat, March 08, 2008

      “I don’t want to sing . . .  the same five notes, over and over and over and over again . . . “


      As I was reading this post, I heard the following conversation going on between my 5 year old and my 9 year old (who both happened to be composing different worship songs at the moment).

      5 year old:  My song has ‘love’ in it 22 times.

      9 year old:  Yeah, well my song has ‘love’ in it more than that.”

    4. CS on Sat, March 08, 2008

      Naive Opie:

      “They’re building the Temple and the older people, who had seen the previous Temple, are crying because the new Temple was no where near as big or decorative.  The younger ones, born in exile, were just excited to see God moving again.”

      I went looking in Ezra 3 to get some more information, because this sounded like a great explanation for why our churches are changing, and it is always great to find pearls of widsom in the Old Testament.  I read through the chapter and found the following in verses 12 and 13:

      “But many of the priests and Levites and chief of the fathers, who were ancient men, that had seen the first house, when the foundation of this house was laid before their eyes, wept with a loud voice; and many shouted aloud for joy:  So that the people could not discern the noise of the shout of joy from the noise of the weeping of the people: for the people shouted with a loud shout, and the noise was he"ard afar off.”

      I didn’t see any detail about the reason behind their crying, as you explained, and it sounded like some of them were quite excited about the whole thing.  Is there additional commentary in another chapter or book in the Bible to expound upon this idea?


    5. Naive Opie on Sat, March 08, 2008


      I looked through several translations and some don’t seem to make the distinction as clearly as others.  It appears that 12(a) is in opposition to vs 11 and the end of vs 12.  Verse 11 speaks of the people being joyful, then there is apparently a “but” which denotes contrast between the joyful crowd in verse 11 and the older leaders in verse 12 (HCSB in particular) which leads to another “but” when the author contrasts them again with the joyful crowd. 

      While I was looking I also noted that this is the interpretation of the Life Application Study Bible.  I could be wrong, but others hold this view also.


    6. CS on Sat, March 08, 2008

      Naive Opie:

      That is some good hermeneutics in practice, and it makes sense.  I should have backed up to verse 11 in the first place.  Thanks for the explanation.


    7. rpavich on Tue, March 11, 2008


      I must be the only person who’s commented who thinks that just because God has not struck me dead for my selfishness, and self-centeredness that He doesn’t care about what my motivations are…

      I agree with this post…God deserves far more than we give Him…

      But then again…this seems to be a “Christian liberty” sort of crowd…

    8. Hupokrisis on Tue, March 11, 2008

      For a modern translation of Ingrid’s letter, go here:

    9. CS on Tue, March 11, 2008


      I can appreciate the intent of your retelling of Ingrid’s letter, in trying to spruce it up.  There’s really nothing like good satire.  And that was nothing like good satire.  =)


    10. Peter Hamm on Tue, March 11, 2008

      I thought it was GREAT satire! You should do a spoof of the typical MMI post. That would be easy, too. Be an equal-opportunity offender.

    11. Hupokrisis on Tue, March 11, 2008

      Satire? What is satire?

      Are you making fun of me? Wow, try to help somebody increase their understanding and the critics come out of the woodwork.

    12. John on Tue, March 11, 2008

      I agree that some things that are going on with young people in church are inappropriate, however, with more and more of my generation, the youth walking away from God the church is trying to find ways to keep them involved in christianity. While I agree that some things the church is doing I understand them. Your parents, for example, might be unhappy with the church you desire because it is too modern and doesn’t fit into their idea of what church worship should be. Allowing the youth to come to God the way they are is very helpful. It shows them that they can come to God just like they are and that He accepts them. When we, the church, accept them then we may begin to see the changes in their lives.Churches, like people are different.

    13. Francesca on Wed, March 12, 2008

      I completely agree about not wanting to sing songs off a wall!  I much prefer hymnals.  Why?  Because I read music, am an alto, and want to see the music as well as the words.  Everyone just singing the melody is boring.  One of the criticisms of the praise music is that it is too simple both musically and lyrically.  Perhaps the music (not just the melody line) as well as the words could be shown ‘on the wall’.

    14. Brian L on Thu, March 13, 2008

      We are looking at adding video projection to our services, and my thought is simply to keep the hymnals so that those who want to use them can.  No need to ditch them simply because we can put the words on the wall.

      BTW, Francesca, I think it’s awesome you want to sing parts, and that’s another reason I’d keep the hymnals around.

      I know some will probably cry, “foul” at our church when we start the projection (in fact, I KNOW some will…), but they can still keep their hymnals for the hymns we sing.  The rest of us will just worship without worrying about dropping the book on our kids!

    15. Peter on Thu, March 13, 2008

      Brian, you’re right that some will cry foul and the ones who cry the loudest are probably the people who have the least reason to actually complain.  That happened at one church and it pretty much killed that worship service.  The numbers dwindled more and more until it had maybe 1/3 of the people in the other service.  Still, those people couldn’t see that trying to hold on to something out of nostalgia more than anything else was actually hurting the local body (or at least their part of it).  They were more and more separated and it seems the only time there was major interaction was at a business meeting.

      Recommendation for using both - remember to put the hymn numbers prominently in the bulletin and on the screen.  We often had someone forget to put those in the bulletin which left those wanting to use the hymnals unable to use them.  Also, be sure that the person running the projector is good about switching verses/songs correctly.  That may take a little rehearsal or setup ahead of time.  It was definitely disharmonious when we were told to sing 1,3,4 in the bulletin but the person running the projector went straight from 1 to 2 or sometimes completely on to a different song.

      On a lighter note, I think that it is very interesting to see what happens as even the most vocal protesters stop using the hymnals because the screen is present.  Putting in a hymn/song that’s not in the hymnal, but putting a number up with it was an interesting experiment.  As long as it wasn’t that of a pretty well-known entry in the hymnal, it was usually missed completely.  :-D

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