Wednesday, May 23, 2007
Brian McLaren on the Worship Industry
An excellent video from the folks at "The Work of the People" about how our modern worship industry too often manages to turn art and honest worship into a commodity and propaganda.


posted by Mike Clawson at 11:49 AM | Permalink |


At 5/25/2007 08:37:00 AM, Anonymous Kullervo

I think Brian is spot-on here for a couple of reasons.

Propaganda is virtually a science, and the emotional highs that it can bring are calculated outcomes, certainly not the presence of the Holy Ghost. The reason is that propaganda-style appeals work for religion the same as they work for nationalism, communism, and even (especially!) fascism.

It might feel good, a kind of a high at the moment, but it's not God. And it's not even necessarily going to last unless it's heavily reinforced, in a systematic way. Basically, a church just doesn't (shouldn't) have enough control over your life to be able to work propaganda like that.

So it winds up just looking cheap and showy, and the only people that are convinced are the ones who want to be convinced.

On the other hand, I think something needs to be said for "wanting to be convinced," at least in terms of the attitude that the individual worshipper brings. If worship is seen as a product, it's a one-ay street, the worshipper comes to the table expecting to get something. I'm not convinced that's the right attitude or that gOd is very impressed with it.

That's not to say that God isn't interested in meeting our individual needs, but at the very least we shouldn;t conflate those with "worship."

In his book, "Why Choose the Episcopal Church," John H. Krumm made some points about art and worship that were revolutionary to me:

"God is glorified by any conscientious and honest act of adoration even if the heart is lukewarm and the mind dulled with weariness. Since worship is somehting offered to God and not something primarily designed to induce religious experiences in the worshipper, [the worshipper] is mercifully relieved of the appalling responsibility of trying to feel pious and spiritual. It was not that strong sentiments did not occasionally overcome me, and still do in surprising and unexpected moments in worship--but that such experiences were quite incidental to the main business of worship.
I found that what is true of any art is true also with worship--it creates its deepest effect when i is least concerned with effect, it has the greatest power when it is most completely dedicated to the purity and integrity of its art."


At 6/04/2007 01:19:00 AM, Blogger Mike Clawson

Good points Kullervo. Thanks.


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