Tuesday, January 19, 2010


Honoring Tradition

iMonk recently wrote about change, tradition and honoring the older. His post was reflections while attending a traditional mass at a Catholic Church with his wife. It drew some outstanding comments, one so good that Michael felt he needed to put it at the top of his post:
The wedge contemporary evangelicals are driving between young and old is incredibly short sighted and deadly. Doesn’t the Bible itself say that the older should teach the younger? We’ve turned things around so that anything new (even if unproven) and appealing to the not yet mature, still developing young is trotted out as appropriate worship. More experienced, mature Christians who should be teaching the young about and sharing with them their great Christian heritage are instead asked to “get with it” or “get out.” The evangelical church will die if all it can do is try to keep up with secular culture and make its focus offering whatever the latest fads or glitz it can to “attract” the young as if the church were somehow dependent on a Christian advertising machine rather than God to draw people to Him.
It' not just "contemporary" evangelicals by the way - its many mainlines and others as they adopt the evangelical model since "they are the ones succeeding." My church maintains both a traditional and a contemporary service, but you can feel the church's center of gravity move to the contemporary service almost daily.

I remain a regular part of the traditional service and serve as liturgist at least once a month. One of the things I attempt to do in that position is explain, as briefly as possible, why we do what we do in that service. When I do it,it almost universally gets great response. People come to appreciate things when they come to understand there is a reason behind them.

I wonder what would happen if during the "contemporary" service (which I can still barely distinguish from the Young Life clubs I used to lead that were evangelistic events - NOT WORSHIP!) we introduced small elements of the traditional with an explanation? You know, actually tried to expand people's horizons just a tad.

In the end I could care less whether we sing with a back beat or not, whether a song has a bridge or not, but I care deeply that we call people to more than attendance. Jesus Christ came to change lives, and the church somehow keeps forgetting that.

Dear Lord, save us from ourselves.

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