July 1, 2012 Throwing Out the Baby with the Bathwater

Posted on July 1, 2012 at 11:47 am by heatherscherer Comments Off on July 1, 2012 Throwing Out the Baby with the Bathwater

I had a conversation with a group of young adults this week where I used this old fashioned phrase “throwing out the baby with the bathwater.” I used it in reference to the arguments about worship-traditional versus contemporary. Traditional worship connects us to music, ritual and people who have been part of the church since Jesus first offered the last supper or washed the disciples feet. My very musical, pretty hip cousin once articulated that the reason he likes hymns is that they feel connected to the people of the 14th century and they help him be part of something bigger than this time and this place. I had never considered this before and hadn’t really appreciated that connection to the early church. (Which is surprising considering how much I love history.)
I once read a story about a man who suffered a tragedy and in his shock found that his only words were that of the Apostles Creed. (The Apostles Creed is an early statement of what people believe in the Christian tradition.) He repeated them over and over again until he found the place where he could face his great loss. His comfort came from the consistency of the beliefs, from the familiar and the ritual of the words. People from the Catholic tradition advocate for the use of the rosary beads as steps in prayer that help them focus and remember what they want to pray for. My best friend in high school let me accompany her to the Catholic church for Christmas Eve midnight mass and I always found it fascinating and beautiful. I didn’t know what all was going on around me but I recognized the sacredness in what they were doing.
But, as someone who was raised in a church that was very traditional, when I went to youth events or to church camp I was amazed at how the contemporary music moved my soul and helped me rejoice in my faith. I found them energizing and charging of my spiritual battery. I still feel that way about many of the praise and worship songs this day. As I continue to visit churches in the area, I am amazed at how contemporary we have gone. I went to a church today that had a light show with the music and it was so loud that it vibrated my chest. It was energetic and very well done but it felt a lot like a concert to me. I watched the music more than participated and I even knew the songs. The sermon was excellent and the people responded to the service. It is a growing congregation with a heart for Jesus but wasn’t a place I could make my church home. So I think there has to be a way we can have some ritual, hang a cross in our worship space and still be contemporary and relevant in what we are doing. We have to find a way to hold on to the baby and get rid of the bathwater. I am open to ideas and willing to take the risk of finding out if it can be done.Facebooktwitterby feather

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