I'm conflicted today, and I'm blaming it on Sunday's worship experience.
I'm also digesting this post from its much longer first edition. It's been mentioned to me that I've outed my church before on this blog, and that despite my effort to be circumspect and respectful in the process of writing this post, I've still been a little too harsh with my opinions. So I'm editing myself out of respect for the other members of my church and its recent guests.
I'm certainly not the first to get all worked up over how a worship service is conducted, and even typing that phrase makes me realize how silly an idea that is. But for whatever reason, how we worship gets people stirred up.
Really, the details of my earlier, longer post are just details that set me to thinking about how worship ought to be organized. As significant to my thinking as this weekend's worship service was my recent rediscovery of Nickel Creek. Their greatest hits album was loaned to me this weekend by a junior higher at our church. I think it's safe to say that there's hardly a musical genre more dead than Bluegrass in the popular imagination, and yet a few years ago these three Bluegrass (or "Newgrass," I'm told) musicians, each under the age of twenty-one, got everybody jamming to the fiddle and the mandolin again.
They did it not by reasserting the genre, not by banging everybody on the knees with a banjo and shouting "Why can't you see this is better than the tripe you normally listen to?!?" but by reinventing it. The Bluegrass community had its own internal debates about how to understand Nickel Creek, but no one could deny these kids' musicianship, their place in the historical progression of Bluegrass as a genre, or the wide appeal of their music. In the meantime Nickel Creek proved compelling to the broader public; they sold a lot of records and concert tickets, and recruited a lot of new fans to the genre.
All these factors conspired to get me thinking this weekend about how, as a member of a congregation, I ought to approach worship. I think regardless of how the traditional-contemporary divide ultimately shakes out, the conversation needs to be one about creation. How have we done it? is a question with finite value; so is the question How is everyone else doing it? Ultimately each congregation must ask of itself: Who are we, and what are we doing here, together, this Sunday?