When I saw him I fell at his feet and laid still with fear.
But he continued, “But a worship leaders job is to get the congregation to worship.”
At church, during service, I tend to watch the singers, musicians and dancers.
I’m looking for authenticity. I love watching someone worship!
What I see from Wayne Berry, and am confused about, is someone who is not singing along with the rest of us a lot of the time. That’s confusing because my preconceived idea of a worship leader is one who leads by example. I think, why isn’t Wayne singing?
And why is he so happy not singing?
(Please don’t misunderstand what I am about to say. I am by no means demeaning the singers or musicians who have the courage to get up in front of the church body and worship in front of us.)
What I’ve determined (so far, I haven’t got this figured out yet!) is that there are worship leaders and there are artists. But many times they are not the same person on the stage.
When I see the singers and musicians on the stage I recognize that they are worshiping God through their voices and instruments. But a worship leader does not worship God through their voice or instrument.
They worship God through us. We are their instrument.
Watching Wayne after the conversation with Ronnie has opened my eyes. I see Wayne and his job differently now.
I imagine him standing before the Lord, one of a thousand thousand worship leaders in the audience room described in Revelation.
I see Wayne bringing us and our praise as his offering.
And I see the Lord smile.
Then I see Wayne again at SA in front of the body of believers. I see him eyes closed, smiling, with tears flowing. I see him not singing.
And I am certain he is worshiping.
That’s what I think a worship leader does.
I’ve been wrestling… no… tackling-with-fierce-intent some really interesting ideas that Eldredge brought up. For instance, I didn’t know “Little girls do not invent games where large numbers of people die” (p10). What next? Boys aren’t supposed to play with Strawberry Shortcake dolls because they smell good? Yeah right!
As I grappled-with-enormous-animosity the comments that Eldredge was making it dawned on me: I wasn’t dressed for this kind of book! I put the book down and went upstairs to my room. In my drawer (that holds my drawers, ha! I am so frakkin funny!) I found what I was looking for: a Mexican wrestling mask. I donned the dangerous accoutrement and went back to reading.
(In fact, while my co-workers and family think it odd, I have still to take it off! Wild at Heart indeed!)
I was surprised to find out that Eldredge thinks men think Jesus is “meek and mild” (p22). I personally think this is because of communion. Wafers with no taste and watered down grape juice? Gimme a break! If communion was served with better tasting body and blood I bet men wouldn’t think of Jesus as such a wimp.
Seriously, if a guy tastes like buffalo wings and vodka he had to have been one bad man!
On page 29, Eldredge says that men are supposed to swim with pods of killer whales and get bull mooses… meese? mad at you. Even though I’m wearing a wrestling mask, red and black and all danger no less, and pouncing-like-a-mad-gorilla-that-is-really-angry over these thoughts I have to admit it. To myself and to you.
I am not a man.
I mean, I’ve never once said to myself, “Self, we need to get a bull moose mad at us today. Adventure! Yee–Haa!” Have you?
Probably not, non-man.
(To feel more manly, I just put on an eye patch and ripped my shirt so it looks tattered. Maybe from a fight with a mad iguana or perhaps caused by the scream of a banshee.)
(Also, I’m gonna talk in pirate from this point on. Matey. I be a bad mama-jama. Yar!)
On page 41, Eldredge spouts through his lame non-pirate mouth that yonder men who wear trousers don’t look like passionate, fierce, wild at heart men! Arrgh! I like wearing me pants! But to prove I be more of a man than ye, I’ll go without!
So here I stand, matey! Talking pirate, wearing a Mexican wrestling mask and eye patch, with a ripped shirt, and now no trousers! Argh! I be a fierce and wild at heart man now, eye? Eiy… aiy.. aye?
By yon time that Eldredge the non-man (argh, he be a writer, right?) says that Adam was ashamed because he be naked (p52) me mind starts to hammer-punch-a-donkey-in-the-kidneys-with-me-pirate-hook (I cut off me hand and had yon hook installed to prove me manliness) and I says to meself, “Self Pirate, Ye be nakid too! Shant you feel… Shunt ye feel… whatever. Shouldn’t I be ashamed?”
I give up on the pirate accent, I take off my mask and my eye patch. I’ll probably have to toss the shirt. I get real with myself.
Am I a man? Have I traded my dreams of adventure for the reality of a keyboard? Has this affected my relationship with my wife? Is she not pursued and loved romantically and passionately like she should be? Has this affected my view of God and Jesus? Meek and mild and “all impotent God” as I once heard sung.
On the inside, I see myself as buff and sexy and strong and out-doorsy. On the inside.
So I resolved to do something handy and out-doorsy. I am going to design a play-set for me and my boy(s) to dress up with swords and shields and water guns and “kill” each other to save the beauty!
I’ll get started on my days off. But now, I have to go to work!
It’s only at the time that I walk into work and pass my reps desks that I realize I never put my trousers back on.
It comes up like this:
“Hi” I say, “I had a great day yesterday! My pastor said some really good stuff like, [insert fake good stuff here]!”
We laugh at my ability to retell fake jokes. Then I look both ways for HR and once assured that we are clear say, “Are you religious? I hope it doesn’t offend you that I am. I mean, I’m cool with you not loving God and going to Hell. That’s your prerogative. Dust off my sandals and all that.”
They laugh some more because I’m frakkin hilarious! After wiping away the laughter tears, they say, “I’m a Christian.”
Elated, I say, “Sweet! Where do you go to church?”
They look at me, sadly, probably thinking about how baby seals get clubbed in the head by seal abusers. They snap out of their sad memories long enough to say, “I know I should go but I haven’t been for a while.” Then they get sad again. I understand. Baby seals are so cute!
So I say, “I know how hard it can be to find a church in the greater Nashville area. Especially now that Obama has shut them all down,” referring to the tell-on-your-neighbor 800# initiative that Obama put into place to root out the religious zealots who don’t like to have their parents told that they should die because they cost too much to keep fixing them. It’s what we do with old cars, right? (I wonder what I could get for my dad. Probably less on account of him not having legs anymore.)
They say, “Yeah. I just moved here.”
I say, “Wow. How long have you been here?”
They say, “Three years. But I visit home a lot because I love tacos and you just can’t get good Mexican food here anymore now that the illegals have gone home because of the high unemployment rate.”
I nod. Tacos are worth travelling for.
My stomach growls, probably complaining that there are no Del Tacos in Tennessee. I ignore it, “So how about LifeChurch.tv or a radio or TV preacher? Ever listen to them?”
They look at me quizzically -it’s the only word that fits- and answer, “Why would I trust someone on the Internet, TV or the radio when there are so many churches that I could just go to and get to know the pastors in there? I would hate to be given heresy and false teaching! That could totally mess me up and I could lose my salvation because I’m not Baptist.”
After sorting out their oddly constructed response, I say, “Surely, you must read the Word a lot then, right?”
They answer, “How can I read a word? What is this a practical joke?” They laugh. I don’t though, because I’m the only one allowed to tell jokes. It’s in my boss’ contract. “No I haven’t been reading the Bible much.” they admit.
My mind opens up and I have a vision of demons sitting on the reps shoulder, taunting me with Del Taco green burritos hot and melty with cheddar cheese and extra green sauce. I left my wand at home so I ignore them for now.
But I get it. My rep claims to be a Christian but doesn’t go to church, listen to teachers, read the Bible or share her demons’ Del Taco with me. Clearly, this is a divine appointment. I know what I have to do.
I have to travel to a state with Del Taco. After all, there isn’t anything I can do for “Christians” like this.
The worst part? My frakkin sandals are dusty again.
“If you are a citizen of an empire that has the most powerful army in the history of humanity and is currently on the way to spending a trillion dollars on a war, passages about those who accumulate chariots and horses from Egypt are about you and your people.” Rob Bell, Jesus Wants to Save Christians, 128
“What?” said a friend? I’ll tell you.
Moses warned those fleeing from Egypt against becoming like Egypt (something Solomon did.) The Psalmist said, “Some trust in chariots… I trust in the Lord.” There is a clear either-or differentiation here.
Rob Bell makes the case (well) that America is an empire and as such it is all about protecting its wealth and prosperity through economic (horses) and military (chariots) might.
(Notice the differentiation again. If America is using horses and chariots, where is its trust? Not in the Lord?)
I know that many of you won’t like this because you don’t like America to be called an empire. Yet, I know deep down inside many people actually do like to think of America as an empire. How often do we hear about how amazing our military is? How we are the only “superpower?” We take pride in it. We put our trust in it.
I know many like to think of America as a Christian nation. I see this as a cake-and-eat-it-too scenario. We want to think of ourselves as holy and chosen and at the same time retain our military and economic supremacy.
Just in case God doesn’t come through, or what?
America is blessed. But the Bible says we are blessed to be blessing. I don’t see it.