Friday, March 18, 2005

The Grace Driven Life...

is the title of my book. Or will be (and now it's the title of this blog). And no, it's not a direct response to Rick Warren. It's hopefully less of a response to anybody, other than God, and more my perspective, my attempt to put into words what I believe.

Actually I'm hoping to write a series of entries on what I believe. Because I think I need to get my thoughts in a more concrete form. Right now everything just floats around in my head, some times seriously jumbled. And I think it would be good for me to sort through them and write it all down.

So, I here by make the public proclamation that I am going to attempt to organize this mess and create some kind of semi-formal structure from it. Ben's systematic theology? That's a scary concept...

Here are some potential chapter titles-

"Free Will Versus The Kind You Have To Pay For."
"The Promise Of Eternal Security- Or Why Won't God Leave Me Alone?"
"Predestination By Election: How Many Votes Does It Take?"

I'm open to suggestions if anybody cares to contribute- as long as you keep in mind that the final result has to be what I believe, and may not necessarily be what you believe.

Monday, March 07, 2005

I was gonna' hold out...

a few more days to make it exactly four months, but alas, I couldn't do it. Not that I have anything in particular to say...

I have figured out a big part of why I've been unhappy with church lately (lately being about nine months). Over the last 15 or 20 years many churches have started adding or changing over to a 'contemporary' style of worship (worship referring primarily to a style of music) in the service. For a lot of people, including myself, this was a fresh perspective that added a lot to their experience of God. And we needed to get away from the 'old' ways of doing things- that were, for me, dry, stale, and sometimes irrelevant.

And that was good, for a time. But, for me, after many years in a service that is primarily 'contemporary', I've come to a place where 'contemporary' is becoming 'same-old'- dry, repetitive, and sometimes irrelevant. And I long for some of the traditions of my childhood. Some of the liturgy, some of the hymns, some of the formal structure.

And I long for something else as well- more creativity, and openness, and variety of expressions of worship. I don't remember the last time I heard a poem used in worship. I don't remember the last time worship was a gathering of individuals sharing their individual expressions of worship as a body.

And I'm not sure how my two longings could come together. They almost sound mutually exclusive.

But there I am. I realized some time back that most of my children are growing up with no exposure to great hymns, that have so much depth both scripturally and musically. That makes me sad, because so many of those hymns are very powerful to me. My children are growing up without learning any of the great creeds- My background is The Apostles' Creed - which makes me sad because they don't have this form of basic truths, that I have hidden in my heart, and had opportunity from time to time to draw on.

And of course I miss those things myself. I am not trying to say that my church should be responsible for teaching these things to my children, or that without them my children will have no faith. After all, I have them, and that certainly hasn't made my life free from error. God works as He will, and I am confident that He will, in my children.

And this is not meant as a criticism of my church. While I don't think I'm alone in some of my discomplacency I do think the majority of the folks in our church are happy and getting what they want/need from the service.

And I don't have a solution in sight. I don't really expect to find what I've described, and I have no desire to start my own church. I could be persuaded to participate in an alternative service in my own church, but that's something else entirely.

A lot of words for not having anything to say. Hmm...