Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Harold Best on the Church and Culture

I almost shouted out loud when I read the following final paragraph in the chapter titled "Worship and Witness" in Harold Best's Unceasing Worship: Biblical Perspectives on Worship and the Arts. He said some things earlier in the chapter that center to the core of some of the root issues in our divisions over worship style and the worship wars ... but this paints a clear picture of how the solution looks. I couldn't wait to cogitate on in more. I had to share it (with the few, the proud, the Momo's Musings blog readers). Read Best's words ... comment if you like:

Serving Christ while participating in culture in an elegant and reforming way can mean a thousand things in as many places. It can mean shoveling muck and bringing clean water to a barrio. It can mean writing a new praise chorus for a storefront congregation. It can mean translating the Scripture one more time for one more faraway tribe. It can mean taking old hymns and old ways and breathing new life into them. It can mean preaching simply yet eloquently, fearinly yet sweetly. It can mean praise songs cavorting with hymns, and drums conversing with organ sounds. It can mean complete freedom in the Lord and stupendous discipline finding common ground. It can mean Bach, blues, Monet, street art, child dance and ballet, homiletics and storytelling, barn raisings and homeless shelters, all found within the normal conversation of the believing church. Elegance, for the Christian, is simply a thousand actions washed in the blood and carrying the sweet savor of Jesus' love. It is, above all, the seamless garment of worship and witness.

Oh, for God to turn our hearts toward engaging in culture like that! Our silly arguments over worship style (by which we mainly mean musical style) -- whether it's edgy enough or traditional enough or this enough or that enough or too much one thing or another -- are just silly babble. And the world outside looks at it, recognizes it as such, and decides that it doesn't want to have a thing to do with Jesus Christ. Truth be known, the worship wars are just the result of us trading narrow-mindedness about one style of worship for narrow-mindedness about another style of worship.

That's enough to think about for now.


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