Tuesday, June 21, 2011


I'm in the process of finding a new church to attend now that I've left Fundamentalism, and I have to say that it's a much more difficult process. In the past, all I had to do was look up the one or two Independent Fundamental Baptist churches in town, and start attending. Now I have to look at doctrinal statements, listen carefully to sermons, and actually think.

One surprising factor in the complexity of the decision is the multiple services available on Sunday morning. Many churches outside of Fundamentalism offer both a "Contemporary" and a "Traditional" worship service at different times.

Now, when I was a Fundamentalist, "contemporary" was completely out of the question. True Christians didn't worship with a drum set or a praise band. That was "worldly". And some of the evidence used to support the claim was the shallow nature of these worship services (somehow without addressing the often shallow and theologically questionable nature of the music in a Fundamentalist music service. But that's another post.).

Unfortunately, to this point, I have found that many "contemporary" services are indeed shallow. (I'm not sure if it has as much to do with the "contemporary" nature as to the general depth of the average American Christian, however.) So far, "contemporary" seems to mean "poor-quality performance of repetitive meaningless songs by people who are entirely too enamored of their abilities". However, "traditional" seems to mean "funeral dirges sung by sour-faced white-haired people who are not enamored of much of anything." I'm still trying to decide which is the lesser of two evils, and I really wish I didn't have to choose between them. It shouldn't be that way.

The thing that grieves me the most about seeing a church with both a contemporary and traditional worship service is the lack of loving communication that must have driven a church to that point. How can you split the Body into two bleeding halves over something as non-doctrinal as this? The Body needs all its parts. The young believers need the depth and rock-steady faith of the older believers. The older believers need the joy and exuberance of the younger believers. Incorporating both traditional and contemporary elements to the service brings the Body together in love and understanding. There should be co-operation and sharpening of each others talents and abilities, not just playing in our own corners so as not to ruffle any feathers.

The church I found refuge in while transitioning out of fundamentalism was very intentional about music in worship, and I miss that. We had electric bass, djembe drum, and acoustic guitar in the music portion - but they weren't there just to be there, they were used judiciously to support the message of the song. The songs were heavy with doctrine and rarely repetitive. There was usually no "special music", because our pastor wanted to emphasize that no one can stand up front and worship for you. Not that special music was wrong or sinful, it just wasn't what characterized our church because we wanted to emphasize togetherness.

So I'm looking for a meaningful worship service with depth. Not sure where to find it quite yet, but at least I know where *not* to look.

1 comment:

  1. I think music is one of the most unnecessarily divisive issues today. It rises to the level of doctrine in many fundamentalist minds and is worthy of separating over. Very sad.