Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Monks are Hard Core... the lost pages.

After my sabbatical, I wrote a series of blog posts titled, "Monks are hard core: Lessons Learned from spending a few days with the Monks in the Abbey of Gethsemani." Most of them were from thoughts journaled while I was at the Abbey. Some were turned into blogs, others were left to rot in my journal. This is one of the thoughts that went to rot... but has now has resurfaced.

My first post in that series, I began by laying out the "typical monk day." And when I say "typical," what I mean is EVERY. SINGLE. DAY. 

For monks, there is something spiritual about the discipline of repetition and of meeting God in the plain. The ordinary. The routine. You see this reflected in their practice of the Divine Office. They gather together 7 times a day and they (mostly) chant the Psalms. It's not all that pretty. They are not great singers. The songs are not catchy... in fact, as tunes they are really pretty bad. Yet they do it. Hour after hour. Day after day. Week after week. Year after year. Nothing fancy. No worship design meetings. I don't think they practice. They just do it. And somehow they claim to meet God in those moments. Because God is there and they are attentive to him.

When did our worship services become productions? And who are we trying to impress?

Now, I like productions. And I'm guilty as charged for doing worship planning meetings and trying to be creative. And we spend a lot of time "preparing" for our weekly worship at Central. And I love that.

But was it always like this? 

I visited several churches over my sabbatical. In my lifetime, probably dozens and dozens. Some of them with the robes, smells and bells. And some of them with a new modern liturgy... 3-5 worship songs, (usually 3 fast, 2 slow), then some announcements, then a video while they transition to the message, a teacher who OBVIOUSLY put a ton of time into preparing the message, an offering, closing song. There are screens. Lights. Sometimes fog and really fancy lights. Stage sets. Themes. Props.

When did this happen? 

And what are our motivations?

And if we just gathered in a room and sang a couple of songs, someone taught, we opened our bibles and shared what we learned throughout the week -- would everyone leave? 

Probably so.

Would people would leave for the "better show" down the street? 

Most definitely. 

But when did "church" become so programed? When did we become so cool? When did we lose our "weird?" 

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