Now give me that old time religion
Give me that old time religion
Give me that old time religion
And it's good enough for me
When we arrived back home, I attended our Eagle Brook Saturday afternoon service, which is almost like a full-on rock concert - lights, smoke machine, guitar solos, top-notch vocal performances. In short, a completely different approach to worship. I once asked the worship leader at our campus about the Performance (capital P intended) versus the leading the congregants in worship, and he explained it as a calculated decision to put seekers more at ease. While my marketing mind "gets" that a seeker church needs to put its target audience at the center, and while I love a smokin' guitar solo as much as the next person, I often feel distant - an audience member being entertained, rather than an active participant worshiping God within the church body.
Then last weekend, I attended a wedding at the traditional Baptist church we used to attend, and a dance reception afterward. As one friend later posted on Facebook, "Nothing like seeing a bunch of people you usually only see sitting quietly and calmly in a church pew out on the dance floor doing a little "YMCA."" Yep, that was fun. And that was the same week that another friend invited many of those same Baptists to a birthday party where we learned line dancing, which was wonderful and well out of the comfort zone for some. But everyone was connecting and enjoying each other's company and having a great time together.
All of these different churches have a different approach to worship and to seeking God. But within each of these communities, true worshipers are seeking to honor God with their actions and speech. When I consider how the recent Hobby Lobby SCOTUS ruling generated so much sturm and drang on social media, it makes me more aware than ever that each of us is accountable for our words and actions online, in person, at work, home and wherever. It breaks my heart to see believers publicly attacking each other's choices and screeching about evil in the world, all the while spewing hate for any opinion that doesn't perfectly match their own.
As I've mulled over this for the last couple of weeks, God has inundated me (as He does) with teachings and radio messages about living the Christian life instead of just passively absorbing it. Things like: "Those who consider themselves religious and yet do not keep a tight rein on their tongues deceive themselves, and their religion is worthless." - James 1:26. So my discouraging words to my family are an indication of the true worth of my religion? Gulp.
Then there's this, from a James MacDonald teaching on wisdom: "Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock.... But everyone who hears these words of mine and does not put them into practice is like a foolish man who built his house on sand. The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell with a great crash." - Matthew 7:24-27. MacDonald emphasized that the rock which builds the foundation in this metaphor is not Jesus nor the Word, it is the action of hearing the Word and putting that into practice.
That's wisdom. Foolishness is hearing the word and failing to put it into practice. Feeling like I need to worry a lot less about other people's issues - how they worship, what they believe, how they approach things - and work a lot more on putting God's Word into action in my own life. No shortage of stuff to work on there.