Wednesday, May 16, 2007

The operating biblical metaphor regarding worship is sacrifice. We bring ourselves to the altar and let God do to us what God will. We bring ourselves to the eucharistic table, entering into that grand fourfold shape of the liturgy that shapes us: taking, blessing, breaking, giving—the life of Jesus taken and blessed, broken and distributed; and that eucharistic life now shapes our lives as we give ourselves, Christ in us, to be taken, blessed, broken and distributed in lives of witness and service, justice and healing.

But this is not the North American way. The major North American innovation in the congregation is to turn it into a consumer enterprise. North Americans have developed a culture of acquisition, an economy that is dependent on wanting and requiring more. We have a huge advertising industry designed to stir up appetites we didn't even know we had. We are insatiable. It didn't take long for some of our colleagues to develop consumer congregations. If we have a nation of consumers, obviously the quickest and most effective way to get them into our churches is to identify what they want and offer it to them. Satisfy their fantasies, promise them the moon, recast the gospel into consumer terms—entertainment, satisfaction, excitement and adventure, problem-solving, whatever. We are the world's champion consumers, so why shouldn't we have state-of-the-art consumer churches? Eugene Peterson


Anonymous Bob Stenhouse said...

Yay and Amen to that! I find it sad when I hear someone say " I didn't like the worship today, or I didn't feel the worship today" It's not about what we get from "worship" it's about the heart that we bring to worship... no matter the style, the enthusiasm, the volume, or the clapability... it's in our hearts. Good post Stew.


10:26 AM  

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