Narcissistic Worship

Worship has become narcissistic, focusing on me and my praise of God; and spirituality has turned toward a preoccupation with my journey of faith and my spiritual condition and experience. . . . When we become narcissistic, the place of worship and spirituality in God’s narrative is lost and worship and spirituality become subject to the whims of culture.

—Robert E. Webber, Who Gets to Narrate the World? Contending for the Christian Story in an Age of Rivals, 131

Heart Worship 15

I think when you’re in church and a worship song is played (provided it’s not heretical), you have two choices:

1) Worship
2) Criticize, evaluate, and engage in pompous elitism.

I think what we need to do is just worship. When we got to church yesterday (we were very late) I didn’t feel like worshipping, for various reasons. And I may not have liked every song that was played.

But that’s my problem. None of the songs were heretical, and just because I wasn’t inspired to lift up Jesus, it doesn’t mean that the people around me were wrong to do so. In fact, they were right. I was wrong.

I think what’s needed in the worship wars, ultimately, is humility, thankfulness for what we have, and a renewal of the desire to worship God in spirit and truth. Worship, like grace, does not find an easy dwelling in an agitated, proud, critical heart.

—”Bill,” thinklings.org

Defining Worship 32 (Badly)

When Christians accept a consumerist culture’s definition at face value, they look to the church primarily to provide them with the means to improve their private lives, enhance their self-esteem, give them a sense of purpose. Worship becomes a form of therapy whose sole aim is to improve the emotional state of the individuals, and to energize them for the week ahead.  It is designed principally to make those individuals feel comfortable, and to justify the style of life they find most satisfying.

James V. Brownson, Inagrace T. Dietterich, Barry A. Harvey, Charles C. West, StormFront: The Good News of God, 7

Worship as Disruption

Worship nevertheless imprints on our whole being the reality that we study. The effect is a radical disruption of the powers of evil in us and around us. Often an enduring and substantial change is brought about.

—Dallas Willard, Daily Devotional, Day 4: “Worship” in Renewing the Christian Mind: Essays, Interviews, and Talks

Contaminated Worship

As daily consumers of popular media culture, we have learned to be egocentric in our selection, selfish in our evaluation, impatient for gratification and eager for novelty.

—Mary L. Conway, “Worship Music: Maintaining Dynamic Tension,” McMaster Journal of Theology and Ministry 7 (2006): 147 www.mcmaster.ca/mjtm/pdfs/vol7/MJTM_7-7_Conway.pdf

[We have been] catechized by consumerism.

—E. Byron Anderson, “Worship and Theological Education,” Theological Education, Vol. 39, Number 1 (2003):120