Sunday, September 17, 2006

Too much for it's own good?

Are sermons and indeed alot of "emerging church" too cutting edge and intelligent? I have spent a most enjoyable morning at my local church this morning. This is not a church I have regularily attended (for a variety of reasons) but one which I hold great affection for. I had not been for nearly a year and have been about 3 times during my time at uni. Upon getting there I was recognised by around 4 people. This was amazing and quietly pleasing. But what was more amazing was the feel of the contrast between that and my usual place of worship. I had decided to worship elsewhere because I felt the church in question was too folksy and nice. Not enough fire in it's preverbial belly. Yet going back a few years later I can see it has changed and grown into this new style to them, that I think I may have been seeing. Now I could have completely misconstewed it and hit the odd naff week but I dunno. It not only felt more real it also felt rather relevant. The idea of relevance in the modern day church is one that has been done to death. This is through whatever medium the person thinking happens to have avaliable, from blogging to sermons to writing. The appitite for thoughts on this matter seems to have no abating if the current new books lists are anything to go by. Yet I am not sure if this ever moving quest for relevance seems to miss out a vital factor and this factor being the idea of genuine worship. The idea of genuine worship I think needs to hold a slight element of mystery and experience about it. Yet, at Greenbelt this year, when I have tried a variety of differing groups i didn't always get what they were doing. It seemed as though they were too busy experessing their middle class creative selves through a variety of media but not always leaving a thought in the head afterwards. indeed one or two that I attended couldn't leave me thinking at all - more bemused. Yet, on the flipside, the church I regularily attend also can suffer from this. With a series of remarkably able ministers preaching from the pulpit the ongoing references to modern society can seem overwhelming and indeed sometimes dwarf the ongoing message of love and hope for us all. Indeed the heady mix of university educated preachers and laypeople can provide pause for thought... pause whilst you grab a dictionary. I suppose that mix is the end. yet I am not sure if that is necessarily the greatest thing because the mix is often done by attending differing churches rather than experiencing differing things and themes within the one church. This is then leading people not to be able to settle in , or identify with a a church. Thereby leaving out the inclanation to try again. I started with a picture of Rev Timms. A pivitol character really - for he is the Minister to all in greendale. His simple, oft repeated phrase of "The Lord moves in mysterious ways (sometimes adding "His wonders to perform") really adds to the programme. This is why though. In amongst the hurly burly of greendale life there is something that has a much longer history then jess falling down the well. SOmething that has always been a part of the life of that area for a reason. Something that interlinks people for a millenia or more. This something is christianity and whilst many are not turning up at church they are having that feeling of the other bieng. But I honestly do think that we are getting to into modern day culture at the neglect of our own culture. culture of how we do things, how we try things and how we modernise. We seem able to sweep away without trying to look at the who where when of why it happened in the first place. thereby loosing that one element that all cultural experiences need , that element of mystery. Therefore wether projecting current authors or images from a computer - what I am currently seeking is a way that mixes the old and the new and I can think of very very few people who can do that. Well I look forward to hearing your responses. Take Care Y'All John

4 comments:

  1. Rachel C9:54 am

    I attended an alt-worship style service in the evenings for most of the last year. I generally found the best bit about it, was the fact that no-one minded if I just sat back in the beanbags and relaxed with God. When I didn't get what they were doing, or just wasn't in the mood for whatever was happening round me, there wasn't any pressure to conform and get involved and the general atmosphere of the church was conducive to chilling!

    I think one of the problems with greenbelt alt-worship stuff is that every group is trying to 'show-off' to the other groups. They want to be bigger, better and most importantly more original. (Whether consciously or sub-consciously, this is in my experience what tends to happen.)

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  2. hey john, like the new blog look.

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  3. Thanks Chris, Glad you like the new look. I decided it was retro, but clean enough to still look funky as well as carry off those Methodist Colours.

    That said, you may like the look but you magnificently failed to comment on the content.....so then - am I talking guff or good?

    Warm Regards
    John

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  4. Interesting point Rachel. That said the idea they are "playing to the gallery" to make the best impression infront of their peers doesnt get away from my point that alot of it is (what is called in the media) Puff with no real background or depth.

    Warm Regards
    john

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