Put Your Money Where Your Mouth Is

An interesting post about how our monetary/fiscal habits affect our worship life.

From: http://pastoralmeanderings.blogspot.com/2012/09/put-your-money-where-your-mouth-is.html

Please note:

"...I am suggesting that we spend MORE on worship.
It is the source from which all our parish life flows and it is the summit to which all our live [sic] together points.
I believe that part of the reason we have so few organists is that we do not esteem their craft highly,
we pay them poorly, and we treat them abysmally...why is it that we expect screw ups or embarrassments
and have grown to expect a comedy of errors on Sunday morning? Why is it that we put cheap imitation instruments into service
to lead the people in the highest calling of music -- the praise of God and the service of the Word?
Why is it that we think casual and reverent can co-exist and an usher wearing a beer t-shirt or a
young woman in suggestive top and short shorts are appropriate for the House of the Lord?
When we give worship the attention, the resources, and the priority it deserves, the results
will show forth in the life of the Church. One thing Americans cannot abide is something done poorly. Surely the Church deserves better than the YouTube antics of class clowns!"

The areas that resonate with me the most in this passage:

  • we don't esteem the craft of the organist very highly, which feeds into:
  • cheap imitation instruments (played by enthusiastic (!), but amateurish folks)
  • the decline of reverence

Taken as a whole, the article (correctly) describes the modern church as being more of a social club, with inoffensive music, lots of activities ("outreach") and so on. Get volunteers to hack their way through easy music while renovating the coffee bar.

First, I'm glad there are opportunities at church for people to be social. In an increasingly depersonalized world controlled by mobile devices, the Internet, videogames, and television, there is a tremendous gap in our society--a gap between people. Worse, there's a lot of sketpicism aimed at official institutions or religious bodies, which exacerbates the situation.

Second, I'm disappointed that the post-modern church has chosen in many cases to abandon the "marks of the church" (preaching the Word and administering the Sacraments) in favor of the soft and rounded world of providing social/outreach activities.

If we preach Christ Crucified in all things (and relegate the social activities (however meritorious) to the back burner--still on the stove, but on the back nonetheless) I think there's a huge amount of good we can do. It does not need to be an either-or. What a challenge! A church that holds to a reverential Liturgy, first-class Music, yet finds opportunities to provide uplifting social opportunities for those in need.