Tuesday, 25 September 2012

Church boring or irrelevant?

Don't forget that you heard it here first!

Tidying the study this morning I put the radio on and set it to search for any random station that came under the 'Christian' label. The winner this morning was 'Premier' and one of the news items that have been running is that church is boring and irrelevant.

Well I think I found that yesterday when I was buttonholed at the local Crem' but there is a bit of a worry attached to this in that one of the kneejerk responses is to decide that we need church to be 'different' and by doing so end up, like many of those around me, being different by being exactly the same as their peers. If you don't know what I mean take a look at the kids as they go to school and count how many have the same coloured hair or hair style - look at the blokes and their sagging trousers and underpants up under their armpits!

Well the same is true of many of us who lead churches in that we all assume that effective church consists of singing the same songs as everyone else and accompanying them with guitars, drums and keyboards (some even have brass and woodwind which has to be good ;-)). Having taken care of the 'Worship' (when will Christians learn that ALL the service is worship?) many then do stuff that is, to be quite honest, not only lightweight in terms of theology, but bordering on the syncretic! Not only that but I've been to Anglican churches where it was difficult to see any difference between the service there and one at a free evangelical, baptist or charismatic church gathering. The reason given was that it made the church service accessible.

Perhaps so but it wasn't Anglican and certainly wasn't sound in terms of the selective nature of what was done. There was one Bible reading and the songs were more important that the extremely light sermon (well, I assumed it was a sermon anyway!) and since they only did communion once a month (or two if the activities and stuff got in the way - and I kid you not, been there and seen it!!!).

I don't think that the Book of Common Prayer needs to be thrown out of our services. I can see within Common Worship the potential to keep the Bible in our services and still make them fresh, accessible and interesting. In fact I've coming to a place where I realise that it's the HOW that we do it that makes sense.

So seems I have theme for the next few days . . .  Watch this space (and send me your contributions - I'd love to have some guest writers on this issue).



Anonymous said...

Most of the cofe services are little more than droning congregations and repetition. That's why they are all dying and the modern music and free worship churches are growing.

boring boring boring old Anglicans - still not long before you've all gone and true worshippers take their placeas the harvest is gathered in and the victorious sing their songs.


Soup D said...

Wow! now there's a comment for Christian Unity and solidarity. "True worshippers' eh? Think I'd rather be with the lost.

The poster obviously has a one-sded and uneducated view of "Anglican' worship - ever heard of New Wine?Anglican, "Alpha? Anglican. Soul Survivor? Anglican. Our church (C of E) sings 'modern' songs written by the likes of Matt Readman, Tim Hughes, Pete James, Brenton Brown, Delirious... I could go on.

I could also quote a myriad of Scripture that points out exactly why your post is so saddening, but what's the point? You obviously don't read or live it.

Revsimmy said...

I agree with Vic ;)

Vic Van Den Bergh said...

Wow :-)

Just checking to see where Jeremy Beedle has placed the camera because I must be being set up here.

Thought the idea that we Anglicans were boring went out with the last (insert whatever whatever you fancy)!

Nah - BCP is fantastic and the worship songs we sing would leave many looking like they were living with the Pharisees ;-) Our liturgy is Bible and our worship is everything we do (not just the singing).

So, before you take your placeas I suggest you pick up your Bible and get down to a bit of reading (remember there's more than the NT and more than those all too familiar Gospel passages too!).

SD, steady now, we need to be kind to the weaker (minded?) brethren you know ;-)


Revsimmy said...

It's not so much the "all too familiar Gospel passages" I worry about. It's more the over-dependence on Paul as the fount of all wisdom. Most so-called "free worship" churches of my acquaintance are far too selective in the scripture they use and skate over difficult passages if they consider them at all.

goppasgospel said...

to anonymous: where is the Holy Spirit in what you say? where is Jesus?where is the love?


Well, if you REALLY want to spice things up a bit, you may sing me wee version of Amazing Grace next meeting...

the warden said...

Soup D I rekon is bang on, there are all kinds of differnt churches out there some very traditional and some not so but the true reason we all go to church is to celebrate the good news and be part of the Christian life. old songs new songs we are all worshipping God. I think anonymous is the odd one out here.

UKViewer said...

Vic, BCP is fantastic, but doesn't have many fans among younger Clergy. Although our Curate took to it like a Duck to Water.

We use Common Worship for the majority of our services, although there is a mix with family and all age services.

This seems to work, but we want to keep things fresh so will introduce new Hymns that the younger members can identify with. Most of these are sung by our School Choir which helps us to get used to them.

We are fortunate in many ways, Our School Choir has performed in the Cathedral, which demonstrates the quality of their teachers and musical input. The shame is that many never graduate to our main Choir :(

I think that there has to be room within Anglican worship for other streams, but the content needs to be in forms that are authentic, approved and which contain those elements of worship and liturgy to make it both meaningful and valid.

Anonymous said...

Boring > Crazy

Seriously, give me the Anglican Church anytime rather than these radical evangelicals and charismatics. Their vicarious redemption is not even an ecumenical matter.