Wednesday, 13 June 2012

Barking up the wrong worship tree

I've been doing some thinking about worship, creativity and post moderns. For those of us who have grown up in this generation, it is possible for us to be breathtakingly introspective. Our characteristic consumer culture and 'meet my needs' worldview, turning our worship of God into an exercise of naval gazing narcissism.

Whilst we sing,'It's all about You', we actually think,'It's all about me'. This is a dangerous perspective if left unchallenged, which robs God of His rightful place, and leaves us thinking that His role is to serve our needs. The old dog and cat theology lesson says it best:

A dog sees his master return at the end of the working day and thinks: 'This guy looks after me, he plays with me, he feeds me, he gives me somewhere to sleep, he's always there and he cares for me. He keeps me safe and I want for nothing. He must be God!'

A cat sees his master return at the end of the working day and thinks: 'This guy looks after me, he plays with me, he feeds me, he gives me somewhere to sleep, he's always there and he cares for me. He keeps me safe and I want for nothing. I must be God!'

Can you see the problem here? So much of what we may think is worship is misdirected. So many of the songs of our times reflecting our needy self obsession. We may be just barking up the wrong tree altogether. Cats wake up - its a dogs world and we have a master to serve!

2 comments:

  1. very pertinent question, it would be interesting if you could give some examples of songs that yoou feel are guilty of this? As Christians we are often quick to pick holes in the worldview of other believers but have a blindspot when it comes to the negative aspects of our own culture and consumerism definitely seems to be a big one for us in the West. However I also feel that there is something God-honouring when we come to Him to 'give' him praise and in His grace and generosity he meets our needs and pours out spiritual gifts for our encouragement and strengthening. As John Piper puts it, the giver gets the glory. So I do think we need to be careful here and ask whether being humble and dependent on his grace isn't also a form of worship?

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  2. Absolutely! This is a reaction to a creeping needs focussed, me centred worship culture, reflected in lots of songs about my needs, my feelings. We used to sing a lot of these! Some of them are great songs, and I'm happy to sing them, but I want our main diet of songs to be God focussed, all about him. I remain convinced that when we get this the right way around, we leave corporate worship with fresh faith, and with a knowledge that God will indeed supply our needs. I guess I'm talking about a balanced diet, but the balance from our prevailing culture is biased, so we need an adjustment!

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