A Presbyterian pastor has proposed what he calls "The 75 Percent Rule." I like it -- well at least 75 percent of it -- and want to pass it along to you.
Because otherwise we aren't taking into account the needs and desires of others and, in the end, we wind up mostly just worshipping ourselves and our picture of what is right and good.
As I say, I agree, but this can be a hard one.
After all, I know exactly what a perfect worship service should look and feel like -- at least for me -- and when it deviates from that I find it discomforting and disappointing.
But Widmer has it right when he says: "Even though there is one, true, unchanging gospel, there is no one single way to express the Christian faith that is universal for everyone in all cultures. In fact, one of the most beautiful things about Christianity is that the Holy Spirit is at work in every culture under heaven to create God-pleasing worship that is expressed in all the many particular cultural forms of all the nations of the earth."
That said, when we do feel discomfort in worship we should think about why. Perhaps something really has gone wrong and needs to be fixed. Perhaps something inappropriate happened. More likely we've been exposed to a new style of something that gives us pause. In that case, the question should be: What can I learn from that?
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THOSE FLAME-THROWING COMMENTERS
As regular readers here know, I no longer allow comments on the blog. I used to, but when many of the comments turned into a series of nasty bombs tossed back and forth between atheists and theists I decided that I didn't need to be responsible for creating one more platform for uncivil discourse in the country. Now someone on the CNN Belief Blog has written about this whole subject of why the subject of religion turns so many readers into angry commenters. Some of the categories of commenters -- including the "peacemakers" -- he identifies I certainly experienced here before I shut down comments.