Sunday, August 15, 2004

Church of the Redeember (Things that made me uncomfortable)

Early last week, I mentioned that I'd talk about some of the things that made me uncomfortable during the Church of the Redeemer service.

However, before I go into that, I want to state a couple of things at the outset. 1) I did grow up Church of Christ, but I didn't grow up thinking that we were the only ones going to Heaven (another concept I want to explore on of these days, Heaven, I mean). 2) When I talk about these things, it's not that I think they're wrong, they're just different and not what I'm used to. So having said that, here we go.
  • One thing that made me uncomfortable was that there seemed to be a lot of focus on the pastor, Father Thomas. He taught the sermon, did the announcements, conducted the Communion, et cetera.

    Now, I've thought about this over the last week, and tried to picture how someone would view one of Otter Creek's services for the first time. I've wondered if they'd see a lot of focus on the praise team or Brandon or Tim. I can say that I definitely prefer more people being involved, different ones for communion, the family prayer, and so on. It makes it feel like the whole congregation has more ownership in the worship service. Well, the men, at least.
  • There was also a lot of ritual involved. Father Thomas and the other laypeople entered to a processional song and left to a recessional. They held a cross above them and carried a large Bible (although it may have been a Book of Common Prayer, but more on that in a minute). It was very solemn and reverent, but made me wonder about why they entered the service in such reverence, and the rest of the congregation didn't.

    Onto the book. There was a great deal of reverence shown the book, which makes me think it was a Bible. It was kissed at one point, and held above someone's head to show the congregation. Now, I think the idea behind the reverence for the Bible is a great thing. It shows the intent of the heart to hold Scripture in such a high place, but I kept thinking, "It's only a book. Yes, we believe it holds the words of God, but still...."

Like I said, just a couple of things that made me uncomfortable. However, I did neglect to mention two other things that I really liked in their service.

  • I loved that there was a dinner immediately after the worship. That seems so inline with the intent of the early church to not just worship as a family, but spend time as one too. I really love the Spirit that seems a part of that idea.
  • I also really liked the fact that all of the worship was lead from up in the balcony. It took the focus off the leaders of the worship and put it on the Lord. I'd like to see Otter Creek try that one of these days.

Anyway, if you have thoughts on this and I know a couple of Redeemer are reading this, I'd like your comments on it.

Also, look for a recap of this last Friday the 13th. Nothing unlucky. I just got to spend the whole day with my little girl, Kinsey.

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