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An anecdote re worship style

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Protestant interlocutor: I think it's important to bring the faith to people in a way that is accessible and culturally relevant, not stultified and inexplicable.

Me: You have in mind contemporary music, praise bands, worshipping in t-shirt and jeans?

Protestant interlocutor: Yes, I think it is important for people to worship in a way that is culturally-appropriate.

Me: Okay. Accepting your view is the right one for the purposes of argument, would it be right for me to conduct worship in my hypothetical mission in rural China by using repetitious prayers, offering incense and venerating holy ancestors in accordance with the contemporary and familiar culture of the worshippers?

Protestant interlocutor: No, that would be paganism.

Discuss?
 

IsmiLiora

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"Go Amerrcuh!"

::) I've seen this so much. If you told someone at my old church that Coptic Christians said "enshallah," their heads would explode. (I would say it get a lecture for talking like a Muslim.) I think that it's more of a cultural thing (ie. Western) than a religious issue.

Protestants like to tie everything to paganism. Which, they have a point, but everything has been so intertwined over time as cultures and peoples mixed. If you try to stay away from everything antithetical to your idea of Christianity, you'll be creating this new monster (CCM music, warehouse churches with no icons, statues, or religious art at all, Christianity in "contemporary language") that almost bears no resemblance to the original. And that's something they're proud of!

And I am talking more about the evangelical Protestants. Of course the term encompasses a wide range, from the conservatives to the radically liberal Christians.
 
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This guy also thinks the Anglican archbishop of Sydney, who preaches in suit and tie and doesn't allow the use of the chasuble, is a hero for returning the Church "to its roots" (I'm trying to stick with discussion of worship/liturgical practices here).

Honestly -- how do you deal with this kind of mindset??
 

IsmiLiora

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Hm, I would just ask why we need to throw out years of history and established tradition for what we have today? You can point out that the Orthodox church is growing, and if there are any statistics on the age of converts, that might be helpful.

The point is that this type of worship style is trying to catch the MTV-demographic, which sounds like he is trying to lure people into the church with bells and whistles for worship. We are used to loudness, fast-paced music, and metal concert type settings. There are older people that are uncomfortable with in in those churches -- should we ignore their standards for worship? Should the youth of the day determine the style of worship?

Good questions to ponder.
 
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I tried the "some of these contemporary worship churches don't even have anyone over forty in them" angle and he said that's fine as long as they are having their worship needs fulfilled elsewhere.

So much for the oneness of the Body of the Lord and all that?
 

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akimori makoto said:
This guy also thinks the Anglican archbishop of Sydney, who preaches in suit and tie and doesn't allow the use of the chasuble, is a hero for returning the Church "to its roots" (I'm trying to stick with discussion of worship/liturgical practices here).

Honestly -- how do you deal with this kind of mindset??
Honestly, I wouldn't deal with that mindset.  Some people like having open and thought provoking discussions.  Some people just like to provoke.
 
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KBN1 said:
akimori makoto said:
This guy also thinks the Anglican archbishop of Sydney, who preaches in suit and tie and doesn't allow the use of the chasuble, is a hero for returning the Church "to its roots" (I'm trying to stick with discussion of worship/liturgical practices here).

Honestly -- how do you deal with this kind of mindset??
Honestly, I wouldn't deal with that mindset.  Some people like having open and thought provoking discussions.  Some people just like to provoke.
The dude wasn't being mean about it. If anything, I was being the more provocative.

Still, I just find this way of apprehending things mindboggling.
 

Iconodule

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The Protestant would probably would point out that ancestor veneration has some religious content that praise bands do not (leaving aside the thorny question of the relation between aesthetics and spirituality). I would just say that most or all CCM is bad music and bad music doesn't belong in church. He might say that my viewpoint is "subjective" but I've never seen these "relevant" people address the problem of what to do with folks who hate their music.
 

IsmiLiora

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akimori makoto said:
Iconodule said:
[...] but I've never seen these "relevant" people address the problem of what to do with folks who hate their music.
I've also experienced this.
How can you hate it? It has Bible-based lyrics.  ??? It can't possibly be bad. No way.
 

Iconodule

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IsmiLiora said:
akimori makoto said:
Iconodule said:
[...] but I've never seen these "relevant" people address the problem of what to do with folks who hate their music.
I've also experienced this.
How can you hate it? It has Bible-based lyrics.  ??? It can't possibly be bad. No way.
You make joke, yes?
 

IsmiLiora

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Of course!  :laugh: The more I move forward in Orthodoxy, the more I wonder why I thought that CCM style of worship was so awesome in the first place. Don't get me wrong, I can belt a few good ones now, but I don't need to do that at church. Love the chanting.

My joke was pointing to the Protestants who think that everything that mentions God a million times or is "Bible-based" is automatically good. Ideas like that result in Family Christian Bookstore.
 

JamesRottnek

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I just want to say, I love much CCM.  It too often all gets lumped together as "Jesus is my boyfriend" songs.  While some is, a good deal is not.  A large portion of it is based in the Psalms, and there are more than a few songs which could easily have been penned by an Orthodox saint.  Though, I would agree, they don't belong in Church services.

I think that part of the problem with contemporary protestants is that they think that all traditional things are stuck in the past.  They don't understand how something can have remained largely unchanged for centuries, and yet still be fresh.  As a consequence, the whole idea of liturgy (especially the Orthodox Liturgy) is a complete mystery to them.  They think that for something to be relevant, it can't be older than ten years, and so they make reference to Lady Gaga during sermons and make sure to get rid of most of the older hymns (except for the old folks service early in the morning) and replace it with whatever is currently on Christian radio.  It really is sad, because by constantly adapting their worship, they lose their faithful, because their religion becomes not timeless, not time-tested, but rather bland and like news, no one wants to hear it over and over again.  This forces them to constantly be trying to innovate their services, and as a result they lose focus on the point of the service - Christ.
 

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My sig-other (a church organist) calls them "7/11 hymns"; seven words sang eleven times.
 

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KBN1 said:
akimori makoto said:
This guy also thinks the Anglican archbishop of Sydney, who preaches in suit and tie and doesn't allow the use of the chasuble, is a hero for returning the Church "to its roots" (I'm trying to stick with discussion of worship/liturgical practices here).

Honestly -- how do you deal with this kind of mindset??
Honestly, I wouldn't deal with that mindset.  Some people like having open and thought provoking discussions.  Some people just like to provoke.
I agree, and some people have made up their minds.
 

Second Chance

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I would refer him to a book by two evangelical theologians--The Heresy of Orthodoxy by Andreas Kostenberger and Michael Kruger. I will paraphrase the main thesis: Orthodoxy is Christianity but because today's orthodoxy is diversity, it becomes a heresy. The fascinating thing is that these two Evangelical theologians actually agree with Father John Behr, Dean of SVS (see p.53) and bring considerable scholarship to debunk today's great heresy, IMHO, the Bauer-Ehrman thesis that Orthodox Christianity is not true Christianity.
 

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JamesRottnek said:
I think that part of the problem with contemporary protestants is that they think that all traditional things are stuck in the past.  They don't understand how something can have remained largely unchanged for centuries, and yet still be fresh.  As a consequence, the whole idea of liturgy (especially the Orthodox Liturgy) is a complete mystery to them.  They think that for something to be relevant, it can't be older than ten years, and so they make reference to Lady Gaga during sermons and make sure to get rid of most of the older hymns (except for the old folks service early in the morning) and replace it with whatever is currently on Christian radio.  It really is sad, because by constantly adapting their worship, they lose their faithful, because their religion becomes not timeless, not time-tested, but rather bland and like news, no one wants to hear it over and over again.  This forces them to constantly be trying to innovate their services, and as a result they lose focus on the point of the service - Christ.
To go along with that well made point, it also seems there is an aversion to repetition. That if you recite something pre-written or do the same service each Sunday you lose sincerity. You're just reading the lines to earn your way into heaven and there isn't really 'heart' or 'emotion' to it. Which is too bad because for me at least, I never learned to pray because I was always wingin' it. I was never taught how to address God. I feel now it is more important that I bring something worthy to God rather than letting God 'meet me where I'm at.' I feel like the whole 'God meets you where you're at' thing is more of an excuse to stay static. And the whole Protestant experience is designed so people don't need to do much.
 
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Second Chance said:
I would refer him to a book by two evangelical theologians--The Heresy of Orthodoxy by Andreas Kostenberger and Michael Kruger. I will paraphrase the main thesis: Orthodoxy is Christianity but because today's orthodoxy is diversity, it becomes a heresy. The fascinating thing is that these two Evangelical theologians actually agree with Father John Behr, Dean of SVS (see p.53) and bring considerable scholarship to debunk today's great heresy, IMHO, the Bauer-Ehrman thesis that Orthodox Christianity is not true Christianity.
Interesting, thank you!
 

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There is also a certain...superiority at work, within this mindset. Liturgical worship is looked down upon because it means we unthinkingly and uncritically accepted what was handed down to us, we didn't choose it for ourselves and we aren't creating it ourselves. Those who shun liturgy for the anything-goes approach think they're the ones who really "get it" and are the ones really offering God genuine praise, because it's coming "from the heart" in a spur-of-the-moment burst of inspiration.

There is a growing and prominent Reformed Church in my city who have made it their goal to "redeem" liturgy! If that doesn't just make your blood boil I don't know what will. It's being "redeemed" because they're the ones doing it, they're the only ones who can really see its value, because they're choosing it freely. Boggles the mind.
 

Jason.Wike

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Wanting things "our way" is the root of all problems in the world, it is how sin entered the world. We're really bad at knowing what is actually good for us.

Maybe tell him, worship does not have as its purpose being relevant to our desires - the whole estimation of it is whether it is relevant to God and union with Him... not the sensuous gratification of guitars or taste of Starbucks.

Or maybe just its not all about us. "He must increase, but I must decrease."
 

Shanghaiski

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Or, people that go for praise bands et. al. don't want to be different from the world, so they express their faith in a worldly way--swaying with trends and fashions and having no root, tradition, or accountability. Look at the churches, so much like theaters and other entertainment venues. And yet, THIS kind of worship has more to do with paganism than liturgical worship. Much of ancient and neo paganism, together with magic, is built on entertainment, moods, worldliness, etc.
 

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A lot of the folks in my parish wear jeans to worship and some wear t-shirts.

I wear jeans at times (I am the height of teen-fashion), but no t-shirts, since I choose to hide the obvious side of my colorful past as not to distract folks during liturgy.

 

orthonorm

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RE: CCM

Just had this discussion with someone in the parish this weekend.

My authoritative judgement is this:

Most CCM is garbage (like all music). The scintilla that is OK instrumentally gets ruined by the lyrics.

Thus Christian Death Metal and the like are the best CCM, because you can't understand the lyrics anyhow.

CCM is just bland, uninteresting pop. No edge, nothing new to say.

However contemporary Christian film is quite different. There is something to say about some of the weird, independent, Christian films out there. They are often more innovative than the secular folks trying to push the envelope.

I wish I could provide titles. I might try to google them. I was basically locked up for a while and this was the primary form of entertainment. It was quite striking.

 

Asteriktos

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There's nothing wrong with a couple protestant worship praise songs here and there. My first suggestion is to take out: "We have seen the true light..." and in it's place put in: "Our God is an awesome God..." :p

Oh, and I only wear a suit in Church if there's a funeral or wedding. Otherwise, forgetaboutit.
 

Volnutt

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CBGardner said:
JamesRottnek said:
I think that part of the problem with contemporary protestants is that they think that all traditional things are stuck in the past.  They don't understand how something can have remained largely unchanged for centuries, and yet still be fresh.  As a consequence, the whole idea of liturgy (especially the Orthodox Liturgy) is a complete mystery to them.  They think that for something to be relevant, it can't be older than ten years, and so they make reference to Lady Gaga during sermons and make sure to get rid of most of the older hymns (except for the old folks service early in the morning) and replace it with whatever is currently on Christian radio.  It really is sad, because by constantly adapting their worship, they lose their faithful, because their religion becomes not timeless, not time-tested, but rather bland and like news, no one wants to hear it over and over again.  This forces them to constantly be trying to innovate their services, and as a result they lose focus on the point of the service - Christ.
To go along with that well made point, it also seems there is an aversion to repetition. That if you recite something pre-written or do the same service each Sunday you lose sincerity. You're just reading the lines to earn your way into heaven and there isn't really 'heart' or 'emotion' to it. Which is too bad because for me at least, I never learned to pray because I was always wingin' it. I was never taught how to address God. I feel now it is more important that I bring something worthy to God rather than letting God 'meet me where I'm at.' I feel like the whole 'God meets you where you're at' thing is more of an excuse to stay static. And the whole Protestant experience is designed so people don't need to do much.
I remember Rod Parsley (I know he's a prosperity gospel, but I think he represents a mindset) mocking addressing God as, "O Lord" joking it made him think God's first name was O when he was a kid  ::). Ah, the American aversion to reverence... unless it's in a US Courthouse or military burial ground.
 

orthonorm

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Volnutt said:
I remember Rod Parsley (I know he's a prosperity gospel, but I think he represents a mindset) mocking addressing God as, "O Lord" joking it made him think God's first name was O when he was a kid  ::). Ah, the American aversion to reverence... unless it's in a US Courthouse or military burial ground.
If you are implying this O here in the English language suggests reverence, it doesn't. It is the closest thing "modern" English had to a vocative case.

You'll notice, Christ uses it often: "O ye of little faith" . . . and the like.

The O stresses that the following person(s) are being directly spoken to.

It is not to be confused with how oh [name] functions today in English, which could be argued might at times imply reverence of sorts.
 
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Asteriktos said:
There's nothing wrong with a couple protestant worship praise songs here and there. My first suggestion is to take out: "We have seen the true light..." and in it's place put in: "Our God is an awesome God..." :p
While we're at it, let's lose the prayer before the reading of the Gospel ("illumine our hearts, o Master") and insert "Shine, Jesus, Shine".
 
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Sleeper said:
There is also a certain...superiority at work, within this mindset. Liturgical worship is looked down upon because it means we unthinkingly and uncritically accepted what was handed down to us, we didn't choose it for ourselves and we aren't creating it ourselves. Those who shun liturgy for the anything-goes approach think they're the ones who really "get it" and are the ones really offering God genuine praise, because it's coming "from the heart" in a spur-of-the-moment burst of inspiration.

There is a growing and prominent Reformed Church in my city who have made it their goal to "redeem" liturgy! If that doesn't just make your blood boil I don't know what will. It's being "redeemed" because they're the ones doing it, they're the only ones who can really see its value, because they're choosing it freely. Boggles the mind.
Thank you for this insight.
 

Volnutt

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akimori makoto said:
Asteriktos said:
There's nothing wrong with a couple protestant worship praise songs here and there. My first suggestion is to take out: "We have seen the true light..." and in it's place put in: "Our God is an awesome God..." :p
While we're at it, let's lose the prayer before the reading of the Gospel ("illumine our hearts, o Master") and insert "Shine, Jesus, Shine".
Can this be the new Cherubic Hymn? http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rP5CTnuY5m4
 

Volnutt

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orthonorm said:
Volnutt said:
I remember Rod Parsley (I know he's a prosperity gospel, but I think he represents a mindset) mocking addressing God as, "O Lord" joking it made him think God's first name was O when he was a kid  ::). Ah, the American aversion to reverence... unless it's in a US Courthouse or military burial ground.
If you are implying this O here in the English language suggests reverence, it doesn't. It is the closest thing "modern" English had to a vocative case.

You'll notice, Christ uses it often: "O ye of little faith" . . . and the like.

The O stresses that the following person(s) are being directly spoken to.

It is not to be confused with how oh [name] functions today in English, which could be argued might at times imply reverence of sorts.
Sorry, should have been more clear, he (or maybe it could have been someone else) was mocking addressing God as, "O mighty Lord" "O exalted" etc.
 
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Volnutt said:
akimori makoto said:
Asteriktos said:
There's nothing wrong with a couple protestant worship praise songs here and there. My first suggestion is to take out: "We have seen the true light..." and in it's place put in: "Our God is an awesome God..." :p
While we're at it, let's lose the prayer before the reading of the Gospel ("illumine our hearts, o Master") and insert "Shine, Jesus, Shine".
Can this be the new Cherubic Hymn? http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rP5CTnuY5m4
*Expletive removed*
 

Alveus Lacuna

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orthonorm said:
Thus Christian Death Metal and the like are the best CCM, because you can't understand the lyrics anyhow.
Extol is great! (Well, their first two albums anyway. The later stuff is pretty bad and not metal really.)
 

Volnutt

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akimori makoto said:
Volnutt said:
akimori makoto said:
Asteriktos said:
There's nothing wrong with a couple protestant worship praise songs here and there. My first suggestion is to take out: "We have seen the true light..." and in it's place put in: "Our God is an awesome God..." :p
While we're at it, let's lose the prayer before the reading of the Gospel ("illumine our hearts, o Master") and insert "Shine, Jesus, Shine".
Can this be the new Cherubic Hymn? http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rP5CTnuY5m4
*Expletive removed*
Seriously.
 
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