Tag: Worship

Everyone Worships Something: 7 Steps Down the Aisle of Toleration’s Church

 

“Tolerance” is a doctrine. In theology or education or everyday life, “doctrine” is ever present. Everyone has doctrine since everyone has beliefs. We subscribe to a teaching, dogma, or creed to explain what we believe. Our commitment to that set of teachings limits our acceptance of contrary or adversarial claims. It does not matter if you are a feminist, committed to LGBTQ+, a Baptist preacher, or a conservative talk show host; you have doctrine. Everyone everywhere has doctrine. But in our current cultural moment, identity, ethnic, sexual, and gender politics demand our belief in the doctrine of tolerance.

I will use the metaphors of religious ideas and icons to communicate the cultural doctrine of “tolerance.” First, toleration demands “understanding,” then “acceptance,” then “allegiance,” then “obeisance,” then “conformity,” and ultimately “evangelism.” The ordered steps down the cathedral aisle do not matter as much as the baptismal outcome. Hollywood’s hymnal sings both obvious and subtle references to accepted and rejected points of view. Celebrities must bow before the altar of imposed speech codes. News outlets preach from their pulpits against the latest outrage. The plight of those suffering worldwide is reported only if their deaths reinforce the common book of party prayer. Catechismal teaching reinforces the moment-by-moment commitment to membership in the church of toleration. Excommunication is swift for any who would sin against accepted authority. Reputational ruin comes to anyone daring to cross the received cultural commandments. Toleration’s heaven accepts the culturally righteous who are the tolerant saints wearing white robes of social purity. Toleration’s hell awaits anyone who has rejected salvation offered by the cultural gods of the day.

Let me be perfectly clear. I am tolerant, kind, generous, respectful, and gracious to people, no matter who they are or what they believe. But I will always speak out against ideas — the doctrine of tolerance included — that stand against the doctrines of God’s word.

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It’s Epiphany in Augsburg and that means …well, this year it means that the MEHR Conference hosted by the Augsburg House of Prayer will be filling the Augsburg Convention Center with 12,000 Catholics, Evangelicals, Eastern Orthodox and Messianic Jews who gather for four days of corporate worship and prayer. For those who are unfamiliar with […]

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Making Beauty Accessible

 

Lutherans probably beat out even the Anglican communion when it comes to active liturgical worship. While it’s not exactly true that Lutherans are bred from childhood to sing in four-part harmony, the congregation in a Lutheran church is expected to do more than just hunker down in silence. No, silent hunkering is only for those periods of worship where silent hunkering is required – in which case Lutherans are really quite good at it. The rest of the time, though, Lutherans are expected to do stuff. Read together, sing together, pray together. To this day, my lapsed Lutheran family thinks there’s something “papist” about worship services where the congregation can get by without singing.

In a previous post, I described how, even when art strives to imitate nature, it produces something more than just nature, and I used this imitation of nature as an example:

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This week Christians from all over Europe and the UK (and even some from the USA) will be meeting in the Augsburg Exhibition Centre for the 10th annual MEHR (“More”) Conference hosted by the Augsburg House of Prayer (for a general description from the source,  see http://mehr.gebetshaus.org/en/). It’s the largest regular prayer and worship meeting of […]

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This is something of a sidebar to Vicryl Contessa’s post about modern church music.  It is relevant to the post, but something of a long tangent, so I’m putting it out here instead.  A church’s music often reflects the underlying health of the institution.  When the congregation is singing, and especially when the congregation is singing […]

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Do you know how, after going to a funeral, life seems that much sweeter? We often step away and resume our daily lives with renewed vigor and a focus on what really matters. In the back of our minds, we are often thinking about our own funerals, and what we will leave behind when we […]

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