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Worship is a profound topic worthy of deep and humble reflection which is why I am always skeptical of people who have simple answers to contemporary worship issues. Worship is grounded in the profound notion that God is completely other.  He is not in any way part of His own creation nor is he obligated to it and yet He is connected to it at the same time.  He is near enough to hear us, close, and yet so vast He stretches beyond our imagination.

So how do you worship a God like that?  How could you? Whatever worship is, it is certainly facilitated by us and yet oriented toward God.  Our songs couldn’t possibly be beautiful enough, why do we think relevance even enters the equation? I heard a Green Day song yesterday that spoke to the challenge of keeping worship real and yet oriented toward God.

Disclaimer: I do not approve of every Green Day song, nor the socio- political leaning of the group but this song is however appropriate for general public consumption.  My four kids have seen this video  (if that gives you any measure of orthodoxy)

Redundant by Green Day 2005

We’re living in repetition.
Content in the same old shtick again.
Now the routine’s turning to contention,
Like a production line going a over and a over and a over, roller coaster

Now I cannot speak, I lost my voice
Speechless and redundant
‘Cause I love you’s not enough
I’m lost for words.

Choreographed and lack of passion
Prototypes of what we were
Went full circle ’til I’m nauseous
Taken for granted now
I waste it, faked it, ate it, now i hate it

‘Cause I cannot speak, I lost my voice
Speechless and redundant
‘Cause I love you’s not enough
I’m lost for words.

Now I cannot speak, I lost my voice
I’m speechless and redundant
‘Cause I love you’s not enough
I’m lost for words.

It’s likely I am reading a bit too much into this but the words spoke to the contemporary worship wars (at least for me.)  Trying to keep an increasingly diverse church community happy is becoming almost impossible.

First we try routine and conformity to reduce the various individual desires of the church members but now the, “routine’s turning to contention.”   Whether you are “traditional,” or, “contemporary” in your worship preference, the problem is we are often debating personal desires. Most of the time when we are debating what is appropriate for worship what are we unhappy about?

  • This style of music is not right. (I don’t like this style of music.)
  • This song was written 20+ years ago.
  • I can’t stand clapping.
  • Nobody is smiling; there’s no passion here.
  • The order we do things is different every week!
  • The order is the same every week!

No matter what the object of worship is God alone. When I come into the presence of God, I am an infidel, no matter what my worship practice. The only worship posture the Bible demands is often the one we do not use: humility.

Lord I cannot speak, I lost my voice
Speechless and redundant
‘Cause I love you’s not enough
I’m lost for words.

Greenday

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