This Week’s Entries
I’ve written a lot about worship this week that I do not usually say. I am not sure if it is because things have just upset me more than they usually do this week or because I am writing a paper on contemporary worship and am more attuned to what is going on around me.
The results of the survey were overwhelmingly in favor of “blended worship” in which liturgy is maintained but some contemporary elements are used. This did not surprise me too much because most of the “contemporary” services I attend are mostly older people (i.e. 65-70 year olds). The “gen-X” services that work in the Lutheran church are occasionally the “contemporary” services that seek to copy the way they do things in the Vineyard churches but mostly the services where there is a sense of integrity maintained with some newer music. Community Church of Joy, probably the largest church in the ELCA, does things similar to the Vineyard, but they’ve lost their Lutheran identity and become just another mega-church. While I know that mega-churches are just serving their communities, it does beg the question of what their parishioners will do when they move and their local Lutheran church is nothing like that.
After the amount of thinking that I’ve done, I’ve realized that I would probably not be OK with the idea of starting a contemporary service if I was a pastor unless the exact words of the call committee were, “we want to bring more people to Jesus Christ” and not “we want to attract more people to our church.” I know plenty of churches that do worship well but are unfriendly. There are also churches that make a mockery of worship but are very friendly. My first thought on attracting people would be to make sure that whatever worship we were doing was done well. I would also want to take whatever steps were necessary to make sure that visitors felt welcomed and were able to get through the service without getting lost. There are ways of doing this without eliminating liturgy altogether.
Life In General
I have been so overwhelmed and exhausted lately. I was planning on taking my permit test this week only to have those plans shot down by having to schedule my table practice (basically demonstrating how you preside and assist at the Eucharist) today after chapel and having to go to worship team practice this afternoon. My devotional life has been random at best and I wasn’t even getting into the music in chapel today or at worship team practice. I think the retreat tomorrow will be beneficial to refocus me. I’ve been letting devotions slip because it’s hard for me to do them with someone else around. (And no Jon, it’s not your fault. I had the same problem while living with Carolyn.) I know it’s something that I have to get used to doing, but it is a really difficult change. I think it stems from having to be so secretive when I was home.
My wonderful and loving in-laws sent me a $25 gift certificate for Amazon.Com as a birthday present. (My birthday is the 19th. I’m really good at languages so it’s not surprising that I’m a Pentecost baby.) With it, I got the Better Homes and Gardens Cookbook (because Jon and I are in desperate need of recipes and would *love* to find ones that we can cook and freeze and refrigerate for days when the two of us have meetings) and The Things They Carried by Tim O’Brien, which I read in my junior honors English class.
I went to see the new kitten that my friends Kristi and Galen just got. It was a kitten that some other friends of ours had found in their apartment parking lot that was in dire need of a home. The poor kitten had a bite wound to the tail and looked pretty awful. They took it home, bathed it, and took it to the vet. When I came over tonight to see it, Kirby (the kitten) looked *so* much better. He has part of the fur on his tail shaved off so that they could fix the bite wound and the fur around his neck looks like someone had either a rope or a really tight collar on it because it seems worn and Kirby is really sensitive about anyone touching it. He let me feel it (but then again, I have positive cat karma and I know how to do it without scaring the cat) and it does feel like he has some sores there. He is a very adorable light-colored tabby though and he is incredibly affectionate. I was sitting down in the basement where they are having to quarantine him and he came over and climbed into my lap and curled up in a purring ball. Jon and I were supposed to be the ones to have him but we can’t have a cat in the apartment we’re in so we’ve got visitation rights at Kristi and Galen’s. We’re also cat-sitting for them in two weeks so I’ll probably get lots of kitty time then. Their other cat, Mimi, is not amused at the moment because she has ceased to be the center of attention. 🙂