May 5, 2018

All the heroes and legends I knew as a child have fallen to idols of clay And I feel this empty place inside so afraid that I’ve lost my faith. -Styx, “Show Me the Way” I usually write about worship, liturgy, church music, and megachurch culture. So when I occasionally delve into something else, it comes as as bit of a surprise to my regular readers. “Stick to worship, Jonathan,” is the way one faithful reader phrased his protest. Duly… Read more

May 4, 2018

Maybe you’ve seen the results of Truett Seminary’s survey on effective preachers. Truett, located on the campus of my alma mater, Baylor University, surveyed 500 professors of homiletics, and named 12 preachers as the most effective in the English-speaking world today. Frankly, the results of this survey demonstrate the sad state of preaching. If these results were dictated by the average megachurch attendees I wouldn’t have been so surprised, and certainly not as disturbed. But these names were chosen by… Read more

April 24, 2018

I received this comment on my recent post: A Call To Reject Orgasmic Worship and Return To Liturgy. My name is Jason Houtsma and I actually wrote that set list guide for Worship Artistry. One of our members brought this article to my attention and while I agree with some of your points, I think you have unintentionally misrepresented the Worship Artistry community in your article. As you mentioned in one of your comments, context matters and I might suggest… Read more

April 21, 2018

Guest post by Les Lamkin. I briefly attended a church that, every few weeks, would drag a kiddie pool onto the stage, fill it with water and offer impromptu baptisms. One Sunday morning after such a session, the assistant pastor and I talked about their approach to baptism. She said, “We can’t find anywhere in scripture that says you must go through a class before being baptized, so anyone who wants to be baptized gets baptized.” Are the Catholics, Orthodox… Read more

April 21, 2018

BURIAL OF THE DEAD, RITE ONE Anthems “Nearer, My God, to Thee” arr. John Gardner “My Country, ‘Tis of Thee” arr. Mack Wilberg sung by St. Martin’s Parish Choir Hymn 390 “Praise to the Lord” RECEPTION OF THE BODY The Celebrant meets the body at the door of the church and says With faith in Jesus Christ, we receive the body of our sister Barbara Pierce Bush for burial. Let us pray with confidence to God, the Giver of life,… Read more

April 20, 2018

Worship: A Prelude to What? I don’t use the term “orgasmic” to be unnecessarily graphic or crude. Though I’m not reaching for shock value, the comparison between modern worship and sexual intimacy might be shocking. Good. It should be shocking. Because what is passing for worship in many of Christianity’s largest churches is nothing more than a pseudo-sexual experience. The comparison is nothing new. Even when I was growing up in an evangelical, ultra-cool megachurch youth group, contemporary worship detractors… Read more

April 18, 2018

If there’s one thing commercial Christian “worship” music does well, it’s mixing metaphor. There’s one “artist” who does it in nearly every song he writes. I’d tell you his name, but it always makes people mad and gets me lots of hate comments. So let’s just call him Thris Comlin. My all-time favorite: “And like a flood, his mercy reigns…” Um…wait…what? Shockingly, contemporary worshipers are often so quick to gloss over this sort of laziness, as if it contains some… Read more

April 8, 2018

I’ve always loved the story of Jesus appearing to Thomas. Maybe it’s because of the skeptic in me. Growing up in the megachurch movement, I watched thousands of people around me every Sunday, swallowing a self-help gospel hook, line, and sinker. It wasn’t the Joel Osteen style, “you were born to win” sort of self-help gospel. I think that’s what it was so easy to digest to the usual churchy, Christian crowd. (By the way, despite what the megachurch movement… Read more

April 3, 2018

This Sunday was my 34th time to hear an Easter sermon. Well, I was probably in the nursery for the first couple, but still, I’m assuming I caught a word or two at least. I’ve heard some great Easter sermons, including one just two days ago. I’ve heard some awful ones, too. Some have been pretty short, others far too long. But they’ve all had this one thing in common. They’ve all been preached by men. Every single one. Not… Read more

March 31, 2018

13. I tell you what, our jesusy cover band is making Easter great again! 12. How about that, folks? Risen savior, $1.98 piano. 11. You officially suck as a human being. 10. We’ve misplaced our offering plates, so we’ll be passing KFC buckets. 9. Does this alb make my chasuble look fat? 8. Because we want to be seeker-sensitive for all of you who don’t regularly join us, I will now do a dramatic reading of the classic children’s book,… Read more

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