Thursday, April 3, 2014

What is Worship Anyway? - Intro

Do you know how many Christian churches are active in America today? 

A reliable estimate is that there are roughly 350,000 religious congregations in America right now. Only about 12,000 of those are what are considered non-Christian. 

That 12,000 includes your Hindus, your Muslims, Buddhists and Satanists, Wicca, Scientology, and UFO cults, and anything else you can think of, all in just less than 5% of the total. 

Of course, Catholic and Orthodox also take about 24,000 away from the total. That leaves around 314,000 congregations that are considered Protestant or Christian (other).

Within the walls of those 314,000 congregations can be found, should one look, endless programs and activities which churchgoers busy themselves with, from the expected small group Bible studies, worship music concerts, and choir practices, to the not-so-expected, naïve, and somewhat misguided “holy yoga,” to the downright bat-guano-crazy dirt-bike-ramp-jumping-over-pastor-while-he-teaches gimmicks, poorly designed to lure the unchurched, all of whom likely laugh at the downright embarrassing lengths to which pastors will go to attract more tithing members. All that to say this: lots of churches are busy providing lots of programs and activities to lots of congregants, seekers, and reluctant husbands of churchgoing wives.

In light of these statistics one might come to the conclusion that American churches and churchgoers are pretty darn good at worship. Well, one would be wrong if one held the facts concerning how Americans classify engaging in religious activity up against worship as defined and practiced in the Bible. Fact is, good reader, we are failing, both miserably and dismally. I just couldn’t decide on an adverb. They’re both so descriptive and appropriate...

In this series of blog entries I will painstakingly, but humorously, attempt to run a virus scan and perform a cleaning on brains which have inadvertently downloaded a common form of Churchianity malware. I will predict the following three scenarios concerning how this series is received:
  • Some of you will read through the series with your super-smart melon-heads nodding furiously in agreement, shouting “amen!” from time to time, causing your family to once again question your sanity. I applaud you, for you are astute far beyond your peers and perhaps should be writing this series.
  • Others among you will flatly reject what I present in favor of your preconceived beliefs, which have been, like I said, accidentally “downloaded.” I pray for your souls! But seriously, please know I care deeply for you and would gladly buy you a triple grande caramel macchiato if you wanted to hang out with me. I am that desperate for friends.
  • But a few of you – you know who you are… don’t be shy – you will read this series with open eyes and hearts and you will rejoice at the Scriptural truth wave flowing through and washing away the grime of that wishy-washy worship mindset. 
Please know, I implore you, I don’t think I’m some kind of pious Christian guru, gracing you with my amazing understanding of spiritual matters. Everything I know I have learned from others. I will include a list of references and influences at the end of the series, just so you know I’m not making this stuff up.

For this first entry I just wanted to give you some solid statistics and make you aware of the series, in hopes that you will return in two weeks to begin this journey with me. I will, during the series, present you with some more statistics that will likely sadden you and even cause outrage. Some of you with especially tender hearts will weep. I did when I discovered this truth. But for now, let me leave you with an encouraging message from Someone very special...

“All that the Father gives Me will come to Me, and whoever comes to Me I will never cast out.”

Jesus of Nazareth

To continue reading this series, What is Worship Anyway? Part One, click the link.

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