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Source: (consider it) Thread: Glory and Worship
Trin
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I think it's David who says something like "You have no use for burnt offerings, or I would make them.

I feel like the same may well be true of worship sessions.

Why would God require our worship? I can see why he would desire our love, just as an earthly father might desire the love of his children. But why worship? The inescapable truth after all is that we, as lowly worms before the radiance of God, occupy this position because this is where he put us.

Every ratiocination I've ever heard seems to be some variation on "Because He is worthy." or "Because man's purpose is to glorify the Lord." Assertions like these just seem to me like an invitation to just accept it and stop thinking so hard.

Are we made to glorify God? Is God really so interested in his own glorification? Does God view himself as glorious? Is spending time whipping yourself up in to amazement and adoration the highest calling of mankind?

Glory is only glory of course if someone is around to think it. Or does God have objective glory?

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Karl: Liberal Backslider
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I have a sneaking suspicion that many "worship sessions" happen because the people doing them enjoy it.

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Might as well ask the bloody cat.

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Lord Jestocost
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Heaven will be full of sincere, heartfelt worship that needs no prompting. Here on earth, we practice.

(Which is why I prefer quiet, meditative services where the worship is silently ongoing in the proceedings rather than having "a time of worship" that can apparently be switched on or off at will.)

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EtymologicalEvangelical
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quote:
Originally posted by Karl: Liberal Backslider
I have a sneaking suspicion that many "worship sessions" happen because the people doing them enjoy it.

Well, I have a sneaking suspicion that many spectators who cheer when Usain Bolt breaks a world record enjoy doing it.

Why would they not enjoy it?

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You can argue with a man who says, 'Rice is unwholesome': but you neither can nor need argue with a man who says, 'Rice is unwholesome, but I'm not saying this is true'. CS Lewis

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Stejjie
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God doesn't need our worship in the sense that God doesn't need anything from us. And if worship (in the sense of worship services, gathered worship) detracts or distracts us from obeying God's commands to love, to care for the poor and oppressed, to share the Gospel in word and deed - if worship become self-indulgent and there purely for its own sake - then yes, we need to pay heed to those verses and get our priorities straight.

But... I don't think worship is an optional extra, something we can simply dispense with either, because:

1) Worship is [part of] our response to God, to who God is and what God has done for us, esp. in Jesus. It's like telling someone we love that we love them, someone we find beautiful that they're beautiful etc. We don't need to, and if we tell someone we love them but don't do anything to show then our words are meaningless. But the words matter - if I never told my wife or children I loved them, even if I did my best to act out my love, I think this would impact negatively on our relationship.

(Sometimes in Paul's letters, he seems to get so overwhelmed by the wonder of what he's saying about God that he has to break off and put in a doxology, or some words of praise or worship - that's what I'm talking about. Like a sports crowd cheering a goal, or the audience at a gig cheering the end of a song - it's a vocal response to what we've seen and heard).

2) Worship services are the expression of who we are, God's people called to declare the praises of Him who saved us. We're not just people who try to live good lives and do good things (though those things are vital, of course); there's a "vertical" dimension to our lives and our collective life as the church. We do those things because of God and worship is the expression of the "because of God" bit of that.

3) Worship reminds us that it's not just about the things we do, that our relationship with God (in the broadest possible sense of that term) is not just established by the things we do and doesn't depend on the things we do, ultimately, but on what God's done for us. There's a danger that we can assume that God needs us to do good things (just as we can assume that God needs our worship) - worship reminds us that it starts with what God's done for us, as it always does. God comes to us, first, in Jesus: we respond.

4) In fact, worship just reminds us, full stop: we forget too easily all that God has done for us in Jesus; worship puts (or should put that) back in the forefront of our minds.

5) If, as Paul suggests in Romans 12, the whole of our lives should be worship, then that shouldn't include the times we meet together?

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A not particularly-alt-worshippy, fairly mainstream, mildly evangelical, vaguely post-modern-ish Baptist

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Karl: Liberal Backslider
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quote:
Originally posted by EtymologicalEvangelical:
quote:
Originally posted by Karl: Liberal Backslider
I have a sneaking suspicion that many "worship sessions" happen because the people doing them enjoy it.

Well, I have a sneaking suspicion that many spectators who cheer when Usain Bolt breaks a world record enjoy doing it.

Why would they not enjoy it?

Don't know. I don't understand people cheering sports either, tbh.

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Might as well ask the bloody cat.

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Raptor Eye
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I think that the words 'glorify' and 'worship' may not always be helpful. If we particularly appreciate someone eg a musician who is in our opinion especially talented, we might think nothing of waiting outside his or her hotel to catch a glimpse of them, perhaps meet, and express our heartfelt feelings. If others do so too, it somehow affirms and magnifies our own feelings. We don't often use the words worship or glorification in that context, but it's what we're doing. It's something we do for our sake, and also for the sake of the good name of the musician.

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Be still, and know that I am God! Psalm 46.10

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Karl: Liberal Backslider
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quote:
Originally posted by Raptor Eye:
I think that the words 'glorify' and 'worship' may not always be helpful. If we particularly appreciate someone eg a musician who is in our opinion especially talented, we might think nothing of waiting outside his or her hotel to catch a glimpse of them, perhaps meet, and express our heartfelt feelings. If others do so too, it somehow affirms and magnifies our own feelings. We don't often use the words worship or glorification in that context, but it's what we're doing. It's something we do for our sake, and also for the sake of the good name of the musician.

That's interesting. I don't "get" that either. Perhaps my worship gene is broken.

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Might as well ask the bloody cat.

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South Coast Kevin
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quote:
Originally posted by Trin:
I think it's David who says something like "You have no use for burnt offerings, or I would make them.

I feel like the same may well be true of worship sessions.

Totally. Worship, in the sense of gathering together to sing, pray and what have you, is IMO completely for our benefit. God doesn't want or need our songs. He wants our willing obedience or, I think is a better way of putting it, he wants to draw us into the community of the Trinity such that our lives are an irrepressible outpouring of his love, peace and goodness.
quote:
Originally posted by Trin:
Every ratiocination I've ever heard seems to be some variation on "Because He is worthy." or "Because man's purpose is to glorify the Lord." Assertions like these just seem to me like an invitation to just accept it and stop thinking so hard.

Personally, I'm happy with the idea that humanity's purpose is to 'glorify the Lord' but IMO that absolutely doesn't mean singing songs to or about him. ISTM equating 'worship' with 'singing' derives from the Old Testament, when God was present on earth in the Ark of the Covenant and then the Temple, so that's where people went to give God praise, worship and glory. But we're in (post) New Testament times, and now God's presence is in each of his followers; we are the temple of the living God and our worship is wrapped up in how we live our whole lives.

I just wrote a theology course assignment that touched on this (as I see it) misuse of the word 'worship'. PM me if you want a cure for insomnia... [Big Grin]

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My blog - wondering about Christianity in the 21st century, chess, music, politics and other bits and bobs.

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Stejjie
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quote:
Originally posted by South Coast Kevin:
Personally, I'm happy with the idea that humanity's purpose is to 'glorify the Lord' but IMO that absolutely doesn't mean singing songs to or about him. ISTM equating 'worship' with 'singing' derives from the Old Testament, when God was present on earth in the Ark of the Covenant and then the Temple, so that's where people went to give God praise, worship and glory. But we're in (post) New Testament times, and now God's presence is in each of his followers; we are the temple of the living God and our worship is wrapped up in how we live our whole lives.

I'm really not convinced about this distinction between OT and NT views of worship that you draw, SCK. Certainly, the repeated calls of the prophets suggest that this was a trap the people were in danger of falling into.

But that's half the point: it was the OT prophets who were calling the OT people (if I can use that rather clumsy phrase) back to a fuller form of worship! And the reason for that wasn't just that it was a good way to live - it was so that the people of Israel would be a light to the nations, that through them the nations around them would see their god as the true God: they were called to give glory to God through their lives as much as we Christians are. What was the point of the Law if not to enable them to do just that? And yes worship at the Tabernacle/Temple was part of that.

If anything, surely we're called to live out the pattern set forth for us in the OT: to truly be God's people, living out lives of worship (including our gathered worship together), so that others may see in us the love and glory of God made complete in Jesus and be drawn to Him too. It's not a new thing that came in with Jesus: it's what God has always called His people to do, in word and in deed, in what we do in our lives throughout the week and what we do together in our times of gathered worship.

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A not particularly-alt-worshippy, fairly mainstream, mildly evangelical, vaguely post-modern-ish Baptist

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Horseman Bree
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One part of the reason that we gather together is that we can interact with each other, to learn, to support, to offer support, to build community...all sorts of ways that we become a group of people with a common interest.

But we have to DO something to encourage us to gather, and, obviously, that includes reminding ourselves why we are gathering: to pay attention to that which is greater than ourselves. "Worship" is the acknowledgement that we aren't so special on our own.

So we do formal actions, or, in the case of Quakers, formal inactions, which bring us together.

There is the danger that such gatherings will become an end in themselves, as one can tell from some of the minutiae discussed among people whose only purpose is to regulate the activity of others.

But that is not "worship" so much as ingroup power struggle.

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leo
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If you define 'worship' and the singing sessions, some evangelical churches do, then I'd say they are fluff.

If 'worship' is liturgy, especially the eucharist, then I'd say it is like making love.

It's fundamental to being human - as the psychiatrist says in the play Equus, 'If you don't worship. you'll shrink.' (Or 'shrivel' - hasn't remember.)

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Eutychus
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"without worship, you shrink, it's as brutal as that" IIRC.

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Let's remember that we are to build the Kingdom of God, not drive people away - pastor Frank Pomeroy

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Gamaliel
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Indeed.

Although I (seriously) have a lot of respect for the kind of position South Coast Kevin has articulated, I'd see it as a both/and rather than either/or thing.

Yes, we are meant to join the 'eternal dance of the Trinity' and so on and that's meant to radiate out into how we live our lives 24/7 ... but just as we organise our time around set times for particular activities then I believe it's entirely legitimate to set time aside for what we might call 'worship' - whatever we may understand by that term. And I don't think of it as simply singing songs either ...

I would agree with SCK that there is some kind of quantum leap from OT to NT insofar as God is no longer 'external' if we can put it that way - but dwells in us ...

But the higher up the candle I go, the more comfortable I feel with the more Catholic and Orthodox idea of NT worship as a continuation of the Old - albeit in a modified form.

How far do I take this?

Do I see God as somehow 'living' in a tabernacle or aumbry in an Anglo-Catholic church, say, in the same way as he used to be 'contained' (or was thought to be contained) in the Ark?

Well, no, not exactly ... and I'm not sure the Israelites ever seriously believed that God was literally 'confined' in that way - although it is certainly clear that there were locii for the closest encounters - the Tabernacle, the Temple, the Holy of Holies and so on.

Yet I do believe that physical objects can act as conduits for divine grace - human beings for a kick off - but also bread and wine, water - and yes, why not icons or even relics come to that ...

Both/and rather than either/or.

So part of me is as Quaker as you like - everything's a sacrament, God is everywhere - and part of me is increasingly sacramental.

I like the Orthodox thing about God being 'present everywhere and filleth all things.'

I don't see why these aspects have to be in opposition to one another necessarily.

As for the 'glory' aspect ... yes, I've experienced that ... and in all sorts of settings too. But more generally it's a case of getting on and doing whether we are conscious of the glory or not.

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Praise the Lord for He is kind.

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jrw
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The members of the trinity seem to be more interested in each others glory rather than their own, from my understanding of the Bible.

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Alan Cresswell

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quote:
Originally posted by Karl: Liberal Backslider:
I don't "get" that either. Perhaps my worship gene is broken.

Perhaps the analogy is wrong. I don't get the appreciation of a talented musician analogy either, the cheering a new world record is a bit closer to what I can "get".

I'm not sure what gets you excited. But, most of us have something that makes us just go "wow". Maybe a suddenly spectacular sunset, maybe climbing a mountain and the clouds lifting to reveal a stunning view, or a stunning bit of cinematography, an unexpected twist in a novel ... whatever. That something that makes you stop what you were doing and just enjoy the moment.

Worship is like that. It's that point when we see God as spectacular. It's that point when the only thing we can do is go "wow" and enjoy the moment.

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GCabot
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quote:
Originally posted by Horseman Bree:
But we have to DO something to encourage us to gather, and, obviously, that includes reminding ourselves why we are gathering: to pay attention to that which is greater than ourselves. "Worship" is the acknowledgement that we aren't so special on our own.

This is more or less my view. The purpose of regular worship is to maintain our contact with the Divine. It reinforces the core tenants of our belief and serves as a reminder of our relationship with God and His will for us.

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The child that is born unto us is more than a prophet; for this is he of whom the Savior saith: "Among them that are born of woman, there hath not risen one greater than John the Baptist."

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Martin60
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So I didn't glorify and worship God in ALL I did the bathroom just now? Inspired by reading Thomas Merton on the dunny? And I won't be glorifying and worshipping God at work today?

We certainly massively overstate what we do in liturgy and understate what we do when watching TV.

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Love wins

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Alan Cresswell

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Of course you will be worshipping God at work (one might add something about doing your work to the best of your ability, for the benefit of others, with care and concern for the needs of your co-workers etc), even on the dunny - not so sure about the Merton though [Razz]

But, there is also a valid place for specific times and places set aside for worship. First, we're Christians, part of a community called the Church who together are the family and body of Christ, a living temple and all that jazz. It is only right that our worship be more than individual, but also communal. Second, we're imperfect human beings. We can so easily lose sight of God, we forget him, the cares and worries of the world grow up like weeds and choke us. We need to regularly remind ourselves of God, what he has done, to cut back the weeds so we can grow and bear fruit 30, 60, 100 times what was sown (no guesses who's preparing a sermon on the parable of the sower), we need to have our eyes opened. When that happens, when we see afresh who God is and what he has done for us, we will automatically respond with that "wow" and worship.

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Don't cling to a mistake just because you spent a lot of time making it.

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Karl: Liberal Backslider
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quote:
Originally posted by Alan Cresswell:
quote:
Originally posted by Karl: Liberal Backslider:
I don't "get" that either. Perhaps my worship gene is broken.

Perhaps the analogy is wrong. I don't get the appreciation of a talented musician analogy either, the cheering a new world record is a bit closer to what I can "get".

I'm not sure what gets you excited. But, most of us have something that makes us just go "wow". Maybe a suddenly spectacular sunset, maybe climbing a mountain and the clouds lifting to reveal a stunning view, or a stunning bit of cinematography, an unexpected twist in a novel ... whatever. That something that makes you stop what you were doing and just enjoy the moment.

Worship is like that. It's that point when we see God as spectacular. It's that point when the only thing we can do is go "wow" and enjoy the moment.

Ah. That's where I struggle. I'm too afraid that God really is like some people on here insist he is (judgemental, genocidal etc.) to dare to see him as spectacular.

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Might as well ask the bloody cat.

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Alan Cresswell

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There's a possibility that God is spectacularly judgemental and genocidal. I suppose that observation doesn't help though.

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Don't cling to a mistake just because you spent a lot of time making it.

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Karl: Liberal Backslider
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quote:
Originally posted by Alan Cresswell:
There's a possibility that God is spectacularly judgemental and genocidal. I suppose that observation doesn't help though.

Not really. To use your analogy of an amazing view, a view of a giant midden might be spectacular, but I doubt you'd consider the response to it to be worship.

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Might as well ask the bloody cat.

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Alan Cresswell

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# 31

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On a probably more constructive note. Opening our eyes to see God is a risk. He will be different from our imaginations, bigger than we thought. We take the risk of finding him too uncomfortable, too different, too remote, too close. We run the risk of finding him as our judge, a genocidal maniac.

We could keep our eyes closed and not see God. But, we then run the risk of not seeing him as our loving parent much much more than our parents, a friend who walks with us through the troubles of life more reliable and supportive than any friend we have, a comforter when we need a shoulder to cry on who will be there more than any friend ever can.

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Don't cling to a mistake just because you spent a lot of time making it.

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Gamaliel
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If God is involved with all of life then why shouldn't an awed response to a giant midden be appropriate?

However we cut it, we are 'creaturely' creatures. It's no accident, for instance, that many of the rhythms and metres found in poetry correspond to our breathing and walking patterns and that beats in music and so on tie in with our heart-beats and what have you.

It's best not to make too strong a dichotomy between the physical and the spiritual in my view.

My wife's quite musical so she can 'tell' and 'explain' why particular musical forms evoke particular emotions and effects. That doesn't detract from the sense of mystery and the sublime.

I'm not suggesting that we should be struck by a sense of awe and wonder everytime we gather for formal worship - however that's done.

I attended a URC service last Sunday and there precious little sense of mystery and the numinous, but there was certainly a sense of a purposeful, gathered community which took its faith seriously.

Somewhere else they may have been a sense of mystery and the numinous but little sense of being a purposeful, gathered community ... these things vary. We only get glimpses.

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Let us with a gladsome mind
Praise the Lord for He is kind.

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Alan Cresswell

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# 31

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quote:
Originally posted by Gamaliel:
If God is involved with all of life then why shouldn't an awed response to a giant midden be appropriate?

If we follow the logic of if God could have a foolish thought it would be wiser than anything humanity has thought then even Gods midden pile would be more wonderful than anything we've ever experienced.

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Don't cling to a mistake just because you spent a lot of time making it.

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Stejjie
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quote:
Originally posted by leo:
If you define 'worship' and the singing sessions, some evangelical churches do, then I'd say they are fluff.

If 'worship' is liturgy, especially the eucharist, then I'd say it is like making love.

The long, singing, "times of worship" don't do much for me (been there, done that, normally failed to get caught up in it like it seems you're supposed to) - but I suppose that is their liturgy, their encounter with God, what they consider to be the appropriate means of worshipping God. I would guess they might see capital-L-Liturgy as wordy, lacking the spontaneity that the Spirit brings. Which, again, isn't to say that they're right (I have have the occasional liturgical tendency myself, though I think I'll be alright in the end [Razz] ), just that I suspect there's a whole lot more subjectivity in this than we allow for.

I don't think it's just evangelicals, either - my understanding is that this has crossed over into some strands of evangelicalism from charismatic worship, though I may be wrong in that.

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A not particularly-alt-worshippy, fairly mainstream, mildly evangelical, vaguely post-modern-ish Baptist

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Karl: Liberal Backslider
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# 76

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quote:
Originally posted by Alan Cresswell:
quote:
Originally posted by Gamaliel:
If God is involved with all of life then why shouldn't an awed response to a giant midden be appropriate?

If we follow the logic of if God could have a foolish thought it would be wiser than anything humanity has thought then even Gods midden pile would be more wonderful than anything we've ever experienced.
And yet some people paint pictures of middens that are most certainly not "more wonderful than anything I've experienced".

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Boogie

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quote:
Originally posted by Stejjie:
The long, singing, "times of worship" don't do much for me (been there, done that, normally failed to get caught up in it like it seems you're supposed to) - but I suppose that is their liturgy, their encounter with God, what they consider to be the appropriate means of worshipping God.

I have been there, done that and got very much caught up in the 'worship' and very good for the soul it was too! But I now don't believe it was 'of God' or giving God any glory. I think we were simply stirring up pleasant psychological/neurological/emotional/chemical reactions. Cheaper and less harmful than alcohol, but not really much to do with God when it comes down to it imo.

But I think it's good for us to forget ourselves completely and look outwards for a while. It's not service - but it does build us up for service.

Some people do this with meditation, some with wonderful soaring choir music, some with traditional liturgy and some with crappy choruses. None of it gives glory to God, in my view, but it does us good - and if we are psychologically, socially, neurologically, emotionally and chemically healthy we are going to be much fitter for the real work of the Kingdom - service to others.

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Albertus
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quote:
Originally posted by Karl: Liberal Backslider:
quote:
Originally posted by Alan Cresswell:
There's a possibility that God is spectacularly judgemental and genocidal. I suppose that observation doesn't help though.

Not really. To use your analogy of an amazing view, a view of a giant midden might be spectacular, but I doubt you'd consider the response to it to be worship.
Dunno. If, as Frank Weston (or whoever it was) said, the theology of the Incarnation can be expressed in a concern with drains, why might not a well-constructed and hygienic cesspit or rubbish tip inspire a worshipful response?

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Karl: Liberal Backslider
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quote:
Originally posted by Albertus:
quote:
Originally posted by Karl: Liberal Backslider:
quote:
Originally posted by Alan Cresswell:
There's a possibility that God is spectacularly judgemental and genocidal. I suppose that observation doesn't help though.

Not really. To use your analogy of an amazing view, a view of a giant midden might be spectacular, but I doubt you'd consider the response to it to be worship.
Dunno. If, as Frank Weston (or whoever it was) said, the theology of the Incarnation can be expressed in a concern with drains, why might not a well-constructed and hygienic cesspit or rubbish tip inspire a worshipful response?
That "Sploink" noise? It's the analogy snapping as it is stretched too far.

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Gamaliel
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One could argue that chemical reactions, feelings of awe etc etc do have something to do with God as this is how he has 'wired' us ... and used evolutionary responses in the process ...

[Biased]

So, in that respect all worship activity is 'human' activity because it is all a confection, a construction.

What used to nark me at times in my full-on charismatic evangelical days - and yes, I used to go with the flow, I used to get caught-up in the atmosphere and emotion and so on - was the sometimes tacit assumption that we were all somehow collectively caught up in the divine afflatus - as though we were sock-puppets suddenly filled up with divine air - if you like.

Sure, I understand the pneumatology of all that but I rather think that what was going on in practice was somewhat different ... it was a kind of collective crowd thing - rather as one sometimes gets at musical events, concerts, theatrical performances or comedy shows or sporting fixtures - a collective sense of euphoria and well-being.

That doesn't mean that it's not good for the soul. All these things operate at a 'soul level' - be it stained glass, iconography and chant or the collective repetition of modern worship songs and choruses.

Where the difference lies, it seems to me, is that those who are affected by liturgy and ceremonial etc tend to be aware of what's going on - where the 'joins' are and how the thing works - and are less likely to think of themselves of being somehow caught up by the Spirit and so on - although they'd certainly claim that God the Holy Spirit was active and working through what they were doing.

The Orthodox, for instance, certainly believe that their Liturgy is pneumatic and is Spirit-bearing. As a 'charismatic', I'd certainly go along with that. I've experienced what they mean ... but I'd also submit that personality, temperament, the ability to engage closely or concentrate (as one might in writing a poem, creating an artwork or piece of music) comes into it too.

I've heard poets as well as mystics talking about 'giving attention' and the level of attention being akin to prayer - that prayer IS attentiveness - if that's the right term.

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Boogie

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quote:
Originally posted by Gamaliel:
One could argue that chemical reactions, feelings of awe etc etc do have something to do with God as this is how he has 'wired' us ... and used evolutionary responses in the process ...

[Biased]

Nah - too many harmful things give the same effect.

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South Coast Kevin
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quote:
Originally posted by Boogie:
Some people do this [stirring up pleasant psychological/neurological/emotional/chemical reactions] with meditation, some with wonderful soaring choir music, some with traditional liturgy and some with crappy choruses. None of it gives glory to God, in my view, but it does us good - and if we are psychologically, socially, neurologically, emotionally and chemically healthy we are going to be much fitter for the real work of the Kingdom - service to others.

I agree, pretty much. My big concern, though, is that it's oh so easy for the 'warm and fuzzy' feelings to become the goal, instead of that fitness for the real work of the Kingdom.

This is really why I think using the word 'worship' to mean these communal activities that we're talking about here is so misleading and unhelpful; they divert our focus and attention away from what is really central (love of God, transformation into his likeness, and service to others) and on to matters which are of distinctly secondary importance.

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leo
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quote:
Originally posted by Albertus:
quote:
Originally posted by Karl: Liberal Backslider:
quote:
Originally posted by Alan Cresswell:
There's a possibility that God is spectacularly judgemental and genocidal. I suppose that observation doesn't help though.

Not really. To use your analogy of an amazing view, a view of a giant midden might be spectacular, but I doubt you'd consider the response to it to be worship.
Dunno. If, as Frank Weston (or whoever it was) said, the theology of the Incarnation can be expressed in a concern with drains, why might not a well-constructed and hygienic cesspit or rubbish tip inspire a worshipful response?
Fr. Dolling of S. Agatha's Langport.

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Gamaliel
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So, South Coast Kevin, the $64,000 question is, how DO we focus on those things that are of first - rather than secondary importance?

What do we need to do to ensure that we focus on those?

I'd be interested in practical suggestions, not because I want to pick a fight - but because I think we'd all find that these things are easier said than done.

Which doesn't mean that we shouldn't attempt them, of course.

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Albertus
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Thanks for that, leo.

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Raptor Eye
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quote:
Originally posted by South Coast Kevin:
I agree, pretty much. My big concern, though, is that it's oh so easy for the 'warm and fuzzy' feelings to become the goal, instead of that fitness for the real work of the Kingdom.

This is really why I think using the word 'worship' to mean these communal activities that we're talking about here is so misleading and unhelpful; they divert our focus and attention away from what is really central (love of God, transformation into his likeness, and service to others) and on to matters which are of distinctly secondary importance.

While I agree that it can end up being about us rather than about God if we're not careful, worship is both/and all the way imv:

In church services it's both expressing our adoration of God as we focus on Christ, and enjoying do so.

Worship in the context of the Christian faith is about both gathering together to focus on Christ and on going out to share God's love with others; about both our being built up and about our building others up in Christ; about both the quiet flame of the Holy Spirit living in us and about allowing the lively Holy Spirit free reign to do God's will.

God is both the powerful almighty transcendent Creator of the universe who inspires awe and wonder, and the intimate immanent loving Father who inspires kindness and compassion.

God wants both our recognition of & service to him, and our fulfilment individually and communally. It's both for God's sake and for ours.

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Trin
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quote:
Originally posted by Stejjie:
Worship is [part of] our response to God, to who God is and what God has done for us, esp. in Jesus.

But wasn't God Himself the author and engineer of the whole situation where we find ourselves in need of salvation?

We are born in to sin. We are saved. I'm glad to be saved from hell but I've realised that God has saved me from the wrath of Himself, for crimes I could not avoid committing, which leaves me confused, at the moment, more than thankful and ready to praise Him.

(Thus any additional praise I'm called to give seems more for praise's sake than as a response to anything I feel because of what God has done for me, which is what prompted the initial question.)

[ 30. May 2014, 09:22: Message edited by: Trin ]

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South Coast Kevin
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quote:
Originally posted by Raptor Eye:
In church services it's both expressing our adoration of God as we focus on Christ, and enjoying do so.

I think we need to look closely at why, in the New Testament, the early Christians gathered together. What apparently happened at those meetings and what are the stated purposes for meeting together? And I see far more about mutual encouragement and equipping for service than I do about expressing our adoration of God.
quote:
Originally posted by Raptor Eye:
Worship in the context of the Christian faith is about both gathering together to focus on Christ and on going out to share God's love with others; about both our being built up and about our building others up in Christ; about both the quiet flame of the Holy Spirit living in us and about allowing the lively Holy Spirit free reign to do God's will.

I agree with this, on the whole, but I just think calling it 'worship' is misleading and unhelpful. ISTM the New Testament defines worship of God as the firm intention and effort to follow him, meaning (for us now, who obviously can't literally follow Jesus like his first disciples could) seeking to live according to his pattern and example, obeying his instructions and bringing honour to God in everything we do.

Using the word 'worship' to describe church services leads pretty much inevitably, I suspect, to the sense that God is with us in church services in a way that he is not in all the rest of life. And also that church services are an end in themselves, for they are where we do our glorifying and praising of God, where we 'worship' him. I think really we 'worship' God (or don't worship him!) by the way we are and live once we leave the church service - 'Go, now is the time to worship' rather than 'Come, now is the time to worship'.
quote:
Originally posted by Trin:
But wasn't God Himself the author and engineer of the whole situation where we find ourselves in need of salvation?

On one level, I suppose yes he was. But if God created people in order to share his love with us, then that inevitably carries the risk of that love being spurned. Otherwise it wouldn't be love, it would be programmed obedience!
quote:
Originally posted by Trin:
We are born in to sin. We are saved. I'm glad to be saved from hell but I've realised that God has saved me from the wrath of Himself, for crimes I could not avoid committing, which leaves me confused, at the moment, more than thankful and ready to praise Him.

Other explanations of why Jesus died and rose from the dead are available... (e.g. start here)

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Gamaliel
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quote:
Originally posted by South Coast Kevin:

I think we need to look closely at why, in the New Testament, the early Christians gathered together. What apparently happened at those meetings and what are the stated purposes for meeting together? And I see far more about mutual encouragement and equipping for service than I do about expressing our adoration of God.

Not sure I captured that quote ... but still ...

From memory, it seems that what the early Christians did when they gathered involved a range of things - teaching, prayer, fellowship, the 'breaking of bread' - all of which strike me are both/and rather than either/or things.

They did meet for mutual encouragement, but that wasn't at the expense of what one might call 'adoration of God' - and adoration of God doesn't necessarily mean standing in wrapt attention of course.

Equally, if they met to worship God this wasn't at the expense of mutual encouragement.

I'd say that all these things constituted worship - teaching, prayers, the eucharist/Lord's supper/communion, encouraging one another in the faith ...

The whole kit and kaboodle.

So we've got to be careful not to get into false dichotomies here.

It's clear from the earliest references to Christian practice outwith the NT that the early Christians shared the eucharist in some way and that they prayed. So one would expect elements of each at gatherings.

How this works out in practice today is a moot point, I suppose, but I don't see gatherings of Christians as necessarily having to be discussion/discipleship type meetings - although these clearly have a role.

I've said this before, but it strikes me that all churches - of whatever stripe - have mechanisms for small group discussions, for dealing with spiritual direction/progress etc - whether these are done in a house-group type of way or in a one-to-one context or in retreat houses or whatever else.

So I don't see there as being a particularly prescriptive NT model for how any of this is achieved.

What encouraging and 'equipping' one another is going to look like it going to vary according to a whole range of factors - tradition, culture, individual temperament, what our learning styles are - kinaesthetic, cognitive etc etc.

[no, you didn't: fixed code]

[ 30. May 2014, 12:56: Message edited by: Eutychus ]

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Gamaliel
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Apologies for the double-post. I'm reminded of Mother Maria of Paris, Maria Skobtsova -

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mother_Maria

She was been canonised for her work helping Jewish people to escape deportation from Nazi occupied Paris.

She once famously remarked that God wouldn't judge us on how many 'prostrations' we'd made or how many church services we'd attended but on the extent we'd fed the hungry, clothed the naked, tended the sick and visited the prisoner ...

'That is all we will be asked,' she said.

The late Metropolitan Anthony Bloom once reminisced how he used to see her sat in Parisian cafes with a cup of coffee - or something stronger - and a cigarette in her hand. He confessed to having judged her as somewhat lax and worldly in her religious duties.

Apparently, she would often absent herself from the Divine Liturgy to take food to the poor.

So, how did Mother Maria glorify God? By participating in the formal worship and liturgy of the Orthodox Church or by taking food and clothing to the poor whilst those services were in progress?

Of course, she could have glorified God in both - but it's clearly for the latter and her subsequent actions in alleviating suffering in the face of Nazi oppression that is the reason for her being recognised as a Saint by the Orthodox and as a 'righteous Gentile' by the Jews ...

The point, of course, is that God is glorified by all our works and service in his name and not simply by formal gatherings for worship and so on.

There's a place for that, of course, but it's not the be-all and end-all. I think we'd all agree on that.

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Raptor Eye
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quote:
Originally posted by South Coast Kevin:
I think we need to look closely at why, in the New Testament, the early Christians gathered together. What apparently happened at those meetings and what are the stated purposes for meeting together? And I see far more about mutual encouragement and equipping for service than I do about expressing our adoration of God.

Jesus sang hymns with the disciples, prayed with the disciples, and taught them through words and action. All of this worshipped and glorified God, it showed them God. They lived and ate together, sharing everything in common, in loving relationship. This is what gave them mutual encouragement and equipped them for service imv, it helped them to follow the teaching and leadership. They spent time together apart from the crowds as well as welcoming the crowds who were interested and showing them loving kindness, feeding and caring for them.

The early church followed the same pattern, as you have indicated and on which we agree, so that everything they did worshipped and honoured God. The early church clearly needed the leadership of those called into what we might now call the priestly function, the leadership or shepherding eg of Peter, Paul et al. They in turn needed the prayers of the church, we're told they prayed fervently when gathered together.

quote:

Using the word 'worship' to describe church services leads pretty much inevitably, I suspect, to the sense that God is with us in church services in a way that he is not in all the rest of life. And also that church services are an end in themselves, for they are where we do our glorifying and praising of God, where we 'worship' him. I think really we 'worship' God (or don't worship him!) by the way we are and live once we leave the church service - 'Go, now is the time to worship' rather than 'Come, now is the time to worship'.

While I too have reservations about the word 'worship' as it is so misunderstood in general, I still think that it's both/and, the whole kit and caboodle as Gamaliel said. It could be that Jesus is with us when two or three are gathered in his name in another dimension of relationship, so that as well as individually we communally relate with God through Christ. I in you and you in me uses the plural you, afaik.

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South Coast Kevin
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quote:
Originally posted by Raptor Eye:
It could be that Jesus is with us when two or three are gathered in his name in another dimension of relationship, so that as well as individually we communally relate with God through Christ. I in you and you in me uses the plural you, afaik.

Yeah, I'm cool with all of that. But the 'where two or three are gathered in my name' doesn't just apply to official church services, ISTM (not sure whether you were implying that but I think it's worth stressing regardless). I'd say I'm worshipping God when I meet with my Christian friend for a chat just as much as when I go to a church service.

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Gamaliel
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I don't think anyone is saying otherwise, South Coast Kevin, I've yet to meet anyone who seriously thinks that 'worship' - in the full sense - is restricted or limited purely to whatever goes on in church services on a Sunday morning.

You can attend church services/meetings or gatherings of whatever type and kind and tradition - and also have coffee with your friend and find some kind of spiritual dimension or fellowship in that - I don't think anyone is suggesting otherwise.

[Confused]

To draw an analogy from a different tradition, it's bit like those more full-on Protestants who say that RCs and Orthodox shouldn't venerate Mary and the Saints because it detracts from the praise and glory due to Christ - as though there's only so much veneration to go round and we have to use it sparingly ...

[Biased]

I honestly don't know anybody, be they Protestant, Catholic, Orthodox, charismatic, non-charismatic, evangelical or non-evangelical who seriously believes that 'worship' is restricted to whatever happens for an hour or so on a Sunday morning.

Show me someone who does. I bet there isn't anyone here on the Ship who believes that.

Show them to me. Name names.

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Eutychus
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hosting/

quote:
Originally posted by Gamaliel:
Show me someone who does. I bet there isn't anyone here on the Ship who believes that.

Show them to me. Name names.

I strongly advise anyone against doing so.

Gamaliel, Purgatory is here for individual posters to state their own positions and interact with the views expressed by others, not for us all to take a stab at summarising what we think other posters might think (except for the purposes of reformulation to the individual in question to check for comprehension).

If you could grasp that, I think the number of brawls you'd get tangled up in (and hostly warnings you'd get) would plummet overnight.

If someone steps up and says (in response to your question) "well, I believe that", that's fine; you can then interact with what they actually say - not with what someone else thinks they might say.

Guessing what others might think and all but putting words into their mouths, however, is instant grounds for needless misunderstanding and constitutes jerkdom. Anyone doing so is basically pre-empting the right of that other person to speak for themselves.

I sincerely hope that hostly meta-comment will make sense to you.

/hosting

[edited for further clarity. Hopefully]

[ 30. May 2014, 19:37: Message edited by: Eutychus ]

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South Coast Kevin
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quote:
Originally posted by Gamaliel:
I don't think anyone is saying otherwise, South Coast Kevin, I've yet to meet anyone who seriously thinks that 'worship' - in the full sense - is restricted or limited purely to whatever goes on in church services on a Sunday morning.

You can attend church services/meetings or gatherings of whatever type and kind and tradition - and also have coffee with your friend and find some kind of spiritual dimension or fellowship in that - I don't think anyone is suggesting otherwise.

Yet most Christians refer to the official church gathering / service / meeting as 'worship', saying things like 'I'm going to the worship service' or 'we meet together to worship God'. I just think such use of the word carries the unhelpful implication that other activities are not worship, and thus that those other activities are slightly less important. Because what could be more important than worshipping God?

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Gamaliel
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Sure it makes sense - but I was being rhetorical - I didn't mean 'Name names' literally. I wasn't literally asking SCK to provide a list.

It's probably down to my posting style as much as anything else - and I apologise for that. But I tend to post rather hyperbolically. I'll make an 'out there' or outrageous statement and then gradually work my way back from it to a more balanced position.

That's what I was doing in this instance and I wasn't intending to be aggressive or to pick a fight with SCK necessarily.

I s'pose I do over-react at times and in this instance I was doing so to his assertion that use of the term 'worship' necessarily leads to people thinking that the term only covers what goes on during Sunday gatherings or church services.

I challenged that in a rather tongue-in-cheek fashion. Asking rhetorical questions. I can see, having re-read my post, how that could have come across aggressively. I apologise for that.

I do like to sword-fence and enjoy the cut-and-thrust of debate but sometimes I think I use a cudgel rather than a rapier.

I apologise for that.

I will happily withdraw myself for a while if that would help. I mean no offence and I hope none was taken.

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Gamaliel
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Hopefully responding in a more measured way following the Hostly warning ...

quote:
Yet most Christians refer to the official church gathering / service / meeting as 'worship', saying things like 'I'm going to the worship service' or 'we meet together to worship God'. I just think such use of the word carries the unhelpful implication that other activities are not worship, and thus that those other activities are slightly less important. Because what could be more important than worshipping God?

Yes, they do refer to these gatherings in those terms. Personally, I don't have an issue with that because I don't see how it necessarily implies that other activities aren't important or don't constitute worship in some wider sense.

In the same way that whilst I might regard the eucharist as a 'sacrament' it doesn't mean that I don't regard other things as having a 'sacramental' quality nor that the whole of life isn't sacramental in some way.

I would suggest that having some things set aside as 'sacraments' helps us in fact to recognise the sacramental quality of other things.

In the same way, I would suggest that having part of one's day set aside for 'worship' (or personal devotions or call it what you will) or part of one's week set aside for that can help develop an appreciation of the rest of the time as holy too.

'If nothing is sacred then nothing is sacred.'

I can't speak for anyone else but if I were to refer to a church gathering or service as a 'time of worship' (and I generally don't, but let's say for sake of discussion that I do) then I wouldn't be using that time to imply that going to work or spending time with my wife and kids were somehow secondary or less important activities.

I was simply observing - in a rather confrontational way I admit - that I don't really know anyone who DOES think in the way you are suggesting they think. But I might be wrong. I might be leading a sheltered life.

Whatever the case, apologies for being stroppy ...

[Votive]

[code]

[ 30. May 2014, 22:02: Message edited by: Eutychus ]

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Let us with a gladsome mind
Praise the Lord for He is kind.

http://philthebard.blogspot.com

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Jengie jon

Semper Reformanda
# 273

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Maybe some good old Nonconformist language usage may help. There are three types of meeting that are part of congregational life:

  • Meeting for worship
  • Meeting for fellowship
  • Meeting for business

Does that mean when I go to the bank I am not doing business and when I have a coffee with a friend I am not having fellowship. These are obviously silly statements. So why is the usage of "worship" be any different?

Jengie

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"To violate a persons ability to distinguish fact from fantasy is the epistemological equivalent of rape." Noretta Koertge

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Posts: 20894 | From: city of steel, butterflies and rainbows | Registered: May 2001  |  IP: Logged
Eutychus
From the edge
# 3081

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hosting/
quote:
Originally posted by Gamaliel:
Sure it makes sense - but I was being rhetorical - I didn't mean 'Name names' literally. I wasn't literally asking SCK to provide a list.

I can see nothing at all in that part of your post to support the assertion that you "didn't mean" it, that it was rhetorical, or that nobody should have taken you at your word.

quote:
It's probably down to my posting style as much as anything else - and I apologise for that. But I tend to post rather hyperbolically. I'll make an 'out there' or outrageous statement and then gradually work my way back from it to a more balanced position.
This is always your excuse in this sort of situation. I say "excuse", because Commandment Two says

quote:
Read the words you've written before you post them. Once they're out there, you can't take them back.
It does not say, "once they're out there, you can see whether other people are stupid enough to break the Commandments by taking you at your word, create disruption, and then claim you never really meant your comments, and apologise before starting all over again."

Staying onboard requires you to keep that and the other Commandments, just like everyone else.

Deliberately assuming a position that you don't seriously hold, with no indication that you are not serious, might be counted as trolling. Your individual debating style does not allow you to simply pretend anything you previously posted didn't exist or wasn't supposed to be understood according to its plain meaning.

quote:
I will happily withdraw myself for a while if that would help. I mean no offence and I hope none was taken.
What you do is up to you, but you should realise that your recent history means you may not get a choice in the withdrawing; the admins may decide it for you. This is not the hosts' call, but from experience I can tell you that repeatedly crossing the line is not a good place to be in.

Any more of this discussion belongs in the Styx.

/hosting

(I personally would be sorry to lose you from the Ship, which is why I wish you'd absorb some of what I'm saying in my hostly capacity).

[edited for MORE clarity]

[ 30. May 2014, 22:21: Message edited by: Eutychus ]

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Let's remember that we are to build the Kingdom of God, not drive people away - pastor Frank Pomeroy

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