Wednesday, 14 July 2010

Response To John The Steadfast

I've been following along with my Lutheran Synod's decisions the past week down here in Houston, and have been here to talk with some of the pastor's as well! It's been great to see, but I have been seeing a lot of saddening blog posts and degrading comments to fellow brother's and sister's in Christ's worship habits and styles- so I posted a response on these blogs here:

Here is my response to them on this blog:

I wonder why people assume that standing up, swaying, and lifting hands to the LORD has anything to do with calling attention to themselves? When I read the scriptures I see all kinds of physical expressions to praise the LORD with at our disposal- not just the sitting and standing up we tend to use in our congregations. It shouldn’t matter to us whether or not people stand to worship the LORD or if they fall on the ground to adore Him.
I would question all of our hearts dear brothers and sisters if all we can say after our Synod meets to worship the LORD together as one church for the first time in 3 years are things that are neither prescribed or mandated in scripture. What a cross looks like should make no difference to me how I worship the LORD. Who wrote a song should not matter either. All of you should agree that God is in the business of using messed up sinful people and things to glorify His name and show His love.
I see more argument in the scriptures for people to express themselves in worship through physical actions than to stand there only having emotions going on inside themselves but never expressing it. God created us all with feelings that we express daily (some of you on the blog express yourself through written word) why should God’s people divorce themselves from those feelings within worship?
I would argue that there is a greater scriptural basis for the fact that there SHOULD be more hand raising and swaying in church. As well as prostrating, kneeling, clapping, dancing, you name it, being used to praise the LORD- regardless if it is lead by organ, piano, guitar, choir, or drummers from Africa!
I am appalled and saddened by the way the leaders of our church today express their opinions and preferences about worship with little/no regard for those who do not feel the same way as them. It makes me sad to see such disrespectful comments here on this blog which mock and criticize fellow brothers and sisters worshipping habits, styles, and preferences.
I enjoy all forms of worship and appreciate them all for what they bring to my soul and spirit. I love Matins, all Divine Services, and even Contemporary worship- not because I get to worship the LORD how I want to- but because the LORD is worthy to be praised at all times and in all places. He is worthy of our worship not because we feel comfortable doing it one way, or think that one way is most accurately what God wants- but because simply He is the LORD and worthy to be praised.
There are arguments on both sides as to which way is the ‘right’ way to worship the LORD- but I think if we put all of our differences aside we would all see that there is not just ‘ONE WAY.’ The LORD meets us all in different ways. We have freedom in Christ. There are sinners on both sides trying to worship the LORD and create ways in which our congregations can worship Him as well. The problem is when we as prideful men get in the way of the freedoms in which Christ gives us.
To say that there are lower forms of worship is very insulting and degrading to a lot of people in our Synod- and it shows a problem of pride in our hearts. I would urge all of us to be reminded of 1 Corinthians 8:1 when Paul was talking to the Corinthians about a preference as well:
Now about food sacrificed to idols: We know that we all possess knowledge. Knowledge puffs up, but love builds up.
There is no building up of our brothers in our replies and posts, but there is plenty of pride being tossed around through degrading opinions and all of our earthly/sinful knowledge.
President Kieschnick was correct to preach to us about forgiveness in our opening service because we need it now these days more than ever. Knowledge should never be used to ‘Lord over’ people but rather to build each other up in love. You can not claim to love your fellow brothers if you continue to degrade them and treat them like they are ‘lesser’ just because they have differing opinions.
I would encourage all of us who haven’t yet to read Dr. Mike Middendorf’s CTCR document on ‘Freedom In Christ…Even In Worship?’ And to begin to take physical action toward restoring the unity of our Synod through love- first dying to ourselves, then taking up the cross and speaking to each other with respect and love.
We cannot hide behind our prideful and degrading comments through the excuse that we are sinful beings. This is not a good enough excuse. It is simple laziness and a half-hearted dedication to our brothers. Christ calls us to a greater unity then that and through His Spirit we can rise above all of the pettiness on both sides to achieve unity.
I would like to see this blog site take the first steps toward that. And our pastors as the leaders of our Synod to be the first people to stand and live that way through our actions and words.
May Christ be with us all.


Wednesday, 17 March 2010

In The Marmalade Forest...

Dan, Meghan, and I hopped on to a different tour for the second part of our tour yesterday to visit the Muir Woods instead of the city!

Day Two- Muir Woods


Are You Going To San Francisco?!

Check it out! We met up with our good friend Meghan and did a tour of Alcatraz!

Day Two- Alcatraz