Category: Faith Blogs

Thinking about matters of Faith

The theological basis for Christian service

One of the clearest teachings about Christian service is found in the book of James 2:14-20 (NLT):

14 What good is it, dear brothers and sisters, if you say you have faith but don’t show it by your actions? Can that kind of faith save anyone? 15 Suppose you see a brother or sister who has no food or clothing, 16 and you say, “Good-bye and have a good day; stay warm and eat well”—but then you don’t give that person any food or clothing. What good does that do? 17 So you see, faith by itself isn’t enough. Unless it produces good deeds, it is dead and useless. 18 Now someone may argue, “Some people have faith; others have good deeds.” But I say, “How can you show me your faith if you don’t have good deeds? I will show you my faith by my good deeds.”19 You say you have faith, for you believe that there is one God.[f] Good for you! Even the demons believe this, and they tremble in terror. 20 How foolish! Can’t you see that faith without good deeds is useless?

The message is clear: faith without works is dead.  There is only one kind of saving faith – the one that bears the fruit of good works.

Paul summed it up in his letter to the Ephesians 2:8-10 (NLT):

8 God saved you by his grace when you believed. And you can’t take credit for this; it is a gift from God. 9 Salvation is not a reward for the good things we have done, so none of us can boast about it. 10 For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago.

The theological tweet goes something like this: you are saved by grace for good works.

We cannot have true faith without corresponding good works.

God does not love us because we are good; we are good because God loves us.

Faith without works is bribery.

Works without faith is slavery.

Faith with works is Christianity.

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Who is Carrying the Burden?

Who is Carrying the Burden?

This reflection is based on the Men Engage article (13 April 2020): “Let us not be blind to the gendered impact of COVID-19, written by Mpiwa Mangwiro.

Maria Holtsberg, humanitarian and disaster risk advisor at UN Women Asia and Pacific has been quoted as saying: “Crisis always exacerbates gender inequality. ” During the COVID-19 pandemic, we are observing this very thing. As more countries go into lockdown women take on more of the responsibility to care in a disproportionate way. Physical distancing with its #stayhome includes the banning of social gatherings in order to reduce infections and flatten the curve.

As such, schools, colleges and universities are closed. Who cares for these children? More often than not, the burden falls on women to attend to their personal hygiene, homework, cleaning, meals, washing and ironing as well as ensuring that precautionary measures are adhered to in order to reduce the spread of the virus. In poor communities where there is no running water, it is often the women who fetch and carry water. Added to this is the responsibility of caring for someone in the family that may fall sick which more often than not becomes the sole duty of women. During this period of lockdown think about and discuss gender equality within your own families, work and communities. Below are some questions to consider:

  • Are expected gender roles still workable and applicable today?
  • Compare your grandparents’ society with society today. What has changed?
  • What could be the consequences of spreading the burden of care at home?
  • Is there a disconnect between what we say we believe in and what how we actually live our lives?
  • How could women’s perspective bring positive change in the workplace? What can we learn from the Scriptures?

Read, pray, meditate and discuss. Then go do. Philippians 2:4 Everyone should look out not only for their own interests, but also for the interests of others. Galatians 6:2 Carry one another’s burdens; in this way you will fulfil the law of Christ.

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Five Myths of Male Headship

Five Myths of Male Headship

The Evangelical myths of “male headship” teach that men have some sort of authority over women in the Church, community, and home, but the Bible itself does not give men an over arching authority over women.
Written by: Kate Wallace

I sat down across the table from her. We hadn’t seen each other in a while and I was excited to catch up. She was a youth pastor, one of those with an obvious call on her life for ministry.But as I looked into her eyes, I could see she was worn out. She explained to me that she had been having some problems with her boss. She told me that every time she had a disagreement with him, he would tell her that she had a problem with “male headship in the Church”.I sat there, shocked that a pastor would know so little about headship in the Church, that he would use it to get his way with his employees. I think I blurted out my response before she had finished her sentence:“Yes! You should have a problem with male headship in the Church!” We took the rest of our lunch to talk through the theological error this man had fallen into.I have to admit, since that conversation I have been on high alert for every mention of “male headship” in Evangelical churches. I have heard it in many different contexts, and every single time it was used to elevate men over women – in the family, in marriage, in the Church.It occurred to me that although Evangelicals are known for diving into scripture and analyzing it word for word, we have failed to do this with “headship” in scripture. Someone tells us it is synonymous with “authority” and we leave it at that – no word study, no look at context, no observing original language.This has led to 5 myths about “male headship” that have weeded their way into our theology. Although I am far from being the first to write about this, my hope is that this post will help bring false thinking to light and challenge us to dig a little deeper.

Myth #1 – Male Headship in the Church

The Bible never teaches that there is “male headship” in the Church. Yup, you heard me right. Now, the Bible does talk about headship in the Church. But do you know who takes that position? That’s right – Christ.According to the Bible, Christ and Christ alone is the head of the Church. Men are never given that spot. In fact, to insist on male headship in the Church would be to place men in the spot of Christ, and that verges on heresy.Sometimes people use the language of “headship” when they are actually talking about leadership in the Church. This usually stems from a specific interpretation of 1 Timothy 2:12, a verse that never mentions headship. This is actually a different theological topic all together. The confusion of the two topics can lead to significant false teaching.

Myth #2 – Man as the Head of the Household

Did you know that the Bible never says that the man is the head of the household? That phrase is so common in our culture, and even though some of us assume it is taken out of scripture, it’s just not in there. So what does the Bible say?There are two places in scripture that refer to a husband’s headship: Ephesians 5.23 & 1 Corinthians 11.3. When you read them, you see that these verses are specifically speaking to the marriage relationship between a husband and a wife. They do not say that all men are the heads of all women. They also do not say that men are the heads of Christian communities.You will also notice that neither one says that the husband is the “head of the house”. In fact, the only thing the husband is called the “head of” is the wife.So what does it mean for a husband to be the head of the wife? Some believe it has to do with leadership, but…

Myth #3 Headship as Leadership

Did you know that the Bible never says that the husband is to “lead” the wife? People who teach this are actually giving their own interpretation of scriptures that talk about the “headship” of the husband. They are assuming that the Greek word for “head” means “leader”. This is a common assumption because in the English language, “head” can be synonymous with “leader”. But not all languages equate “head” with “leadership”.French, for example, is one language in which their word for “head” has no connotation whatsoever with “leadership”. Interestingly, Greek is another language that does not commonly equate leadership with headship. In Greek, headship can mean “source”, as in the “headwaters of a river” (1 Corinthians 11.3 seems to be an example of this, considering verses 11 & 12 of that chapter). The meaning of “head” in Greek is usually a metaphorical one, which can be understood through context of the specific passage.If we read these passages without bringing our Western, English understanding of the word “head” into them, they look pretty different. But then how can we figure out what “husband headship” means in scripture? The second part of that verse holds a huge clue.“The husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the Church…”If we want to understand “husband headship,” then we must understand Christ’s headship of the Church. So, how is Christ the head of the Church?Christ’s “headship” in relation to the Church is mentioned 5 times in the New Testament:

  1. Colossians 1:18 – Christ is metaphorical head of the Church, source of life after death
  2. Colossians 2. 18-19 – Christ as metaphorical head of the Church, to help her flourish
  3. Ephesians 5.23 & 25 – Christ as metaphorical head of the Church, saving her, loving her, giving himself up for her
  4. Ephesians 1:20-23 – Church is metaphorical body of Christ, Christ provides for Church’s growth
  5. Ephesians 4:15-16 – Church is metaphorical body of Christ, Christ equips the Church for growth through love

How is Christ’s headship of the Church described?

  • Giving abundant life
  • Helping her flourish
  • Saving her
  • Loving her
  • Giving himself for her/dying for her

What don’t we see in these passages?

  • authority over
  • leadership
  • decision making
  • rulership

Many other times when Christ is called the “head” of something, Scripture adds language to explain that he is also in authority over that thing. This “authority over” language is missing in every single instance of Christ being the head of the Church. Christ’s headship of the Church has nothing to do with leadership or authority, but with love, sacrifice, death, and giving of life. Likewise, a husband’s “headship” of his wife would refer only to giving himself up for her, sacrificing for her, to give her a flourishing life.For clarity’s sake… Was Christ a leader? – Yes. Is Christ the ruling Son of God seated on the throne? – Yes. Are those the traits of Christ that husbands are called to mimic as “heads” of their wives? – No.This is a servant role, not a leadership one.

Myth #4 Headship as Decision Making

Fun fact: scripture does not give husbands any sort of decision-making authority over their wives. In fact, the only scripture that addresses decision making in the husband-wife relationship instructs them to make that decision together equally (1 Corinthians 7.1-6).Let me say this one more time, because I think it’s important – The only spot in scripture that explicitly addresses decision making in a marriage calls the husband and wife to make that decision together equally.Scripture doesn’t give the husband a “trump card” in decision making. He doesn’t get the final say, according to the Bible. If we follow the example scripture sets, husbands and wives would make decisions together, through prayer.

Myth #5 Headship as Being in the Driver’s Seat

Too many times have I heard people equate a husband’s “headship” to authority because “someone has to drive the car”. Guess what? Marriage is not a car. Marriage is a covenant relationship. Plus, you can always pull over and switch drivers.While there were no cars at the time the Bible was written, interestingly there is a vehicular example in the Bible of what two people coming together in this covenant relationship should look like – two oxen, equally yoked, pulling a cart or a plow. They must be equal, or the cart will be pulled off course.In the scriptural example, we are not the drivers of the marriage at all. We are the oxen. The oxen do not decide where the cart goes – the farmer does. We put in the effort to make it work, and God decides where He will take it, and what He will use it for.Men don’t belong in the drivers seat. Neither do women. God does. Remember, we are called to live differently.


The Evangelical myths of “male headship” teach that men have some sort of authority over women in the Church, community, and home. I believe the prominence of these myths stems from a failure to study the topic thoroughly. The Bible itself does not give men an over arching authority over women. In fact, it tells us that a husband is to show his wife the life-giving sacrifice Christ showed to the Church.The world favors men. The Bible tells Christ followers to favor others – husbands to their wives, wives to their husbands, believers to one another. In this way, everyone is sacrificially loving and being loved. Egalitarians speak to this in their theology of mutual submission.My youth pastor friend made a great observation during our lunch together. “If Christ followers are generally called to self-sacrifice, servanthood, and humility, this grasping for male authority doesn’t seem to fit.”As Christians, we are not called to exert authority over people. We are instructed to love, serve, and lay down our authority as Christ did.In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus: Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage; rather, he made himself nothing by taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to death—even death on a cross!” Phil.2:5-8

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In God’s Image

In God’s Image

Written by: Wilma Luimes

In the name of fighting injustice we often forget to fight the issue and start fighting a perceived enemy. The battle is not against a person, it is a fight against the perception of superiority and the subsequent imbalance of power it creates; an internalised ‘perception of truth and entitlement’ that justifies human rights violations. The battle for gender equality is not a fight that is intended to create a face-off between women and men. It is a struggle against the imbalance of power that the ideology of patriarchy has created. An active dispute against the assumptions that form the foundation of sexism and an affirmation of women’s value not a defamation of men’s worth.The imbalance of value has caused both men and women to lose their humanity. To perpetuate violence is to root oneself in the ideology of hatred. And once hatred is entrenched, it tarnishes all that is good and valuable in one’s life.‘Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God.’ Matthew 5:8. The ideology of sexism (or any ‘ism) blocks one’s ability to see God clearly. For God created male and female in his image, Genesis 1:27 and failing to see the image of God in another person is an inability to see God.

My father was instrumental in teaching me that women are valuable. He never spoke about women with disrespect. That was not ok at our house. That is the foundation that informs my perspective on gender equity. Women are valuable and deserve to be respected. That was also the basis for my divorce and the reason that I would not allow my daughter’s father to teach her otherwise; for she too is worthy of respect.So I do not advocate for gender equity as a fight of women against men. I have a healthy appreciation for men. Men who value women that is, those who mirror the character of God in their relationships and honour the most high God in their lives. So while respect is given because we recognise the image of God in people, trust is earned.

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For Brown Girls Who Considered Leaving The Church When The Sexism Was Too Much

For Brown Girls Who Considered Leaving The Church When The Sexism Was Too Much

Written by: Kimberly Peerler-Ringer

Since dismantling patriarchy is one of my approaches to reading the Scriptures, I want to talk first about what it is and why I position myself against it.

Patriarchy, in its simplest terms, is the privileging of maleness.

Patriarchy is also a system that functions much like racism in that there are institutional and embedded structures that oppress women through social, political, and economic practices.

The United States reflects a culture that values maleness.

A recent study in The Washington Post reports that white men make up about 31% of the entire population of the United States, yet are 65% of all elected officials. In other words, white men occupy more than half of the seats of power in this country. That breaks down to white men having eight times the political power nonwhite women do. Another study reports that 83% of this country’s elected prosecutors are white males. Only 1% of U.S. prosecutors are women of color. The lawmakers and law enforcers of this country are primarily white males.

Like the country we live in, the Bible reflects a culture that privileges maleness.

An example of this is the woman caught in adultery in John 7:53-8:11:Then each of them went home, while Jesus went to the Mount of Olives. Early in the morning he came again to the temple. All the people came to him and he sat down and began to teach them. The scribes and the Pharisees brought a woman who had been caught in adultery; and making her stand before all of them, they said to him, “Teacher, this woman was caught in the very act of committing adultery. Now in the law Moses commanded us to stone such women. Now what do you say?” They said this to test him, so that they might have some charge to bring against him.Jesus bent down and wrote with his finger on the ground. When they kept on questioning him, he straightened up and said to them, “Let anyone among you who is without sin be the first to throw a stone at her.” And once again he bent down and wrote on the ground. When they heard it, they went away, one by one, beginning with the elders; and Jesus was left alone with the woman standing before him. Jesus straightened up and said to her, “Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?” She said, “No one, sir.” And Jesus said, “Neither do I condemn you. Go your way, and from now on do not sin again.” (NRSV)The act of adultery requires at least two persons, right? But whomever it was that she was committing adultery with was apparently let off with a warning since it was only she who was brought before Jesus. Maleness is also privileged in many of the genealogy references in the Bible, such as Genesis 6:10 that tells us Noah had three sons, again, presumably, all by himself, since their mother(s) is not mentioned.

A lot of Black women occupy pews in churches that privilege maleness.

Some even teach and uphold certain cultural norms from an ancient culture that some argue relegate women to “second class” status. Like the decision makers in American law and order are primarily white males, many churches have men in the positions of power despite the fact that women are the overwhelming majority group of many congregations.Let’s break that down even further: single Black women are a large percentage of black church membership. But I have not encountered many single Black female Christians who were happy and content with the so-called “singles’ ministries” of the churches they attend. The lack of attention to this large segment of the church renders them invisible. Add to that the erasing effect stereotypes have upon Black female humanity and I think it becomes clear why some brown girls have considered leaving the church when the sexism got to be too much.

I do not believe God is sexist.

I do not believe that men have something in common with God that women do not. I believe Jesus practiced a discipleship of equals. And we can choose to read the Bible in ways that recover the oft-silenced voice of the Feminine Divine. Here is an example of that.The fifteenth chapter of Luke begins with Jesus at odds with religious leaders and he uses a trilogy of parables to show them and us that God values everybody. All three of these teachings focus on various states of lostness: a lost sheep, a lost coin, and a lost son. In all three parables, the person who lost something is a representation of God’s diligence: God as the shepherd who will drop all to find the one lost sheep, God as the father filled with compassion who rushes to greet his lost son upon his return home, and…

God as the woman who lit a lamp and swept her home until she found her lost coin.

Clearly, religion, the Bible, and culture mutually influence each other, because we often skip right over this image of God as female. Resisting patriarchy and making a different choice about the lens through which we view the Scriptures empowers us to reshape how we think about ourselves.

God is a brown girl too, after all.
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God’s Plan Cannot be Patriarchy…

God’s Plan Cannot be Patriarchy…

Written by: Wilma Luimes

…because love imparts value and doesn’t seek to control.
For generations in many churches, patriarchy has been passed off as the divine order of things. Its foundation lay in a quest for power and the legitimization of male leadership. But a divine order must produce godly fruit and blind, unqualified submission to an ungodly man, produces destruction and death. How can that be God’s plan for women’s lives in the context of marriage? Simply put. It’s not; for death and destruction are not of God. Loving someone means to impart a value to someone else equivalent to one’s own and give them what they need; [not necessarily what they want] and love shows up when needed. The pursuit of power instead of love, justified at women’s expense, the fruit produced in an imbalanced relationship, and inability of patriarchy to meet the needs of millions of women and children around the world should have sounded the alarm of its fallacy and illuminated the reality that its roots are a result of sin (Genesis 3:16), not godly hierarchy as so many would like us to believe; a deception that has become a widely accepted societal norm. For loving someone as God requires is to take into account their well-being and ensure their needs are met; for they are neither worthless nor worth less than anyone else. That seems contrary to a worldly view of love that sells love as free, easily accessible, a form of self-gratification and a means to meets one’s own needs often at someone else’s expense. It is however an accurate reflection of Jesus’ life which illustrates true love as an empathy and compassion for the needs of people that generated action. This is apparent as during his ministry, Jesus met the need for:

  • Healing (woman with bleeding; Matthew 9:20 & Mark 5:29, Peter’s mother-in-law; Matthew 8, paralysed man; John 5, man with the withered hand; Matthew 12:10, the royal official’s son, a leper; Matthew 8, 10 lepers; Luke 17, the Centurion’s servant; Matthew 8, Bartimaeus of blindness; Mark 10:46, restoring the severed; ear Matthew 26, etc.)
  • Counsel (Samaritan woman; John 4, Zacchaeus; Luke 19, Mary and Martha; Luke 10:38, disciples, little children; Matthew 19:13, the rich man; Matthew 19)
  • Grace, compassion and protection (Samaritan woman; John 4, woman accused of adultery; John 8:4, etc.)
  • Food (the feeding of the five thousand; Matthew 14 & Mark 6, four thousand; Mark 8)
  • Life by raising up the dead (Lazarus; John 11, the widow’s son; Luke 7, Jairus’ daughter; Mark 5:35)
  • Peace (healing from demonic spirits – man from Capernaum , Gerasene man possessed by demons; Mark 5, etc.).
  • Justice. “Here is my servant whom I have chosen, the one I love, in whom I delight; I will put my Spirit on him, and he will proclaim justice to the nations” Matthew 12: 18.
  • Truth – “I am the truth, the way and the life. No one comes to the father but through me” John 14:6.
  • Salvation – “For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son. That who so ever believes in him shall have everlasting life” John 3:16.

The life and ministry of Jesus Christ demonstrates God’s equal value for humanity; men, women and children alike. His response to those in need shows us his heart.(Incidentally Jesus also met the need for wine… John 2; but that’s a story for another blog… ☺ ) Patriarchy, in contrast, seeks to accumulate power and dominate women. God’s plan for marriage was not that. Men do not ‘need’ blind submission and women should not be blindly submitting. God’s plan for marriage requires mutual submission and accountability; “submit to one another out of reference for Christ” (Ephesians 5:21). Marriage was intended to be a relationship where needs are met and where love shows up when needed and where both parties hold each other as valuable; a relationship of love and protection. Patriarchy teaches and produces something else altogether…

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The War on Worship

The War on Worship

By Simon McCauley22 year old worshipper

Photo by Oscar Keys on Unsplash

If there’s one thing that really excites me, it’s a hot and controversial debate. Which is why my interest was immediately sparked when I was sent an article on Facebook entitled “It’s Time to Boycott the Worship Industry”.

Now, I must say that I may hold a biased opinion on this matter as I actually work as a musician in the worship industry, but I’ll be sure to approach my argument as logically as I can. Nonetheless, I will certainly be picking apart each element as we go (apologies in advance for when my irritation begins to show through my writing).

Okay, let’s get started.

Essentially, the opening paragraph of what will be referred to as ‘The Boycott Article‘ makes two distinct statements:

  • The first is that Christian culture’s boycotts often “make us look arrogant, aloof, and disconnected” and are often ineffective anyway.
  • The second is that a boycott of an aspect of the Christian culture itself may be more successful than boycotting corporations because – and this is a direct quote here – “it’s time for us to boycott an industry that cares very much what the whole church thinks. We’re their only hope of staying afloat.”

To me, the phrase “we’re their only hope of staying afloat” sounds a little arrogant (even aloof, maybe?) but we’ll ignore it for now – the point is that the author of The Boycott Article is clearly upset with the worship industry and is hoping that the rest of the Christian community will join in on his cause and make a change.

The author poses 5 points for why the worship industry needs to be boycotted and, truthfully, I agree with most of the points. But as each point gets explained, assumptions are made and arguments are formed that don’t hold much water, and I’ve taken it upon myself to poke holes wherever possible. Here goes:

  1. Boycott the worship industry because money shouldn’t drive what the churches sing.”Correct. Money shouldn’t necessarily be the single driving force for anything in the church; biblical / spiritual content should be. However, the article states that worship has become an industry, therefore it is required to generate income and as result “it doesn’t give us what we need.” What I found throughout this article is a number of absolute thoughts, thoughts that are only comprised of one single concept. In this case, the thought is “INDUSTRY = MONEY = NO GOD.” It seems that the author is incapable of considering that it is possible for worship to be spiritual and generate income. In fact, if we follow this logic through, the reason any industry within the Christian community would have a chance of success was if it in fact did give us what we needed. What happened to “we’re their only hope of staying afloat”? Surely, if everyone was so starved for spiritual content, the industry would be dead already? The author, in an uninformed attempt to strengthen this point, makes reference to how original congregational song was crafted by pastors, theologians and poets. Excuse me? That’s literally exactly how most mainstream worship music is written. We have pastors like Ps Joel Houston writing for Hillsong and Ps Steven Furtick writing most of Elevation Worship’s material. Beyond that, almost all the songwriters for most mainstream worship artists have all studied theology to some degree – Taya Smith, Cory Asbury, Kim Walker-Smith, Chris Tomlin, etc. If you’ve ever stopped to listen their lyrical content or hear them discuss their own songs, you may find a lot more poetry and theology within their so-called “mainstream music” than you’d expect. You cannot assume that success immediately means a lack of content.
  2. Boycott the worship industry because the it creates its own idols.”Yes, I agree that idolising worship leaders is wrong, but once again the author uses illogical absolute thoughts to prove his point. The author seems to be upset that people like Chris Tomlin and Michael W. Smith (and basically every other well-known Christian artist) have become successful, that they sell books and t-shirts and concert tickets. I must reiterate that it is possible for success to be secondary to service, it is not an absolute. Luckily, the author admits that these artists’ intentions may not be wrong but that “they’re mere pawns in the industry’s game” (this too feels like an arrogant and aloof statement, but we’ll ignore it for now). May I remind you all that in Matthew 25 Jesus taught us to grow our God-given talents and in Ecclesiastes 9 we are instructed do everything as best we can in order to glorify God. So, in some way, would it be dishonourable to God if we didn’t allow musicians or singers or songwriters to be successful? Alternatively, if this ominous and evil industry that the author is so concerned about is actually benefitting from the artists who have pure intentions and are using their talents to create a worship environment for us, what is the actual harm to you and I? Should we rather send our artists into the cut-throat secular music industry where money is clearly and openly the single driving force? Also, why is it that you’re most upset by the music aspect of this issue? If you’re really concerned with idolatry, why aren’t you boycotting successful pastors or wealthy churches? I can guarantee you that the world’s most successful Christian music artist doesn’t have nearly as many private jets as the world’s most successful pastor. This conceptual battle against “the industry” – despite being riddled with misinformation and logical errors – is aimed in the wrong direction as a whole.
  3. Boycott the worship industry because the congregation’s voice should be primary.”The Boycott Article claims that the worship industry mimics mainstream commercial genres and is therefore purely for performance. Oh, I have many many issues with this point in particular. Firstly, another absolute thought (starting to see a pattern here or…?) Why is it so inconceivable that one genre or another can carry pure intention? Secondly, what’s wrong with change and evolution of sound? When Jesus came around, He was blowing everybody’s minds, He was extremely radical and He flew in the face of tradition and rules and boundaries. Thirdly, the author states “their material isn’t rising organically from the people.” But I would argue quite strongly that material rising from the congregation would itself mimic commercial mainstream music because the congregation is constantly evolving too (unless, of course, your congregation is restricted to persons over the age of 40 who are completely disconnected from all forms of mainstream media). Fourthly, the article states “it’s not crafted with good congregational singing in mind.” I have personally sat through multiple staff meetings trying to decide which material would be best suited to sing with our congregation. I’ve also spent hours in songwriting sessions reviewing and rewriting lyrics and music so that it would be specifically tailored to our congregation. Fifthly, the author claims that modern worship is made for a group to perform to a passive audience and that mainstream genres are “just not right for us”. Right now, I’m 22 years old. I run the youth band in my church. I would give 6 months worth of my salary to see the author of this article bring a pipe organ to our youth and sing what he thinks “real worship” music is and then we can have a conversation about a passive audience. Let me clarify, I’m not saying that modern worship should be thrown at everyone and all older music should be scrapped. The point I’m trying to make is that it is completely unfair and unjustified to assume that only one genre will work. Later in the article, the author writes “there are many of you: all ages, denominations, and cultural backgrounds” and yet he has absolutely no concept of the difference in taste or experience for any of those ages, denominations or culture. He inadvertently ends up forcing his own ideals and expectations onto everyone else – which is probably what he feels the modern worship industry is doing to him. Either way, I don’t think it’s right to put such harsh restrictions on what worship can or cannot be. Not one bit.
  4. Boycott the worship industry because emotionalism is not worship.”The author claims that modern worship is used solely to manipulate our emotions and entrance us. My first reaction to this was “but you JUST said that modern worship was made to be performed to a passive audience.” However, I then started to think about the point itself and I can honestly say that I don’t understand it. Granted, not all emotions are spiritual, but all of my spiritual experiences have been very emotional too – I find it almost impossible to separate the two. Does this point suggest that the old worship that the author so desperately yearns for lacks an emotive result? I genuinely don’t know what the author is suggesting. And let’s look at it another way: there are certain old worship songs and even hymns that make me very emotional. Is that emotional manipulation too and if so, does that mean it’s so-called “emotionalism” and therefore not worship? At this point I really had to stop and wonder if the author was just finding reasons to be mad at the industry without actually thinking through each point. It just doesn’t add up in my mind.
  5. Boycott the worship industry because simply being a silently dissatisfied customer won’t fix anything.”Honestly, this part of The Boycott Article was most upsetting and ultimately disrespectful to the reader. The author makes multiple ill-informed assumptions about his audience in order to prove his point. For example: “What we’ve done with worship makes you cringe. Your senses are dulled by the lack of artistry, the pervasive emotional manipulation. But you remain in churches controlled by the worship industry… It’s killing us, and we’re consenting to the slow, agonizing death.” To me, that is actually insulting. To assume so much about the reader, to tell them how they feel and what their experiences are, to force your opinions on others so blatantly and aggressively not only discredits the author but is also just in such poor taste. One might even describe that as arrogant, aloof and disconnected (see what I did there?).

In any case, the point that the author is so desperately grasping at is that in order to change the industry, the congregation needs to stand up and make themselves heard, which is correct. However, I can’t help but consider that perhaps the worship industry has become this way because the younger generations of congregant members and songwriters alike stood up against the monotony and cultural irrelevance that they felt about the older genre and style of worship. Maybe the reason the worship industry has changed so drastically is because the nature of church and its members have changed too and if that’s the case, the worship we have now is the truest reflection of what our congregation needs. However, I’m sure that many older congregation members may feel that The Boycott Article makes some very valid points. To them I would suggest finding a worship experience that best suits their needs, but strongly argue against tearing down what works for others.

In conclusion, I think the author was right about one thing: these boycotts do look arrogant, aloof and disconnected – or at least the delivery of this boycott did.

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