powerpoint pornography and God on worship

Our God on worship:

This is the kind of person I appreciate:

The one who is humble and repentant, and worships by receiving my words with obedience.

What today passes as worship is only sin, and brings me no pleasure.  He who “leads prayer” on a Sunday morning might as well call on the name of Satan, asking HIM to guide, guard, and direct.  And the one who “waits on the Lord’s Table” should instead defecate on it.  When they put my money in the collection plate, it is to me as if they were begrudgingly donating dismembered human body parts.  And the guy who’s preaching might as well use his fancy powerpoint computer program to show pornography in the assembly of the “saints.”  While they’re at it, they should sell popcorn in the foyer, and use the money to build a golden calf.  [There’s no money in giving away free coffee.]

They have chosen to make worship about themselves.  What was intended to bring me joy has become nothing more than a self-serving list of dos and do-nots, which have the appearance of holiness — for two or three hours a week.  These people love their assemblies with a selfish love, and they glory in what they are able to produce.  So I will respond appropriately, which will not be pleasant.  They’ll receive that which they fear most.  For when I invited them to me, no one came.  When I gave instructions, no one listened.  Instead they did evil and attempted to hide it with these assemblies they call church.  I am more than displeased.

— Isaiah 66:2b-4

image courtesy of storehousechicago.org


Filed under modern-day retelling, sunday gatherings, woe to us, worship

20 responses to “powerpoint pornography and God on worship

  1. Brittney Harrison

    Thank you for this. Love you.

    • you’re welcome, sissie. and thanks for the six (short, one-syllable) words you wrote in response. it seems you were both deeply touched and moved beyond nearly all possible forms of expression. i would ask, though, that next time you leave room on my blog for others to type a few thoughts. this is not the “brittney harrison” response hour.

      i love you, too.
      bh (the wordy one)

  2. Justin

    I’m a big fan of Amos 5 myself. Got fired from a worship ministry position because the church was uncomfortable with the realization that worship and justice go hand in hand, that there is no worship without seeking justice/rightness in the world.

    • justin, it’s a very strange differentiation we’ve been able to make between being in right relationship with God and being in right relationship with man. and i’d suggest it’s more unhealthy than it is strange. i’m sorry to hear what happened to you when working with a congregation.

      [by the way — and you may have already realized this, but — i’m fairly sure we know one another in real life…]

  3. Much less certain of “what is worship” at this point than I have possibly ever been in my life. This is a great read. I’m rather tired of people bragging about the “great worship” at their churches when all they are really referring to is the atmosphere created by quality musicians playing and singing a certain style of music. I really wish I had time to get my thoughts wrapped around it, because what once really felt like “worship” really doesn’t mean anything at all to me any more. Is that because I’m spiritually screwed up and not where I should be with God? Yep, but I don’t think that’s ALL of it. I don’t really want the old “feeling” to come back because I don’t trust it to be real any more, either. So, I’m pretty darn confused 🙂

    • well, i don’t think i’ve got worship all figured out but i know it’s much bigger than what we do on sunday mornings. and i know that what we do on sunday mornings has absolutely no value to God or to us (or negative value if that’s possible) if “performed” apart from obedience to God in our everyday lives.

      but i don’t think those feelings and “worship atmospheres” are all bad. they would seem to be also need to be involved if we’re going to love God with all of our being, and ascribe worth to him in every area of our lives.

      • I agree those feelings and atmospheres aren’t bad. I just don’t trust them. You might need a lot more information about me and the past 3-1/2 years to understand that statement 🙂 I won’t bore you with it all but it’s very real to me.

        • bernard, i didn’t mean to come across as if i disagreed with your mistrust of feelings in christianity. it is interesting, though, because you’ve apparently had “too much” of that, and i feel like i haven’t experienced it very often or consistently. it’s funny how different people with different experiences are wary of completely different things.

          • I don’t question it because of too much of it. I question it because of highly confusing theological issues and the age old “when was I really saved” question. I question because of a cynicism that has developed – which I don’t like – that seems to cause me to doubt virtually everything. So, I’m working through a lot of head-scratching. I don’t understand my own thoughts and emotions, to be honest. I don’t trust myself.

            You didn’t come across in any bad way, no worries 🙂

  4. Jason Miller

    Awe, come on, worship is easy. Grab a keyboard and a speaker or two…what else do you need. Oh, yes, a volume nob.

    (Place tongue in cheek.)

    • you also need the one guy whose job it is to say, “hallelujah, hallelujah, hallelujah.”

      and by “a speaker or two,” i assume you meant one guy to speak a sermon and another guy to speak before communion, then maybe one more to summarize both of those guys talks…?

      [and i want you to know i was thinking you might very well be the only person who would like — or at least slightly appreciate — the starting and ending lines of my “lake wobegon days” post the other day. and i didn’t hear even a murmur.]

  5. Bullseye! Desiring to educate people about authentic worship in both private and corporate settings, I was compelled to write Plugging Into Real Worship (available at http://www.aplogansr.com). This book is a Biblical look at how people worshiped then, and how God responded. Please pray about your part in helping get the Word out about this book (which incidentally is 98% Scripture and 2% opinion).

    God bless.

  6. Eagle

    Interesting post James….I hope this commnet won’t get this post deleted. If juicy power point is the equivilent of pornography than is going crazy over a Chris Tomlin/Hillsong United song every Sunday the equivilent of spiritual masturbation?

    Just wondering…

    • Pretty sure he wasn’t saying it was porn. He was simply saying that the value in God’s eyes could be compared. I think. 🙂

    • bernard’s right. i don’t actually think of powerpoint as pornography. [though i think gossip and pornography are similar in a lot of ways.] but isaiah 66 equates the worship of God’s people with several detestable acts — so i was just trying to think of some equivalents. but i’m not necessarily suggesting your analogy is a poor one; rather, i’m choosing not to reflect in detail on it. you could call me a prude for that, i suppose.

  7. I think everything you paraphrased is true, and at the same time God’s heart wells up even when we do some of our pathetic little acts, in the same way a parent is overwhelmed by their child making them a clay sculpture of nothing.

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