In a previous post I described the five ways Christians can evidence emerging characteristics. One of them was to “emerge ecclesiologically.” This is the way I described it:
This characterizes an attempt or desire to return to some traditional elements of the Christian faith that draw upon a more experience based worship. Many times this will be evidenced by a less formal structure of gatherings or formal church time, allowing freedom of expression without the traditional restraints of more program oriented gatherings.
- Less tendency to have a traditional (post-reformation) church program structure
- Movement toward house churches
- Disdain for mega-churches
- Lord’s supper/Eucharist practiced every week
- Artwork as expressions of faith
- Candles and incense
- Traditional prayers and creeds
- Prayer walks
Here is a quote that I found interested out of Stories of Emergence. In speaking about today’s typical church service, the author says:
“Today’s modern service is orchestrated so nothing disturbing, uncomfortable, controversial, or shocking occurs. The music is edited to eliminate mediocre musicians or off-key singer. Solo numbers are assigned to the best. Prayer requests are screened or relegated to the bulletin where they can be carefully worded. Testimonies are screened to guarantee they won’t make anyone uncomfortable or go on for too long. They sermon is inviolate. No interruptions are allowed, questions can’t be asked, assumptions can’t be challenged, disagreements can’t be voiced.” (Stories of Emergence, p. 17)
A few questions:
- Do you think that the church service should be set up in such a way where disturbing, uncomfortable, controversial, or shocking events occur or are facilitated? What does this look like?
- Do you think that people who can’t really sing should be allowed to perform a solo?
- Do you think prayer requests about struggles with pornography, sex-addiction, and other potentially embarrassing items should be screened?
- Do you think that sermons should be interruptable? Or should we just forgo the traditional sermon in favor of round table discussions.
I am interested in what you have to say. Maybe you agree with with quote, maybe you don’t. I think it puts forth some interesting propositions, but what does it look like in the end? And, is the end better than the beginning? How so?
Believe me, I love to think through things such as this. But, to me, it seems that the emergers’ proposed short-comings of the church, as described above, are somewhat short-sited and passionately charged without either a solution nor a real understanding of the reason why things are done the way they are done.
I could be wrong. What are your thoughts. Do we need to change the way church service is done?