Monday, June 1, 2009

Singing to the Lord 2; Another Response

I put this in as a comment, but it was too long. Here is another response George.

I agree with you. I don't think it is meant to work though either, if we are open to unbelievers, we will serve them including providing them with words and understanding of whatever we do. I think we all spend too much time worrying about what other people are doing in worship though. The only person on planet earth I can control and ensure isn't singing glibly or whatever, is me. Having said that, you are most certainly right. But, the solution to me is ensuring I am not one of these.
Hype is a problem for sure too. Again, I prefer to look past this and humour them. I will be hyped as I feel I should be authentically and in the Lord.
I understand on emotion. In many cases it is a bloke thing too, we tend to resist emotion. That is what makes us blokes I suppose. But Jesus was not amiss to shedding a few tears and accepting the most outrageously emotional worship (esp. Lk 7). I note there too that the offering of the woman was probably proceeds from sin and a dreadful 'waste of money.' Yet Jesus cherishes it and delights in it and rebukes the unemotional Pharisee. It is also a Kiwi thing, a left over of our British 'stiff upper lip' heritage. Again, I think we should just delight in others who do this and meet God in our own way and not worry too much about what others are doing unless it is distracting especially to unbelievers who are beginning to think that they are mad.
Amen, it is about balance. Yet, again, we will never find balance because 'balance is a moving target.' I also note that the greatest contributors to the world are often imbalanced. There is a tension and struggle here.
I agree entirely that we are imbalanced away from introspection. The contemplative and emerging church movement is in part seeking to address this imbalance among other things. I celebrate that, bring it on. Bring back the retreats, the silence, meditation, quietness etc.
Then again, as we get older such things draw us, and we need to take care not to impose it on the young with all their enthusiasm and desire for razzle dazzle. We need to be with them, putting up with it, celebrating that at least they are worshiping God with an unguarded spirit. But we need to be there to meet them when they say, I have had enough. We can show them that there is another way!
Amen on the size of God. The problem churches have today is that they are struggling so much just to survive in many cases, that they are heading for the centre of the 'market' and seeking to find a 'one size fits all' way of doing church. Of course, there isn't one. We need churches that abandon size concerns and simply be as they are. But in a money world, such churches are simply unable to sustain themselves and die. They need to perhaps go back to homes and start again.
Forgive me if I am getting argumentative brother. I hear you. Let's keep talking!
On silence... amen! I am an activist and haven't aged or matured to the point where I enjoy it. But I need to and know it. I agree silence is one of those times we shut up and listen. It is then that we hear the voice telling us to go down to the south road, we do, and we meet an Ethiopian reading Is 53, and then we hear that same voice telling us to engage him, and we do and he becomes a Christian. We have lost the 'inner voice of God' for sure.
It is damn hard to hear that voice as the drums are playing! Hehehehe. As for silence as a skill to be taught. In this age perhaps above all ages that is true, at least in the city. The city is noise! The city is movement! The city is productivity. Sitting still, in quiet, in the presence of God, is a lost art! Learn it and teach us George.
No apology required at my end, we are seekers and we need to dialogue (great Greek word dialogizomai/dialogeo!).
Have you come across the teaching on worship of Donna Dinsmore. She teaches a course at college and is very much from an emerging contemplative stream. You can do it online. She comes here every year. I think you would delight in her approach. You would find a way forward there I am sure. Check out her website at She is running a worship retreat in NZ in July: Worship Matters Retreat, Taupo, New Zealand, October 2009. You can email her at Not sure how you can sign up.


Anonymous said...

Love you, thank you, pray for me.


Anonymous said...

Ha cant stop :D

what a phase shift it would be if on sunday morning instead of people saying they were going to church they said they were going to Dad's house ( I am such a hypocrite), what a phase shift if that is what their hearts said as well (and that is a broad generalisation which is unfair on many)

Dr Mark K said...

Don't get me started! You are right! Church is not a building or a geographical location, but a gathering of people. We are the house (Eph 2; 1 Cor 3:16 etc). So, going to a building is going to a building. Church is best defined for me as 'where two or three are gathered in my name'. Want to do church this week, coffee? Hehehe. Seriously, let's do it. So, I am not sure that 'Father's House' is right? It was right of the temple as Jesus used it. But is it right of the new temple who is Christ and we are that temple? We need to relearn what church truly is. We need to gather, but there are so many ways of gathering.

Anonymous said...

"It is easy to say that God is seeking us, and even to stress how central this is to Christianity. But it is harder to realise that we have to prepare so that God can break through to us."
---- Morton T. Kelsy from 'The Other Side of Silence'

ps Why not our Father's House -

John 14:6 Jesus said to him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me."

Jesus never wanted to be the final destination, He came and gave all that He was so that we COULD enter His/our Fathers house. We associate with Jesus because he was 'fully man', without this grace how could we ever hope to even grasp a relationship with God whom only the Spirit comprehends.

"Κύριε Ιησού Χριστέ, Υιέ του Θεού, ελέησόν με τον αμαρτωλόν"

Dr Mark K said...

Nice! Why not my Father's house? Jesus in Jn 14:1-6 is speaking of the heavenly world. On earth, God does not dwell in buildings made by human hands (Acts 17). We are the building. In Jn 2 Jesus redefined temple as Jesus himself. Note that he did so after clearing the temple. He is the temple. In 1 Cor 3; Eph 2, we are the temple of the Spirit. There is no geography here except for the world itself and those 'in Christ.' In 1 Cor 3, Christ is the foundation. In Eph 2, Christ is the corner/cap stone, apostles and prophets are the foundation. We are the building. The same writer of Jn 14 wrote in Rev 20-21 that heaven will merge with earth and the world will be God's house, an idea already in the Scriptures of course. So, don't call a church building 'my Father's House.' It encourages more false views of church. We are the temple. Well, that's how I see it. Ultimately, if we are taken by Christ to the heavenly Father's house, we will return and heaven and earth will merge.

Anonymous said...

Sheesh never attempt to use Scripture in a discussion with NT scholar ha, man I am making this up as I go along .... thats why I have you at the bottom of the cliff.

Now back to the argument/discussion:-
"... On earth, God does not dwell in buildings made by human hands (Acts 17). We are the building. ....' mate this is way to deep! I think people often need to have a physical man made structure whose doors they can walk thru and find a haven, and steeples that point the way and portray the grandeur of God. Churches, icons, stained glass windows, paintings, pictures, illuminated manuscripts etc they all release the imagination to allow the embrace God ... we are physical beings (for now)

luv ya mate (sent you mail)

Dr Mark K said...

Ah, if it is deep, that is the challenge for believers, to rediscover the depth. The challenge for leaders is to find it first and then communicate in a way that does not bore the sheep to tears! That is the challenge for the pop church and pop culture.

So true about people needing buildings and sacred places and spaces. That is no problem to me, as long as we remember that these are merely points of reference for the church to gather in. They are not the church itself.

Buildings work both ways though. Some have that effect that you suggest. But more often than not they become a barrier to worship, cold, run down, expensive to maintain. There is a real problem here.

Not sure of the answers, but I know some of the questions... better do some other work.

Have a blessed week swimming in the deep.

Christina said...

BTW guys off I went to Church on Sunday, although I must have traveled past at least 12 other churches on the way to the one I considered 'safe' for my foray into churchiness

Joseph Collins said...

God fearing people are leaving churches because God and people are not central.

Some people have been pushed out of "church" and feel like they are rejected from God's holy body.

Every time we hear of someone dissatisfied with church, we need to re-orientate their thinking of who they are (children of God on a mission to the world) and what they are already in (the Body/Church of Christ).

Dr Mark K said...

Good comments Joseph. I am not sure that we can say with utter confidence as you do: 'God fearing people are leaving churches because God and people are not central.' This I am sure is a reason in many churches. However, I am not sure that it is THE reason. I do think you are right to note this as a reason in some cases for sure. I am sure too some feel pushed out of church and feel rejected by it. Nice comment on mission and identity.


Anonymous said...

True. Maybe not THE reason. Maybe just my reasoning from those i talk to who no longer attend church. JC

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