Tuesday, December 13, 2005

My perpetual dance

A couple days ago I offered "A Few Thoughts at Advent". In that post I took to task several mega-churches who have chosen not to have a Christmas morning service. I mounted that high horse of mine again (will no one relieve me of this cursed horse?)and made some slighting comments about congregations who would choose to do such a thing.

I need to step back from some of that today. This seems to be the dance that I am perpetually involved in. Two sharp steps forward, one slow step back. I can only hope that in the end I will be found to have progressed through the steps.

First to acknowledge some personal biases. I'm not a big fan of mega-churches nor of the kind of worship commonly (though not always) found there. Having been raised an Episcopalian I like worship in groups up to a couple hundred, I like vested choirs and much (though not all) of the music of our Hymnal, I love the liturgy of our Book of Common Prayer. Contemporary Christian music is fun but it does not inspire in me a feeling of communing with the divine. My lady wife on the other hand loves it. With that in the background I tend to look a little askance at much of what goes on at places like Willow Creek. That is my failing not theirs and I need to own up to that.

After reading through a discussion on the subject elsewhere I find myself uncomfortable with my previous position. First because I think the attitude ill befits a Christian and second because it makes me a bit of a hypocrite. While I must say that personally I find the idea of "closing" church on Christmas morning inexplicable it doesn't give me the right to look down my nose at my brothers and sisters who have chosen to do so. As pointed out there is a significant body of history of the church that even supports such a decision. Christmas has not been universally celebrated throughout our history. Who am I to say "That's wrong", especially when I am known to resent the hell out of other Christians doing the same thing to me about MY piety? While I can't imagine it I change my stance to:
May God bless them in what they do that day, and
May God open my heart to greater compassion.

And the dance goes on.



'neice said...

The Monday Morning Insight blog did a piece about this and as I was reading the comments, it was amazing how many non0mega churches are also not going to have services. In part because they won't have enough volunteers to help get things done. However, they can't lump all megas together because the one I used to be a part of has 12 "Christmas Eve" services and also a totally different service Christmas morning.

Anonymous said...

I posted this at our church blog:


I hope Leo Frank is wrong about how many Christians think like that. I believe that is the wrong center for one's faith. So if it's not about my feelings, does God feel better about me for showing up for a worship service? I know it's possible to show up and have unforgiveness or idolatry in my heart. I was not raised in a liturgical church but one reason I felt drawn to Anglican and Catholic worship was they told me to get down on my knees for a few minutes, and humble myself. I am not sure if it's important what day I do that, as long as I DO that, whether anyone else is there to do that or not. What a weird battle we have, just like Peter, worrying about what the other guy, the other servant, is doing!