Friday, February 10, 2006

4 Fast then 4 Slow

I have not been worshipping in a Pentecostal church now for the last 4 years as far as I can recall. I have been beaten down or burned out. They say we charismatics do not go for rituals but actually we do. I can always predict what is going to happen in the worship service. Really, the worship service does say something even though it DOES NOT say things explicitly.

I have been invited by my Pentecostal minister friends to join them in worship when I am not preaching in other churches, but I can not get myself to go to the worship services. Why? I am scared.

You see, I got beaten down with the worship style- first the fast happy praise songs and then followed by the slow solemn songs. Over and over again this is what happens on each Sunday. As if we are there to work up a feeling. The message seems like this -- God is here because we 'feel' him. As if we are seeking some kind of emotional validation that God is with us.

When someone just got through some tough emotionally draining stresses of life during the week, you got nothing to give come Sunday. The last thing you want to do is work - specially less is on your emotions because you got nothing more to give, besides I am a lazy bum.

Sunday is the time I do not want to look inside myself because honestly, I have not been that spiritual during the week. But what do I get? - Hillsongs with sentimental themes. This line used to be a blessing to me...

hold me close, let your arms surround me, bring me near, draw me to your side. And as I wait, I'll rise up like an eagle and I will soar with you, your Spirit leads me on in the Power of your love

But lately the same theme has been going on and on, it gets tiring. I do feel touched and I do not mind that, but it should be due to the truth content of the song not through the sentimentality that is in it.

Sometimes I do not want Jesus to cry with me, I want him to deliver me. I do not want him to be sentimental with me and then he and I can have a good cry, I want him to do something for me - but ....
I guess that is what he just did - 2000 years ago, in a place called Calvary.


Venerable Aussie said...

That's a great run-down of the rods many Churches have made for their own backs (you know I'm Catholic, and I can tell you that we have also been encouraged by many misguided folk to see our faith - our understanding of it and our expression of it - in mere touchy/feely terms.) And we all suffer dry times in our spiritual life.

I know you're not Catholic (and I'm not saying the following to try to get you to be one!) but I read a really interesting article last night (which unfort. is not online) about the quiet revolution Pope Benedict is undertaking to bring Catholics back from this touchy/feely faith through a proper understanding of liturgy, and particularly of Christology.

L P Cruz said...


In the old country the RC priests copy the evangelical TV evangelists. They do not wear their habits, they wave the Bible, as if they come from southern USA. They teach the rapture and shout Alleluia and Amen.

As if they were saying to the RC faithful, you do not have to run away, we will give you what you like here - we are big enough to accomodate.

What do you think of that?

Today I worship in a traditional Protestant church.

Venerable Aussie said...

To the extent that many Catholic priests have lost their way, and lost the sense of the sacred, and misunderstand their vocation and their Church, yeah it stinks. even when I lived in Indonesia I had to put up with a lot of faux-Catholic nonsense imported from who knows where. None of this helps build up the faith. None of it is in any way providing for the future. But thank God it's changing and very rapidly, particularly among the young generation. To me the key is: don't leave Peter because of Judas. I've just got back home from a 7pm-midnight pro-life prayer vigil in Hawthorn. A 100 or so there, and it was a most beautiful and deeply Catholic evening of prayerful worship - adoration, petition, thanksgiving, repentance. I really grieve for those fellow Catholics for whom the experience of worship is as you described.

I'm genuinely interested in learning more about what separates us as Christians, and your blog is helping me immensely.

L P Cruz said...

Thanks Venerable,

Well then I hope to show more differences as we go along. If at least I am providing a negative example for you since I know you are on the side of Tigris river, that would be a comfort that I have helped.

My objective is to show that the Jesus you love is sufficient and has paid for it all. All the others can be distraction, and this is true to Protestant christianity too - both Reformed/Lutheran etc.

TKls2myhrt said...

"Sometimes I do not want Jesus to cry with me, I want him to deliver me. I do not want him to be sentimental with me and then he and I can have a good cry, I want him to do something for me - but ....
I guess that is what he just did - 2000 years ago, in a place called Calvary."

This is priceless! Face've become Lutheran in your thinking! That's a compliment!

I also loved Rick Ritchie article on going to Wittenberg. So much of his account rang true for me, as well.

L P Cruz said...

Thank You TK, I know I have become Lutheran in my thinking. I have to tell my heart resistance is futile (LOL). I am thankful for the Lutherans for teaching me to focus on Jesus and His Cross - they remind me again and again that there is no greater than this gift - sins forgiven in Christ our (my) Lord. He is Lord precisely because He is SAVIOR!

TKls2myhrt said...


once a catholic said...

At mass today for ash wednesday, the celebrant's sincere words: "Lord, make my heart your home" have well and truly made my day.
Not touchy, feely, just a real cry and desire - at the start of this season we call Lent.