March 15, 2003
Someone sent me an article from my local paper yesterday heralding today’s new and increasingly "necessary" high tech worship facility. You see – being one of the wealthiest counties in America affords cutting-edge churches here a credit line capable of helping God in ways that rural and underprivileged fellowships with their quaint little pews, plates and pianos simply cannot. Since we don't have that marvelous pillar of fire and smoke to draw and awe the crowds like the tribe of Israel, the more fashionable fellowships of faith and flair in and around Williamson county decided it was time to put their noggins and nickels together and pump up the jams around the old church house so us entertainment junkies wouldn't get bored and take our tithes and offerings to Las Vegas for the weekend.
Churches combine ancient message, new technology http://www.tennessean.com/local/archives/03/03/29878129.shtml ?Element_ID=29878129
You'd think a retired musician like myself, who spent a lifetime seeking fortune and fame on the stage and in the studio would want the best performance and production that money could buy for his church, right? You'd think that Mr. Been There Done That would be for ANYTHING that would, as we used to say in the business, "put butts in the seats", right? It’s for Jesus now, so it's OK, right? WRONG!
Am I saying that we should give the Lord something less than our best? No, I'm saying that God has a different definition for the word. He’s not trendy, shallow and given to appetite and excess like His children. We cheer and applaud "awesome" singers on Sunday morning that hit every note and draw every tear but the Lord looks at their heart to see if their faith is real or just a performance. Put alongside them a less than incredible voice that lives out every faithful word they wail and you'll gain a divine understanding of the term "best".
"Every way of a man is right in his own eyes: but the LORD pondereth the hearts." - Proverbs 21:2
Am I saying that big sound systems and video screens are of the devil? No, what I'm saying is that many churches today are acting as if big sound systems and video screens are required to hear the "still small voice" of God and experience His presence. You see – when your god is too small it becomes necessary to amplify and enlarge him to hold a jaded audience’s attention.
Am I saying that making your church attractive is sinful and that state-of-the-art church buildings are Temples of Doom? No, I’m saying that many formerly humble fellowships have become like Michael Jackson – butchering themselves and their credibility with millions of dollars in frivolous makeovers, renovations and reinventions in a desperate attempt to appear beautiful, successful and legitimate to a skeptical world only to become more hideous and offensive with each transformation.
Here we so piously ridicule a fallen pop star that brazenly redefines traditional morality for his own ends and builds an amusement park in his yard to lure and entice children, filling it and the mansion on it with everything their hearts could possibly desire. And yet we, in our high-mindedness and hypocrisy fail to see the very same tools and tactics at work in our own ecclesiastical "Neverlands" where we cross the line of decency every day in the name of "love and compassion" in order to build and maintain ungodly lifestyles and relationships.
"Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye make clean the outside of the cup and of the platter, but within they are full of extortion and excess." - Matthew 23:25
© 2003 Paul Proctor - All Rights Reserved
Paul Proctor, a rural resident of the Volunteer state and seasoned veteran of the country music industry, retired from showbiz in the late 1990's to dedicate himself to addressing important social issues from a distinctly biblical perspective. As a freelance writer and regular columnist for NewsWithViews.com, he extols the wisdom and truths of scripture through commentary and insight on cultural trends and current events. His articles appear regularly on a variety of news and opinion sites across the internet and in print. Paul may be reached at [email protected]