Sunday, January 18, 2009

The Week in Review

Assignment 1 – Theology of Worship (part 2)

This calls for us to come to a time of worship giving of ourselves, emptying ourselves so God can fill us. “There are three things God does not have unless you give them to Him. He doesn’t have your attention unless you give it to Him. That’s loving God with your mind. He doesn’t have your affection, unless you give it to Him. That’s loving God with your heart and your soul. And God doesn’t have your ability, unless you give to Him. That’s loving God with your strength…Whenever you take the things God has given to you and give them back to God, that friends, is the heart of worship” (Warren, pp. 7 –8).

When one accepts that worship involves experience, the next step is to understand that it is also an aesthetic experience. From the online document titled, Experiencing God through the Human Aesthetic Capacity, it states “God created us to know Him. He gave us sensory capacities to meaningfully experience His spiritual reality…He made us to be ‘aesthetic’ beings. It is God’s gift to us. It engages all dimensions of human experience. It is the interaction of cognitive properties with affective meanings and values, producing a psycho-biological/psycho-physical response” (1 –2). Man’s aesthetic capacity allows the individual to realize meaning, significance and value in one’s life (2). One-way of exploring and expressing the human aesthetic capacity is through art.

Artistic input into the worship services allows individuals to focus all their senses. “Our attention is directed toward a particular artistic stimulus. There is an exchange of human life-energy” (Experiencing God, 2). Some artistic inputs are in music, plays and visual productions, poetry and dance. It allows the believer to experience worship in different ways. The individual may have an emotional reaction to an artistic input, which may invoke previous experiences. Our attention is captured as we are engrossed by the artistic input before us, which draws upon our experiences.

The purpose for us having aesthetic capacities as stated is, “Aesthetic experiences in worship can happen either in responding to art, creating art, or expressing through an art form. God made us to find meaning in our interaction with art and artistic stimuli. Our aesthetic capacity was not given primarily for enriching the human experience; it was given to us as a means by which we may interact with God himself” (Experiencing God, 3).

Therefore, aesthetic experiences alongside our faith in Christ can help us to know God better, to sense his presence and to express our love toward God. God reveals himself to us through our experiences. When the believer allows him or herself to express their experiences in worship (in a biblical way), they are in fact allowing God to direct their worship. “Before we can experience a true sense of biblical worship, we must allow God’s Word to command our behavior. This includes active participation in expressive worship” (Hayford, 144).

Work cited

Barna, George, et. al. Experience God in Worship. Loveland, CO: Group Publishing, Inc. 2000.

Warren, Rick. Planned for God’s Pleasure. 2002. 7 January 2007.

Pmin-3303 Unit 1. Experiencing God through the Human Aesthetic Capacity. 7 January 2007.

The Week in Review

Cultural Trends
Written April 11, 2006

Joseph M. Stowell, the author of Shepherding the Church, speaks to the changing culture and how it influences individual’s acceptance of God’s truth. Some of the influences are not always obvious, but they are in television, music, and magazines to name a few. The influence of television will be examined to determine how it changes individuals understanding of truth.

Carl Jeffrey Wright, the author of God’s Vision or Television states “We get more information from television than virtually every other media source. According to the Wall Street Journal, most people watch an average of 20 hours of television a week compared to time spent reading newspapers, magazines, or books, which averages about 2-3 hours per week. Time spent in church, prayer, or Bible reading doesn’t even compare since most people spend approximately 3 hours or less there as well” (8).

The belief that there are no absolutes is one of the messages passed through television. The newest craze of “reality shows” focuses on individual lifestyles and portrays them as successful and enlightened because of their choices. These shows, and others like them, support the belief that everything is relative to what you want and what is best for you. They also show that there are no absolute right or wrong ways of doing things or making choices. Following a set of rules or guidelines of correct behavior is considered weak. Stowell states, “We now must proclaim that there are absolutes in a world where relativism rules. It is our task to call people to something beyond themselves in a day when self-fulfillment has been elevated as the ultimate god. We must be willing to stand unintimidated for biblical correctness when it crosses swords with political correctness” (17).

A life of sexual purity is another message the television distorts and makes difficult for truth to be accepted regarding it. “In the world of television, love also triumphs. The Love Boat, The Newlywed Game, The Bachelor, and Ordinary Joe all take the love of men and women to absurd extremes. These shows exploit both the viewers’ and the participant’s obsession for ‘love’. However, much of the ‘love’ on television is really just about sex” (Wright, 29). Individuals have trouble understanding why sex outside of marriage is not acceptable. The messages brought forth are that sex or love is wonderful and expressing it is only natural. The minister, preacher or pastor that speaks out against fornication or adultery are sometimes looked at as being “outdated” because their messages does not fit the lifestyle of the people. This is a difficult situation, since this belief has made it into the church and into the hearts of some of its members. The images and messages of what happiness looks like in regards to sexual relations has caused some pastors to lose their place and standing in the church. They have not been able to withstand the pull of television, movies or other sexual material, thus causing them to move into sexual sins. “Purity is increasingly important in contrast to our culture’s disinterest in the theme…In our culture someone needs to stick up for purity. Spiritual leaders need to lead the charge” (Stowell, 228-229).

Work Cited

MacArthur, John, et. al. Pastoral Ministry: How to Shepherd Biblically. Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson, Inc., 2005.

Stowell, Joseph M. Shepherding the Church. Chicago, IL: Moody Press. 1997.

Wright, Carl Jeffrey. God’s Vision or Television? Chicago, IL: Urban Ministries, Inc., 2004.