This blog records my transition from the Churches of Christ to Eastern Orthodoxy.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Is There Such A Thing As A Sacred Style? (part 5)

i believe many people have been fed up with this congregational-level form of cultural elitism, and have reacted in a couple different ways.

First, many people go off, start their own churches, and simply establish a new dominant culture. i believe this is the way of the neo-, multi-campus community church. Just allow the style of the younger generation to dominate instead. This doesn't just happen outside the CoC though. Some churches split--a fed up group takes off to go have things how they like them. Or people insist on having a separately scheduled worship service more suited to their preferred styles.

Some people see this as harmless, but i can't help but think it's little more than sinful division. Christ prayed for unity. People being willing to give up being in the same room with brethren just so they can have things the way they like them--that's hardly the sort of unity Christ prayed for, no? Do you not have a spiritual responsibility to those people you're excluding? or those people you left behind? Are they not worth more than your favorite style of music?

i'm surprised at how unquestioningly we treat ourselves as consumers having every right to take our money elsewhere to find the product that most suits our fancy. That may be entirely true when buying a car or trying out a new restaurant. But is that how the church works? Is that how Christ intends for us to view our home congregations and the people in them?

Surely, the early church didn't see itself this way. They didn't have the luxury of just toddling off to the next church down the road that sings songs they like better. In the first century, people had to learn how to stick it out and work together and find a way to glorify God, follow Christ, and build His kingdom despite their differences. 21st century Christians (in my experience anyway) don't seem to value that level of commitment and loyalty to fellow disciples. Why not? Isn't this a first century trait worth imitating?

So rather than just dismissing someone altogether by saying something as elitist and divisive as "you're heart can't possibly be in the right place since you like that style of music," why not give your brother the benefit of the doubt? Maybe, just maybe, his heart is in the right place and he likes that kind of music. Does that mean you have to like it? Not at all. But you're not liking it doesn't mean he shouldn't nor that he should have to give it up just to fellowship and do God's work with you. Why not rather learn that (1) not every single song you ever sing in worship has to be to your liking, and (2) it may very well be that the style which bothers you actually helps your brother worship better.

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