Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Close your eyes...we're praying!

I have been reading D.A. Carson's book The Cross and Christian Ministry: Leadership Lessons from 1 Corinthians. If you are or have been involved in ministry in a church, this is a must-read.
In the section on 1 Corinthians 2:1-5 Carson asks, "What then does it mean today to resolve "to know nothing...except Jesus Christ and him crucified"? How do we apply this in our churches. He gives a few examples but the one below caused me to think about our own church.

We have become so performance-oriented that it is hard to see how compromised we are. Consider one small example. In many of our churches, prayers in morning services now function, large measure, as the time to change the set in the sanctuary. The people of the congregation bow their heads and close their eyes and when they look up a minute later, why, the singers are in place or the drama group is ready to perform. It is all so smooth. It is also profane. Nominally we are in prayer together addressing the King of heaven, the sovereign Lord. In reality, some of us are doing that while others are rushing on tiptoes around the "stage" and others, with their eyes closed, are busy wondering what new and happy configuration will confront them when it is time to take a peek.

Has the smoothness of the performance become more important to us than the fear of the Lord?...Have professional competence and smooth showmanship become more valuable than sober reckoning over what it means to focus on Christ crucified?
Does this resonate with you and your theatre church?


david rudd said...

is that really what 1 corinthians 2 is about?

not that it's wrong... but i'm not sure it comes from that passage.

Vince said...

david - that's the problem with quoting a portion of the book - the context is sometimes missing. notice i said in the beginning that he gives several examples. that was one of them.

however, paul says "i decided to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ and him crucified..." (v. 2). in that i believe we are able to apply a variety of things. one of which is how we conduct our "worship" services. is Christ central to our worship or is the point to have well polished transitions between elements? in some senses we have lost the focus of Christ and him crucified to the organization of the church service.

one way to put it would be "i decided to know Jesus Christ and a plethora of other things that are attractive and sensitive to the needs of others..oh, and him crucified...so long as the message of him crucified doesn't offend someone."

how would you apply verse 2 to your setting?

Bryan C. McWhite said...

Does this resonate with you and your...church?