A Response…

to an article in Patheos regarding why men don’t sing in Church.

In the Eastern Orthodox Churches people have been and are encouraged to sing as they can and have done so since day one (which for us is over 2000 years ago). We do, as well, have trained choirs and often those who lead the worship can be quite talented in music, although this doesn’t have to be the case. I think the problem in some parts of American Christianity these days is a flawed theology of worship. Worship is “liturgy”, from a Greek word whose forms are found in the Bible and translated “The work of the people”. What this has historically meant is that the worship service is a joint task of all the people gathered, with leaders and participants of various kinds, and the focus is a corporate effort to worship God. The various forms and structures, including the music, are to be designed to fulfill this end and the beauty, or the beauty of simplicity, they possess are to draw the hearts of those who worship towards the One who is beauty, namely God. The goal of this worship, however, in our contemporary culture, has too often been directed towards producing an emotional or conversion experience rather than being understood as purely an offering of praise to God. Worship, in the proper historic Christian sense, is not about us, our feelings, or whatever we may get out of it at all, it is about the fact that God is worthy to be worshiped and that we as human beings are called upon to do this. Interestingly enough when a Christian takes themselves, their needs, or their desires, out of worship, they bring themselves to a depth of the sense of the presence of the Holy One that can be quite profound.  The antidote to spectator worship should begin with a correct theology of worship. Teach this and  implement it and in time people will understand and take place among the active worshiping faithful.

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