I am sure you noticed that there was no blog yesterday, or you didn’t notice and it really didn’t matter to you because you stumbled upon this blog searching for something else. Either way there is a reason that there was no blog yesterday, one word….CHURCH.
We try and make it to church every Sunday if we can and if we can’t we discuss scripture or listen to a podcast or rebroadcast of a sermon. I enjoy church most Sundays. It’s a time to spend with God intentionally. A time to praise and worship Him in song and be fed by the teaching. Most times (because I am human after all) during the service I keep focused on what is happening and I rarely know what is going on around me other than my little spot, but before and after church are completely a different story, that is when my pet peeves and my flash rear their ugly heads. So, I am going to lay it all out here, the good the bad and the ugly for all to see.
I was raised to be on time or early to anything and everything. My mom taught me that it was rude to be late and that rarely was there an excuse unless an unforeseen incident occurred like an accident that blocked traffic, a child that threw up right before leaving, a storm blew in suddenly or something of the like. Let’s face it we all know what time services start at our home church especially if we have been going there for a while. Yet there are people and families that are consistently late. Every week they come rushing in like they were surprised that service started without them. Most of the time praise and worship is going on and they think nothing of walking up the aisle and sitting down while people are praising Jesus in song. The music to me is a way to pray. I and most people walking in late during praise and worship would stop moving if someone began to pray, yet walk up the aisles get themselves or their families settled sometimes not so quietly while prayer in song is going on. If you are faced with something stopping you from making it to church on time each week, maybe it’s time to get up earlier or leave the house sooner.
Since I talked about praise and worship let’s go to one of my other fleshly complaints. There are some beautiful Christian songs by some very talented artists, that doesn’t mean they are meant to be praise and worship songs in church. One of the ones that I personally do not like to hear sung in church is “Oceans”. Can you really tell me that the tone deaf 80-year-old grandma can sing along with that song? Praise and worship should be inclusive not exclusive. I am sure each congregation has its age dynamic and the P&W leaders need to be aware of that and cater to it. Which brings me to another burr in my bonnet about P&W. It becomes difficult to believe that the leaders are using their gifts for God when it becomes more about how well they sing or play and less about Jesus. The average congregation can’t follow along with runs and intricate harmonies that even the Gaithers wouldn’t do. It also shouldn’t be about how fast your p&w group can become the next Hillsong United or Elevation Church or even Casting Crowns. Do not get me wrong there are some extremely talented leaders when it comes to p&w and some awesome musicians, but when it becomes more about chasing recognition and maybe even fame and less about chasing Jesus then something got skewed somewhere along the way.
I know I must work on areas on my life and churches all over have their issues because they are full of………. people. I think that there are times though that some churches let it become like a high school experiment all over again. There are cliques and groups that are not welcoming and others that believe they should be special because they serve a purpose to help the usually overlooked. When that happens, it should be time for the elders, deacons, and pastors to step in, but sometimes they are part of the problem. No one ministry should become the “rock star” of the church, nor should one leader or group of leaders.
I think we fall short as Christians when we ignore issues that are being talked about in by the faithful. Those who have tried to use their gifts and have been rebuffed or just plod along in a ministry because they know this is where they are called. Church should help to heal the exclusions of the world outside, not exacerbate them or even create them.
Yes, I know, not everyone feels this way, and that’s ok. But I know there are some people who share the same pet peeves as I do, or have ones of their own. I think as Christians we need to talk about them, get them out in the open before they become a negative attitude, a time to gossip, or a festering wound that has never healed.
13 Therefore let us not judge one another anymore, but rather determine this—not to put an obstacle or a stumbling block in a brother’s way.