Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Soap Box// Contemporary Worship

{Disclaimer: I know normally I don't discuss to many hot topics on my blog, I really do try to keep it light and happy. After all nobody likes a "Debbie-Downer." I also never talk about money, politics or religion. Today, I'm breaking that rule. Sadly, I don't use my blog as a format to share my faith, but I'm also not someone who feels the need to overwhelm others who might not believe the same things I do, with my Christian perspective. However, this post is likely to include a few bible verses and my opinion on modern worship, I totally understand if you don't agree and I'm not here to offend.} 

Over the last few months my mostly traditional southern baptist church has been in transition mode, to a more modern, contemporary style of worship. This has occurred for many reasons including logistics, size of the church, members of the church, leadership, and overall the direction that worship is going in this day and age. I understand that every generation probably endured some type of change in worship style within their lifetime in church. I would be naive to think that worship should be the same it was in the early 1900s. I'm sure the first church to have an orchestra accompany their choir got a few push backs from the elders in the church. I can hear those church ladies now sitting in those hot sticky pews, fanning themselves with the bulletin with their big hats saying, "remember when we just had a few choir members and the organ?"

Well, now I'm that little old lady sans hat. Except I'm not old. I'm in the demographic (between age 10 and age 50) that SHOULD like contemporary worship. The upbeat songs with lyrics projected on the screen, the keyboard, the 4 necessary guitar players, the variety of vocalists and let's not forget the drummer. However, I just can't stand it. Honestly, I've never been a fan of singing the same song that has 7 verses, 11 times. (We call the 7Elevens) And that is an exaggeration of sorts, but, sometimes the songs seem to go on forever. In fact our "new service" has been extended by 15 minutes, just so we can get all the verses in.

I'm really trying not to be critical, because I know this is how a lot of people worship. However, I am distracted by so much during the service, like, how the worship leaders recite scripture during a song, or how they raise their hands to the ceiling, and how informally dressed they are. None of that actually matters when it comes to worshiping Christ. You can worship Christ whenever, wherever you are, but it should be reverent no matter what. I feel that a lot of the actions are done because the worship leaders want everyone to think they are so worshipful and it just has a feeling of "look at me, look at me." While I could totally be wrong, it makes me uncomfortable and embarrassed for them. There are churches (in our area) where this is solely the only style of worship they participate in. I guess it's hard for me to understand why a traditional church with a steeple is trying to compete with the hard-ware store converted to a church. There needs to be a balance. I had chosen not to participate in contemporary style worship, which is why I was still attending my traditional style church. Now, I have no option.

Finally, I grew up where we sang "contemporary songs," not hymns, at summer church camp or during discipleship weekends, or on church trips. They were part of the experience and helped to create the spiritual high that we all got while on the trip so that when we got home our experiences would be reflected and we could reach others for Christ. Those songs served a purpose there, then every Sunday we would sing reverent hymns that our grand-mamas had sang to us since we were babies. Now that those contemporary songs are the norm, and the praise band is the norm, and the choir and orchestra are in the backdrop and the piano and organ are on the sidelines, the hymns are barely existent in their traditional form. It all feels like such a production. Sometimes less is more. I will miss the days of picking up the hymn book and singing one of the greats. Hymns can transform you mentally and spiritually to a place that I can't seem to get to through modern songs.

I know the devil is attempting to have a foothold on my heart during this transition. All my concerns, my reservations, my distractions, my negative opinions and attitude are all from him. I know that the Lord doesn't care how we worship Him as long as we do. Change is hard for me in regards to anything, and this is no different. I am continuing to pray about the situation and that everything will work out for His glory.

All the nations you have made shall come and worship before you, O Lord, and shall glorify your name. For you are great and do wondrous things; you alone are God. 
Psalm 86:9-10

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

5 People in My City

Hello lovelies... it's been a few weeks, er months. I apologize. Clearly not sticking to my resolution of blogging on the reg. Ooops! I have stuck to the one about cleaning out/decluttering my house! So there's that! :)

Anyways, I follow Ashley over at Love and Wrinkles and she posted this cute little post about 5 types of people you would meet in her town in South Dakota. I've never even known someone in South Dakota, but because of her post I feel like I've been there. So it got me thinking about Columbia and thought I would do the same!

 The College Student

I'm lucky enough to live in a city where there is a major university. Though I did not attend the University of South Carolina, it gives the city the feel of a college town. On any given day you can find students around town or on the Horseshoe in their leggings worn as pants, or in running shorts with Ugg boots, complete with messy buns on the top of their heads. The university also provides the city with collegiate sports entertainment. Fall is for football and spring is for baseball.  

There is also a section of town where mostly college students hang out called 5 Points. It's an eclectic part of town with neat shops, small pubs and restaurants and a street named after Darius Rucker, lead singer of Hootie and the Blowfish, who got their start right in the heart of the district.

The Young Professional

There are quite a few large companies and industries in the area and since it is a college town, many of the students stay in the area for employment. However, they move their social lives a couple miles away to an area of town called, The Vista. Young professionals as well as professionals in general migrate to this area of town during happy hour as well as on the weekends for fine dining and entertainment. It's a great place to meet up with friends after an event at our arena!

Columbia is the Capital City, and the state house is located smack in the middle of downtown. When legislature is in session it is not uncommon to see members of the house and senate around town. Not to mention the protesters, rally's, etc. that go on on the state house grounds. If you recall SC is kinda famous for it's politicians, ie. Strom Thurmond and Joe Wilson.

The Socialites
You can find this group socializing downtown in Vista, but you will find them shopping on Devine Street. A trendy boutique district. If you want high-end specialty shops, this is the place to be and be seen in your Lilly Pulitzer, or seersucker. They are all locally owned businesses so while the prices are a bit higher, there is something about saying, "Oh I got this at 'Just the Thing' on Devine Street."

Lake Lovers

Just outside of the city is the "jewel of SC," Lake Murray. She is beautiful. I have the pleasure of seeing her everyday on my commute to and from work. I am lucky enough to have grown up on her shores and enjoyed many a summer evening on my parents boat. The lake actually spans several counties. On a beautiful day you can find many people walking on the dam, and in the late summer you can watch the Purple Martins swarm over Bomb Island.