Thinking Out Loud

November 19, 2018

The Future of Reverence at Church

Filed under: Christianity — Tags: , , , , , — paulthinkingoutloud @ 9:13 am

I arrived, admittedly, two minutes late.

I started to open the double door leading into the sanctuary/auditorium/big-room, and immediately realized the pastor was in the middle of the opening prayer. I quickly closed the door.

I started quietly talking to the woman at the door handing out bulletins in the lobby.

I was effectively blocking the door.

A young woman, who I know, walked up to the door.

“They’re praying;” I told her.

And then, the unthinkable.

She replied, “I don’t care about that.”

She opened the door which sent some noise from the lobby into the auditorium. Some people in the back two rows turned toward the door to see what was causing the distraction.

I looked at the woman I had been talking to.

“I don’t care about that?” I whispered.

…Telling my wife the story later I realized what she meant was basically, ‘The fact he’s praying does not affect me. I don’t mind walking in and heading to my seat in the third row. His praying will not inconvenience me, because I don’t plan to wait for him to finish.’

But this is church.

Waiting is exactly what we once did in these situations.

Not any more, I guess.

At least for her.

July 8, 2013

If You’re That Sick, Skip Church

Filed under: Church — Tags: , — paulthinkingoutloud @ 6:39 am

I admire your dedication.

Your willingness to get out of bed early on Sunday morning to not miss participating as an usher, choir member or Sunday school teacher is commendable.

But your coughing and sneezing — and attempts at suppressing coughs and sneezes — rather ruined the service for me and left me wondering if I’m going to contract what you already have.

And you know you have it, because you spent the entire sermon with your head turned on an angle away from me and toward the center aisle.  And knowing that you know you were sick also left me wondering why you participated in the “shaking hands” section of the service.

Next time, stay home.

Skip church.

God understands; your team members understand. And they would rather you stayed home, too.

Pour yourself a nice warm drink.

Or get some sunshine in the backyard.

But don’t come to church.

Just stay home.

May 14, 2012

Monday Link List

Rejected from the position of Wednesday List Lynx, this one wants to know if a mascot position for a Monday List Lynx is opening up.

Monday?

Because (a) there’s no law against it, and (b) some of these just couldn’t wait!

  • That’s Dr. Gloria Gaither to you, as the southern gospel songstress receives an honorary doctorate in music from Nyack College, a Christian and Missionary Alliance school in New York.
  • Okay, we just lost our younger demographic. So, in the interest of equal time, Hawk Nelson now has a new lead singer.
  • In other music news, here’s 15 Tips for Bloggers from John Newton, the “Amazing Grace” guy and brother to Fig. I hope my family doesn’t notice #14.
  • You don’t usually think of English language Bible commentaries as being tainted by Western culture, but you will upon learning about the Africa Study Bible.
  • The daughter of Teen Mania founder Ron Luce was the only survivor of a weekend plane crash involving five people heading to a youth conference
  • Is it possible that the study saying that religious people are less compassionate is true? Or are they giving more out of moral obligation than emotional response?
  • Here’s a debrief of the movie Courageous; all the movie trivia and hidden details you never knew. And now you know the rest of the story.
  • For those who need to know, here’s a list of all the Christian colleges that have a gay-friendly organizations on or off campus. Is that Wheaton I see on this list? And Biola?
  • Philip Yancey pays the price of frequent mountain climbing in Colorado and undergoes knee surgery. He also explains what they do to make sure it’s the right correct knee.
  • Tony Jones writes, “Catholicism in America seems to continue its quest for irrelevance via misogyny;” and then reblogs a CNN story about a Catholic school that would rather forfeit a championship game than play a team fielding a girl on second base.
  • The proprietors of a Canadian website design company have a background in film production, which creates many different options for churches and Christian organizations.
  • E. Parson Ross isn’t the first person to do this, but her new book on Church Etiquette should be of help to the uninitiated.
  • The 133 member choir, Only Boys Aloud was amazing on Britain’s Got Talent, but this translation of their song’s lyrics shows it was actually a hymn; though the performance is inspiring in any language.
  • Apparently Satan doesn’t want people attending Redemption World Outreach Center in Greenville, South Carolina; or so two billboards in town say.
  • Many more to come — Lord willing — on Wednesday

June 3, 2009

Twitching, Twittering and Texting in Church

Filed under: Christianity, Church, worship — Tags: , , , , , , , , — paulthinkingoutloud @ 7:18 pm

TwitterI was using that hot new media format called Twitcher in church on Sunday, and was just about to post a Twitch when I noticed the woman across the aisle scowling at me.   Okay, there is no such thing as Twitching (in the media sense) but I thought the post title needed a third element.

A lot of people who Twitter do so in the middle of church services.    Recently Josh Harris posted six reasons why he’s not warm to the idea, but I liked reasons number three and five the best:

3. The most important thing I can do while I’m sitting under the preaching of God’s word is to listen to what God is saying to me. I need to actively engage my heart and mind to receive (Isaiah 66:2). Twitter, can take the focus off of hearing and receiving and and makes it broadcasting and sharing. So instead of my mind being engaged with thoughts of “What is the Word of God saying to me?” when I start “tweeting” my focus becomes, “What do I want to say? What do I want to express? What am I thinking?”

5. Just because something is incredibly popular in culture doesn’t mean we have to accommodate it in our worship. Who cares if the whole world is talking about Twitter? Lost people in this world don’t need to see that we’re current with the latest trend, they need to hear God’s unchanging truth (see 1 Peter 1:24-25). They need to understand that God’s word makes a demand on their life. And they should see from us a reverence and holy awe in the presence of God and his word that points them to the fact that what happens in a Christian church is completely different than anything happening in the world.

Even John Piper joined the discussion, with remarks that included:

…But when you are in corporate worship, Worship! There is a difference between communion with God and commenting on communion with God.   Don’t tweet while having sex. Don’t tweet while praying with the dying. Don’t tweet when your wife is telling you about the kids. There’s a season for everything. Multitasking only makes sense when none of the tasks requires heart-engaged, loving attention…

This is a fragile bond. The fact that an electric cord is easily cut, does not mean that the power flowing through it is small. It produces bright and wonderful effects. So it is with preaching. Great power flows through fragile wires of spiritual focus.    Perfume can break it. A ruffled collar can break it. A cough can break it. A whisper can break it. Clipping fingernails, chewing gum, a memory, a stomach growl, a sunbeam, and a hundred other things can break it. The power that flows through the wire of spiritual attention is strong, but the wire is weak.

Somehow, I don’t think either of these guys will be promoting the book The Reason Your Church Must Twitter.

So where do you stand on the burning theological issue of the week?   And should denominations decide or should it be settled at the congregational level?   Okay, I’m not really making light of this, because I think both Harris and Piper have rightly shown us that this is all a microcosm of a much greater issue; it says what we think about worship, which says what we think about God.

~ HT Randy Bohlendar

Related:  Take microblogging to a new level with Flutter

Create a free website or blog at WordPress.com.