I don’t know Jim Gaffigan and I’m not affiliated with him in any way other than the fact that he is my favorite stand up comedian. It’s pretty well known that Gaffigan is a Catholic and his faith often has a place in His stand up comedy. His new show just started airing and for the time being the first episode is available online for free. The episode brilliantly and hilariously deals with the absurdity of trying to keep your faith, your career, and your life everyday separate. There is much to laugh at and think about in this particular episode.
For those who might be offended, there are a couple of uses of profanity so you might want to be aware of that going in. I’m posting this here simply because I think it deals with the issue of faith and culture brilliantly.
It’s good to be in Nashville tonight. I got to hang out with my friend Nicholas LaFleur for a bit and drink some delicious tea from ‘The Well’ coffeehouse. Back at my hotel room I ended the day using face time to talk to my beautiful wife Jennifer and my son Alexander. All in all, a tiring but very good day. Tomorrow I hit the recording studio with Craig Adams. I would appreciate your prayers that we make the best record we can for the glory of God. This is a prayer I pray often from the book of common prayer and I’m praying it for this project.
“God, whom saints and angels a delight to worship in heaven: be ever present with your servants who seek through art and music to perfect the praise offered by your people on earth; glimpses of your beauty, and make them worthy at length to behold it unveiled for evermore; through Jesus Christ our Lord.”
I can’t tell you how honored I am to be featured again on this weeks episode of the radio show, Under The Radar along with Jars of Clay, Ellie Holcomb, Phil Keaggy, and many other incredible artists who have written and recorded songs about the Psalms. Under the Radar is a nationally syndicated radio program based out of Chicago Illinois and is hosted by the Dave Trout. Check out their page at http://www.RadarRadio.Net and become a part of some of the amazing things God is doing through UTR’s ministry.
Rick Lee James
For too long in our worship services we have seen the congregation as the audience. In recent years a new emphasis has directed us away from that kind of thinking by helping us to see God as the audience and the congregation as performers for Him. While this metaphor has changed the course of the conversation and helped us to use new language, like referring to the stage as a platform, I don’t think the metaphor has been carried far enough.
The more I reflect on worship in the house of God, the more I want to completely abandon that idea that there is an audience at all. When it comes to worship, maybe there is no audience. Audiences tend to be spectators but they don’t usually contribute to the what is happening in the show they are watching. If it’s a movie, the audience pays their money then they sit back and let the performers on screen do the work. At church we often plunk down our tithe and let the people on the platform do the work.
While I believe the metaphor of seeing God as the audience and His people as the performers is better for helping congregational members to engage more in worship, I still think we can do better. A passive spectator is the furthest thing from what Christianity means when it uses the word God. God is not a passive spectator and neither should His people be, after all, liturgy is the work of the people.
The Christian faith has always affirmed a Creator God who is active in His creation, all of His creation. God is not an academic pursuit for us, God is our source of life who draws near to us, reveals Himself to us, intervenes in our lives, changes us, disrupts our days, dies for us, resurrects for us, and just won’t leave us alone even if we want Him to. You can run from yourself but you can’t run from God.
Good thoughts from Mike Livingstone on The Heresy if Worshiptainment.
Originally posted on Mike Livingstone:
The great heresy of the church today is that we think we’re in the entertainment business. A.W. Tozer believed this to be true back in the 1950s and 60s. Church members “want to be entertained while they are edified.” He said that in 1962. Tozer grieved, even then, that it was “scarcely possible in most places to get anyone to attend a meeting where the only attraction was God.”*
More recently, David Platt has asked: “What if we take away the cool music and the cushioned chairs? What if the screens are gone and the stage is no longer decorated? What if the air conditioning is off and the comforts are removed? Would His Word still be enough for his people to come together?” (Radical)
Would it be enough?
Tozer got it right: “Heresy of method may be as deadly as heresy of message.”
HALLOWEDNESS, NOT SHALLOWNESS
Like Tozer, we…
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