I’ve been talking a lot about the television show “The Hour with George Stromboulopoulos”. It is one of the most culturally relevant shows on television right now. You need to go and watch some of the interviews that they have on there. If you still don’t believe me, here is a snippet that I took from their website to describe the show:
The Hour is a national current affairs show on CBC television hosted by George Stroumboulopoulos. It’s not a newscast. It’s not a magazine show. The Hour a different take on the news through the lens of George and company. While news shows cover the issues of the day, The Hour dissects the issues within the issues. Always unconventional. Often controversial. Never predictable.
The Hour has interviewed some of the most interesting and influential figures on the planet: from big thinkers like Al Gore, Noam Chomsky, Jesse Jackson, Lewis Lapham, David Suzuki and Deepak Chopra, to establishment shakers like Bob Geldof, Henry Rollins and Bono, to world-renowned musicians like Coldplay, the Foo Fighters, Ludacris, and The Killers.
Throw in a bunch of A-list actors like Ed Norton, Rachel Weisz, Matt Damon, Viggo Mortensen, Catherine O`Hara, Alan Rickman; add a Prime Minister – Stephen Harper, Nobel Peace Prize winner Muhammad Yunus, Scottish comedian Billy Connolly, and you start to get a sense of the program. A different take on the news? You decide.
You can watch interviews with various people and if you miss a show you can watch entire shows.
Kurt left this in the comments section of one of my blogs. I’ve been thinking about this since I read it and have come to the conclusion that this is why I do not want to hold the title pastor in front of my name…because I don’t do any of these things.
“One of my professors was talking with Gustavo Gutierrez before he became a prof, and when Gustavo heard he was going to teach theology he asked him “before you do that go and hold the hand of someone suffering in the hospital, pray with someone who is dieing, eat a meal with the poor” i thought this was profound, before we start talking about the gospel we better make sure we are entering into the suffering that God entered into, the greatest mysteries are never actually known or understood only experienced.”
I added a couple new links to the side. Check em out. If you go to Spacebar 2000, my record is 45. It’s the beauty of being a bass player.
I am really struggling with the thought of production vs. worship. I’ve been seeing worship leaders oggling and blogging over churches like Hillsong/North Point/Willow Creek’s production, and wishing they had that money/production quality. I wonder if that is really what it is all about? It seems like church is becoming a show and people continually want to do what they are doing. I know this is cliche to think or say, but it is so true. For decades now we have seen a shift in church and we are now in the middle of a new reformation.
During the first Reformation, theologians began to notice a shift where people were not worshipping because it was all entertainment. The songs were too hard to sing because they were in a different language and also because it was a huge production in this other language – really the only people who were attracted to church were people who understood Latin, were artists, or were musicians who could sing along with the songs. People like Luther, Zwingli, and Calvin began to take notice of this. They saw that people were disconnected from the church because they were not a part of it – there was no participation. These men saw that the gospel was bigger than what the Catholic Church had made it out to be. What it involved was the participation of the people – literally a liturgy or “work done by the people”. Matt spoke about participation in relation to Paul Tillich over on his blog which he linked to Jordan Cooper.
Today, most people cannot remember a sermon beyond the weekend. It doesn’t stick. It is the same with a lot of the songs that we sing; they are difficult to sing or filled with performance and solos. It is a disconnect to people. Maybe the things we sing and hear at church aren’t memorable because they are just regurgitations of what we had sung or heard the week before. Most tell us how to love Jesus, but not why we love Jesus. We are given the steps to loving Jeus, but not the story of how we got to this point in Christianity. How dangerous it is that we are told to love Jesus, but not how to follow him.
So what is the answer to all of this? I don’t know. That’s the beauty of the bloggosphere is that we can pose questions or ideas and see if anybody else has any ideas. I wonder if educating people will help? Maybe helping people discover the Christian story that they are a part of. Talking about the narrative that is the bible. Maybe singing songs that explain what we believe and why. Hymns are a good example of this. If you read some, not all, of the “old hymns of the faith”, some of them truly explain what we believe from everything from the trinity to the atonement to why jesus calls us to serve. These are just a couple of ideas, I’m sure there are tons of ideas. I’m just curious as to how we got to this point and how we can get out of it.
I was reading a passage from a book I never read last semester, The Epistle to the Romans by Karl Barth. Though it is simply a commentary that Barth wrote in 1918, I find myself in many “Holy Crap” moments (some would call these “wow!” moments) while reading this book. I wanted to share this one because I’ve been really wrestling with trying to figure out where western culture went wrong in modernity. Where did we lose Jesus?
“The Gospel is not a religious message to inform mankind of their divinity or to tell them how they may become divine. The Gospel proclaims a God utterly distinct from men. Salvation comes to them from Him, because they are, as men, incapable of knowing Him, and because they have no right to claim anything from Him. The Gospel is not one thing in the midst of other things, to be directly aprehended and comprenended. The Gospel is the Word of the Primal Origin of all things, the Word which, since it is ever new, must ever be received with renewed fear and trembling.
The Gospel is therefore not an event, nor an experience, nor an emotion – however delicate! Rather, it is the clear and objective perception of what eye hath not seen nor ear heard. Moreover, what it demands of men is more than notice, or understanding, or sympathy. It demands participation, comprehension, co-operation; for it is a communication which presumes faith in the living God, and which creates that which it resumes.”
I think that Barth hits one of the many nails on the head when he describes the Gospel that Paul is sharing. I can relate to what we are making the Gospel out to be. Maybe we are making it into an event when we reach to our personal saviors or when we have alter call, rather than trying to simply participate in the story that is the Gospel. Maybe the Gospel is walking with the broken and noticing those who are hurt along the way rather than trying to give them an experience only to walk away from it without having talked to them about what had happened. Any immediate thoughts come to mind?