Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Some Thoughts on Cross-Shaped Worship

I was thinking this morning that our worship of God is Cross-shaped. The daily working out of our salvation is not only vertical, toward him, but horizontal, toward one another, as the gospels and epistles so consistently show. The Bible doesn't separate vertical from horizontal; worship isn't worship without both, just as a Cross is not a Cross without both. "So if you are offering your gift at the altar (vertical) and there remember that your brother has something against you (horizontal), leave your gift there before the altar and go. First be reconciled to your brother, and then come and offer your gift" (Matthew 5:23,24).

What other god is so uncompromisingly solicitous of the love of his followers for each other? But our God is always mindful of his children, his heritage, and we're called to imitate him in that mindfulness. We're never to forget each other in our worship of him, even in our corporate singing, because even there he tells us that we're speaking to one another, teaching and admonishing one another, in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs (Ephesians 5:19, Colossians 3:16).

I'm seeing more and more that this is the Cross-shaped life he's calling us to in his church.


Monday, November 2, 2009

A New Evangelical Consituency

"In the last two or three decades evangelicals have discovered culture. That actually sounds more flattering than I intend. I would welcome a serious discussion about culture. We should be exploring what it is and how it works, rather than just looking at polls to see what is hot. A serious engagement with culture, though, is not what most evangelicals are about.

"What they want to know about culture is simple and easy to unearth. They want to know what the trends and fashions are that are ruffling the surface of contemporary life. They have no interest at all in what lies beneath the trends, none on how our modernized culture in the West shapes personal horizons, produces appetites, and provides us ways of processing the meaning of life. All of that seems like pretty complex and useless stuff. Pragmatists to the last drop of blood, these evangelicals are now in the cultural waters, not to understand what is there, but to get some movement. They are there with their surfboards trying to get a little forward motion as each tiny ripple makes its way toward the shore. This quest for success, which passes under the language of 'relevance,' is what is partitioning the evangelical world into its three segments."

David Wells, The Courage to be Protestant: Truth-lovers, Marketers and Emergents in the Postmodern World, p.3