how not to worship

as many know, i have no problem with making one’s worship service relevant. likewise, i do feel that modern manifestations of corporate worship need to be open to change and movement away from the same ol’ ‘three songs and a prayer’ worship to which many have become accustomed. additionally, most know that i am all about opening any belief up to discussion and critical examination in order educate others and understand why some people believe what they believe. we must regularly examine every claim to determine whether certain claims and traditions are worth maintaining.

that said, there is a part of what has come to be called ’emergent’ church – particularly with regard to what passes for ‘worship’ these days – that i protest. let’s set aside the highly problematic theological chum that is thrown to the eager audiences that are typically neither educated about the text or context of the bible, nor the practical manifestation in one’s life of what the text actually says.

case in point: ’emergent’ worship. the only thing more nauseating than watching people worship like this is attempting to strip the instrumental music out of it and sing it in an a cappella setting. it’s bad enough to watch this overly dramatic, substance-lacking drivel on its own. it’s even more difficult to watch some attempt to force this into an a cappella woship service. it’s enough to want to make one swear off modern christian pop music altogether in favor of primus and damien rice.

but now, finally, someone has done us the service of making a video that illustrates all that is wrong about the modern worship process. give me substance. give me debate. give me coordinated opportunities to serve. but do not, under any circumstance, give me this, uneducated, substance-lacking, pop psychological, overly emotional, guilt-exploiting, desperate attempt to make up for a lack of leadership and theological understanding by popularizing worship. i’m not saying i like boring, old-fashioned, ‘the way we’ve always done it’ services either, but lights, amps, and long, dramatic pauses do not cover up the long term effects brought about by lack of substance and relevance that a deeply held understanding of one’s faith and commitment to service to others brings.

the more christianity resembles a bad pop concert, the less truly relevant it will be come in the lives of people.

with that, here’s how not to worship:

n.b. the best part of the video is the hebrew tattoo, which unlike mine, says: vayhi, which means, ‘and it came to pass…’

this cracked me up because the same letters (yod, heh, and waw) are used to spell the divine name, thus adding to the mockery by implying that most people who get hebrew tattoos don’t actually know how to read the hebrew on their arm. so people trying to put the name of god on their arm end up with ‘and it came to pass…’

and for the record, ויהי is the qal imperfect (waw consecutive) third masculine singular apocopated of the hebrew verb היה meaning ‘to be’ and thus translating to: ‘and it was’ or ‘and it came to pass…’)

(withholding public hat tip until given permission to post who actually sent this to me, but you know who you are. thanx!)

31 Responses

  1. Bob – so many of your fans on your Ark site made silly
    comments ( especially St Brian) with no scientific references – so did you
    – but since I was on the opposing side and gave references or argued from first principles you blanked me out and closed the discussion – I am

  2. (actually, no, not expelled. just you are making what you believe to be scientific claims about trilobites and fossils, but have yet to offer a single piece of published evidence from a credible scholar. that’s all.
    this is a space to exchange ideas, backed by logic supported by evidence, not a chat room. -bc

  3. “but do not, under any circumstance, give me this, uneducated, substance-lacking, pop psychological, overly emotional, guilt-exploiting, desperate attempt to make up for a lack of leadership and theological understanding by popularizing worship.” – bc

    I agree that these congregations seem to be searching for something they are lacking. How about simplicity in worship… Matthew 6:5-15? More is not always better.

    However, this is nothing new. One person called it “worshiptainment”. The Roman Catholic Church toyed with this for a few decades. First it was the “folk Mass” with acoustic guitars and tambourines; the Church tried desperately to come into the 20th century.

    Where’s the middle ground?

  4. Bob – everyone else seems to be chatting without references – even making ridiculous comments.

    Once again every mountain range has sea fossils as does mount Everest – in particular trilobites – thousands of web sites know this – so there is no argument on this point surely.

    Yellowstone Beartooth Butte at 9000 feet has fish fossils. Is this too hard to google ???
    The argument should be how they got there.

  5. Charles…

    Check it out. Type in your questions. See what real science has to say about them.

    And after you don’t understand the terminology nor even try to, continue spouting pseudoscience regardless. Because that’s what I predict.

    You know, what you know, isn’t really what you know. What you know is what you think you know but it’s not what you know. What you know is what you believe you know. And that’s not knowing anything at all. You claim to know, but what you do not know is that you do not truly know. And knowing that, I can also know that what you actually know is not anything worth knowing.

  6. charles, i once caught a fish at 9000 feet. i was fishing at a lake in the mountains, and sure enough, there are fish. fish remains at 10,000 feet is not evidence of a worldwide flood. it’s evidence of a lake.

  7. Bob,

    Great stuff and insightful comments. I know I can always count on you for both. Two things as a kind of follow-up to this.

    First, with regard to your last statement, Os Guinness once said: “After two hundred years of earnest dedication to reinventing the faith and the church and to being more relevant in the world, we are confronted by an embarrassing fact: Never have Christians pursued relevance more strenuously; never have Christians been more irrelevant” (Prophetic Untimeliness, 12).

    Second, what’s wrong with Primus? :-)

  8. Note how even this thread turned into CREATION vs EVOLUTION from the first comment.

    his cracked me up because the same letters (yod, heh, and waw) are used to spell the divine name, thus adding to the mockery by implying that most people who get hebrew tattoos don’t actually know how to read the hebrew on their arm. so people trying to put the name of god on their arm end up with ‘and it came to pass…’

    Or “was” as in “has-been”?

    Dr Cargill, there is a general principle of “Don’t get tats in another language unless you know what it means.” There is just too much opportunity for a tat-artist’s joke at the customer’s expense. Like KEWL Chinese-character tats that are actually the equivalent of “Kick Me!” or “I’m An Asshole!”

    Same with Trendy Baby Names when Native American (TM) names became a fad to show how Spiritually In Tune You Were With Indigenous Peoples/The Planet/Whatever. Over at “Baby’s Named a Bad Bad Thing”, one Lakota got hassled for Indigenous Spiritually-Evolved Native American (TM) names so much that he obliged. There are now a lot of larval Beautiful People growing up whose names are Lakota cusswords.

  9. i once caught a cold in israel. that has nothing to do with the current post- but then again not much else does either (comment wise) except the one kid who has the odd name frank.

  10. thanx carl.
    1) agreed.
    2) primus sucks. (and if you’re a true primus fan, you know what that means).

  11. I’m trying to catch my breath–Jim’s comment has me laughing out loud so hard I can barely type out this comment.

  12. I know what you mean about the Primus sucks bit. I was hoping you would say as much.

  13. […] It has been on too many blogs to give the tip of the hat too, but take a gander at this post. […]

    Probably not believing the word of God is how not to do it. To think that the Bible has errors would also be how not to do it. Jesus said if you will not believe the books of Moses they will not believe in Him. That was also the sentence on the rich man in Hell.
    To believe in the instant resurrection of Jesus but say that Adam could not be made instantly is the ultimate
    in confused worship – notwithstanding that Jesus was pre incarnate and all things were created through him
    but he would have to be descended from an Ape if you believe in evolution ??? This is blasphemy.

    Plus if we came from apes ( hah hah) where on the ape man continuum would judgement begin.

    TE’s trying to worship on this basis is crazy – so on this
    fact I agree with Dawkins . Even though I am a six day creationist.

  15. charles,

    simple question: how many animals were on the ark?


  16. Bob – Reading from Henry Morris Phd book the ark had a carrying capacity of 522 stock cars. Most animals were small the average size being that of a sheep. So about 35000 animals could be accomodated of air breathing land animals . However the original “kinds” would be less than this . Eg the two
    original genetically rich dogs would give rise to lots of
    species such as wolves, poodles, hyenas , coyotes etc. The feasibility of feeding them is well researched in his book ” The Genesis Flood” including the hibernation aspect.

  17. no, charles, how many of each animal were on the ark?

  18. There was two of each “kind” apart from the kinds that
    Noah was going to sacrifice- from memory they were
    7 of these.

  19. He’s. Done. The. Math.

    And they call us SF fans obsessive?

  20. so there were 2 (male and female) of each kind of animal?

  21. Yes one male and one female ” with them went every
    kind of animal, domestic and wild, large and small and every kind of bird. A male and female of each kind of living being went into the boat with Noah as God has commanded. Then the Lord shut the door behind Noah.

  22. ok you chose gen 7:15-16. this matches the text in gen 6:19-20.
    now, how many animals does does gen 7:2-3 say noah took with him into the ark?

  23. Bob – just like I said above 7 pairs of the ritually clean
    animals – I presume these were the one’s to offer a sacrifice .

  24. charles,

    you just said there were 2 (1 male and 1 female) of each animal, and yet this verse says 7 pairs of clean and 1 pair of unclean. so which is it?

    (at about this point, you should be beginning to understand why i asked, and if you can’t see the contradiction, you’re forcing it. freshman level bible classes point out that there were two flood stories that were merged into one. on had one pair of all animals, the other had 7 pairs of clean and one pair of unclean.)

  25. Sorry Bob can’t see what your getting at -there were 7 pairs of ritually clean animals and two of each other
    kind ie not ritually clean ?

  26. yep… in gen 7:2-3. but that’s not what gen 6:19-20 says. and it’s not what 7:15 says. the point is, it’s two different stories, blended into one. but the editors forgot to clean up gen 7:2-3. two different numbers are given for the number of each species in the ark.

  27. Sorry Bob but I don’t see what the problem is – there was two of each unclean animal and 7 of each clean animals – presumably for sacrifice – this was stated in Genesis – it is not a mistake. I have never come across this as a mistake in the Bible before .
    I was a wee bit amazed to realise you were a Christian
    yet think that a God who could raise Lazarus from the dead could not create Adam instantly from the earth-
    it is the same level of miracle. So where is the need
    for evolution ???

  28. Hehe am I really the first reply to this incredible post?!?

  29. Hah I am literally the first reply to your awesome read.

  30. The first letter in that tattoo actually looks more like a resh than a vav to me. “ray’hi” doesn’t mean anything at all, as far as I know. Maybe that was the point? I guess we’d have to ask the North Point Media folks whether they were making a really, really arcane joke or just grabbed some Hebrew letters at random.

  31. it’s a waw. the resh has a longer horizontal stroke.

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