I started this thread well over a year ago... And for the better part of this past year I have been reading it more then I have been participating in it. I think, however, I have come to a conclusion on the matter which I thought I would share. So here goes...
In my high school geology class my teacher posed a question... She asked us what we needed to live. She had us write our answers down and hand them in. Out of a class of 30 students there was one student that answered, food, clothing, and shelter. Other answers... Computer, TV, hairdryer, makeup.... Seriously, I am not making this up. In Western culture we have become fixated on luxuries and in our UNneed have elevated them to the level of need. We say we are hungry and then we order a pizza... But the reality is we have never known hunger... I.e. The depletion of our physical resources because of malnutrition. What we know is appetite. This is hunger...
I think my high school anecdote provides a good illustration for the church as well. In our churches there is a great deal of stuff that we apply the word "need" to that I am not so sure merit the use of the term. Can we truly say... we need a projector... we need new carpet... we need a new sound system... Can I truly say I need a new guitar... Can we really apply the word "need? to any of these things? I think not... And nothing has illustrated this more for me then this picture...
These women are Haitian believers worshiping out front of their church building which was destroyed in last years earthquake. With eyes closed and heads bowed they are making the most of what they need and have. In spirit and in truth and nothing more they are worshiping their God in Heaven.
This thread has always been more philosophical then practical for me... I am really more concerned with the meat of the matter and our heart conditions then I am its practical implications for a Sunday morning service. For me it goes back to my original question... "How do we praise God with the equipment He has given us without committing idolatry in the process?" I think the answer lay in our understand of need...
Fanny Crosby wrote, "my hope is built on nothing less then Jesus love and righteousness." She used the words "nothing less" because her hope could not possibly be built on anything more because there is nothing more then God. However, I think our faith can often be contegent upon things other then God. I think for many of us the gifts of God trump God Himself... Ask yourself, "how do I respond when God takes away gift?" Do you respond like Job, with praises? Or like Jonah, with anger?
For me this thread was never about whether or not I would give up my gear or whether or not I can merit its use. It has always been about the basic needs of worship and whether or not I am able to say with Paul, "I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do all this through Him who gives me strength." (Philp 4)
Amen, brother :)
I love Fanny Crosby. Truly a woman of God. Knew what was and still is important in life. God and nothing else.
I was asking God,
"God.. how can I reach out to the lost, to the needy, to the poor, to the sick, to the suffering if I don't really know the meaning of suffering??"
Can I simply go upto someone who is going through the storm
"Lets pray and believe everything is under God's control. Trust in Him"
Though it's the truth, when you are dealing with someone who is suffering, the matter isn't that simple.
Well... after about 6 months or so of asking that question, God decided to make me understand what it means to suffer and not being able to do anything about it. I couldn't pray or even read the Word and all I could do is listen to sermons/praise through online services and the ONLY thing I could do was just simply cry out His name. Then I felt he calmly telling me, "This is exactly what I want my children to be doing... Crying out my name.. I don't care about the numbers, music, services.. I simply want my children to know Me."
So... what I'm saying is, I'm agreeing with what you are saying and the Truth that we are seeking for is in His word and I pray for all of us to truly be desperate & hunger for His will to be done in our worship (life, service, fellowship, all things life)
In Spirit AND in Truth. To the audience of One and the only One we TRULY need.
Thanks Daniel for a great reflection.
Soli Deo Gloria
So you remind me of Schindler in "Schindler's List".
curious... how so?
Well, your discussion brings me to that movie. It's the whole struggle he went through of letting go of material attachment, putting his resources to work for a better cause. It was always supposed to be about reliance on our creator for everything.
The watch thing?
I struggle with this on an almost daily basis. Since the introduction of click and enhanced tracks I feel maybe I have strayed even further. My job and my daily prayer is that God will always be in everything we do. When what we produce is planned and polished there are no distractions. When I do all of my work ahead of time there is freedom in the preparation. I can take my eyes off a music chart and stare into wherever I think God might be at that moment or just close my eyes and worship. To the congregation there is no missed chords or distractions from their worship experience. I plan ahead so that when it counts I can open my heart and let God's presence flow. Having tempo synched delay and a sound for each song helps me achieve that level of comfort. Does the congregation know that my opto trem is tempo synched at 1/4 notes but the analog delay is tempo synched to 8ths, no. But setting it up helps me stay on beat further eliminating distraction.
There are those times when the system goes down and there are no words to follow and everything sounds terrible, the people worship anyway...
I used to draw and sketch, you see, my first job was at the age of 16 wherewhich i drew professionally for a taxidermist company but then I realised that that wasn't what I wanted to do. I still love artwork, I drool over it and I love to waste all kinds of time hearning what people say about certain paintings and such.It is okay to appreciate art-work and fall in love with it. It's not an obsession, it's an appreciation. I am not trying to excuse anyone's GAS. For the sheer reason of appreciating boutique and mass-production companies the same, I hate BYOC (Build Your Own Clone) and Mod-Kits. For Me, kits ruin the fun. I am capable to solder at a professional level but why would I want to mod my Fulldrive 2 Mosfet or Boss OD-3 when that is not the way it was meant to be. It would be like my girlfriend getting plastic surgeory when I already appreciate the way she is. These are just some points to say, it may not be an obsession, you talk to your gear and your gear talks back. We feel you man and we all go through these things. There is a reason why God gives us radical appreciation with these things and there's no point of being sorry for it. God created man and man created gear, no shame in appreciating or falling in love for it for they are a part of Him as music was created by Him. See what I'm saying?
God also created sex and man created porn.