I have issues. Seriously. Issues. Especially when it comes to church—just ask one of my friends what I complain about most, and yeah, you guessed it, the Church. But lately I have been really trying to be good—not complaining as much, trying to worship even when I disagree with the way the Church is doing things—basically just trying to love people and God better. And it was good for a while; I was really able to separate the good from the bad and worship God despite the problems I saw. But this morning in church I started having problems again. Allow me to explain.
I was visiting a friend in another city, and she took me to her nondenominational slightly-charismatic church this morning. From the moment I stepped through the glass industrial doors of the warehouse style building, I knew the experience would be an interesting one. The feelings escalated when I stepped through the next pair of doors into the auditorium of six or seven hundred middle-aged, jean wrapped people, all attempting to sing the repetitive song of the bald, guitar-playing worship leader. I knew I was going to have to work through this one. I found a chair with my friend, and as the congregation was swept away in worship, I stood there pondering the curious thing we call church. As my mind traveled from “is this really what God intended?” to “where are the widows and the orphans and the poor?”, I eventually was convicted by either God or my own pride-thermometer. So I tried. And then I tried some more. And then I prayed.
In the midst of my trying, one of the pastors with an un-tucked shirt invited the congregation to come up to the altar and “stand on their problems.” There were even options—jump on them, stand on them, dance on them. Well, I wasn’t really in the mood to stomp on any problems, so I sat and tried some more.
But, honest of all honesties, the only thing I could hear was the kick-drum of the sometimes too-ethereal worship band. And man, was it a great kick-drum sound—solid, crisp and loud. From there, I moved on to being altogether enraptured by the energy of the drummer—dang, he was good. So there I sat, honestly trying to “enter in” as the tradition has termed it, but only being able to hear the kick-drum.
And this is the conclusion I came to. Sometimes all you get out of a church service is a good kick-drum sound. And that is OK. I think that a lot of times we, as Christians trying to discover the fullness of the burgeoning new face of the Church, put too much pressure on ourselves to “get” something out of every service, every song, every sermon. The truth is that we won’t always have a life-altering revelation at every service we attend. I know this may sound a bit odd, but I guess the important thing to realize is that we keep seeking God—in church and out—and obeying Him, no matter how we feel. That is the essence of faith—to keep expecting something from Christ even when all you get out of church is a good kick-drum sound.