Sunday, May 21, 2006

Incongruity

You know, in many ways, I think the Christian Church is a negation of itself. In trying to draw people closer to God, or preach the gospel, they employ methodologies that have the opposite, or unintended, effect.

For example, this morning at Coast Christian Fellowship, Pastor Joe Gil gave a great message on the importance of silence, and used many Biblical examples of how people sought God's voice in silence. He explained how our "devotionals" were meant to draw God close to us, not offer something to God.

He began with a great illustrative video, from the point of view inside a television looking out at the speaker on the couch, channel surfing. The speaker gave a few statistics about white noise, and how difficult it was for Hollywood sound men to gather uninterrupted nature sounds (15 hours of recording for one hour of unspoiled nature sound in 1968; 2000 hours for one hour today). The video then proceeded to ask questions about our ability to maintain silence for about five minutes in a graphical manner of white words superimposed on a black background. Nothing on the soundtrack. It made its point beautifully as we all watched in silence.

At the end of this great sermon, Pastor Joe offered a prayer for our ability to seek God in the silence, while the worship leader tinkled on his guitar in the background. Then, the worship team proceeded to sing a loud, cacophonous song about seeking the Lord in the "quiet place." I wondered if anyone but me caught the incongruity of the situation.

We just don't get it. Today was a great example of how the church negates its own message. No wonder people are seeking alternatives.

1 comment:

Charley said...

"Sounds like" (pardon the pun) Joe hit on some important truth.

It also sounds like in a church like yours, where exuberant expressions of worship are the norm, it would have been unthinkable for there not to be a song or some sort of activity at the end.

I completely agree with your observations. I can also say, having been a worship leader, a pastor and now a worship leader again, we hate silence! We don't know what to do with it. Part of our "job" is to oversee/emcee the worship service. While some people get very nervous during times of quiet in church, believe me, no one gets more nervous than the pastor and/or the music guy.

Maybe a better approach would have been for the worship guy to 1). not play anything during the prayer, 2). invite people into another, shorter, time of silence, to transition smoothly, 3. don't end with a song at all.

Ah well, there's no business like church business!