May 18, 2018

This post is a prayer, most of which I wrote several years ago after another mass shooting. The events that unfolded today hit a bit closer to home for me, mere miles from where my family lives. There are some that say they don’t want to hear about our prayers anymore. That’s understandable, but make no mistake, prayer is vitally important at times like this. They just can’t be the pointless, self-absolving kind that the church is used to praying…. Read more

May 17, 2018

Dear Jonathan, “Enjoy your posts on Worship. I pastor a small traditional Southern Baptist Church that sing only the hymns and do responsive readings every Sunday. We are hoping to replace our aging 1975 Baptist Hymnals. Is there any Hymnal that you could recommend? Any thoughts will be appreciated. Thanks!” Sincerely, Wise Baptist Pastor Greetings, o wise pastor friend. First of all, I’m elated that there are Baptists who are still singing hymns, and even more elated that you are… Read more

May 13, 2018

Mother’s Day is a difficult day for the church. A lot of folks expect a big to-do about the whole Mom’s Day thing. They want to be handed carnations, smile adoringly as the oldest mom present has her yearly moment of glory, hear that awful Proverbs 31 reading, and sing those hymns that might have been mom’s favorite. Then there are those among us, more than most realize, for whom this day is marked with pain, grief, and sadness. Some… Read more

May 6, 2018

A few weeks ago, a woman in a Facebook group pertaining to church music and worship posted a picture of two tickets that she was trying to unload for an upcoming event. A closer look revealed that these were tickets to a Chris Tomlin concert, except it didn’t call itself a concert. The name of the event was “Chris Tomlin Presents Worship Night in America.” And for a price, one could apparently arrange to get in. Wait, wait, wait! Is… Read more

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

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