A lot of people seem to be very excited at Chris Moyles apparently bigging up Christianity.
Here is the link to the youtube page itself so you can see the comments from proud Christians about how much fun and how exciting this type of service is. I think it’s clear that the last thing they want anyone to think about Christianity, is that it’s boring. Funny… I probably used to be just the same way.
My old church is having a mission week, and we just got a flyer through the door for it this evening. They are putting on a range of activities, including “special guests from Boston, USA [who] will perform music and street theatre to convey the relevance of God for the world today.” I’m not sure it’s appropriate to talk of the relevance or otherwise of the creator of the universe, but the relevance of church is clearly an ongoing concern.
I certainly found this type of church compelling, as I’ve described before (I won’t repeat myself). I have to admit that watching the video was a bit of a blast from the past for me; it reminded me of going weak at the knees, wanting to give in to the emotion of it all and join in with gusto. With my rational hat on now I can see that it’s all too easy to be swept away on a feeling, and for those who are inclined to believe in God and are a bit emotionally vulnerable, this type of worship is a very effective lure.
I’ve spoken before about Christians using this “exciting” worship style as a selling point, and how I feel that when they do this, they are trying too hard to attract converts for the wrong reasons. Calling people to the worship of God should not be reduced to the level of selling an experience. So I guess the point of this post is just to show some illustrative examples that have come to my attention this week.
Also, to think a little bit about worship and expression of emotion. I strongly believe in participating in worship on a heart level, which naturally involves the emotions. I believe the feeling of surrender to God can bring peace, and happiness, and that heartfelt praising of God can move one to tears. I also believe, now, that it should be based on knowledge and understanding.
My pentecostal adventure was characterised by emotional highs and lows: the ups and downs of my khushoo (I can’t think of an English word that works as well for that) in the twice-weekly congregational worship; my intermittent ability to think of things to pray about, and to dare to try; the fluctuations of my faith level depending on what sermon I had heard or who I had spoken to; and most of all, the meandering search for the voice of God.
I understood the power of music to affect one’s mood and thinking, and I fully agreed with its use within worship to provoke and express feelings. And yet there were times, after the first year, where I just wanted to go back to the calmer, simpler traditional format I had grown up with. It just all felt too intense, too introspective, too complicated. It didn’t feel grounded enough in reality. Because I guess for me, it wasn’t.
I now want to be on a more even keel. I want stability. I don’t want to let my zeal exceed my maturity. And so for me, spirituality now requires a bit more discipline, rationality, and long-term investment, and a bit less demonstrative loudness. I want to develop the soothing constancy of an intrinsic spiritual rhythm.