What’s Wrong with Worship?

What’s Wrong with Worship? June 23, 2023

Photo by THÁI NHÀN:

A central part of my denomination of origin was the worship service. Through most of human history, there’s been a worshipful element to most spirituality of the world. In its simplest form, worship means bending or bowing.

Although most people understand the pitfalls of a monarchy, we still romantically want to assign this type of relationship to whatever we imagine God to be. Christians use terms like Lord and King. But they don’t generally apply this to the father, but to the son, Jesus.

There are a few places in the New Testament where you could get justification for worshiping Jesus, or seeing him as a king or dictator, or a lord. But being intellectually honest, requires more thought than just blindly accepting these ideas that we inherited from our faith and families.

So, why not worship?

1. Because worshiping Jesus causes us to ignore the things he said.

I don’t want to argue about whether or not Jesus existed, but some of the words that were recorded about him seem to indicate that he was very against lording things over people. He didn’t want that for us and that’s not how he lived his life according to the record we have.

If we look at the words that are recorded closely, we might see things like enlightenment, full humanity, solitude, etc. But worshiping someone, whether it is a king, a president, or a pastor or prophet, causes us to ignore the actual things they have said and the things they have done.

Jesus never acted or talked in a manner that would support us worshiping him. There was only one or two times when he might not have said anything and it was assumed that he would accept worship. People don’t generally ask permission before obsessing like this over a person. We love to imagine that certain people are better than us, but it clouds our intuition and our judgment.

2. Only a narcissist would accept worship.

Some of the wisest people I know are the most humble. They know what they know and they are confident, but they don’t rely on the comments of others. In reality that would be like immaturity and not the mark of wisdom. A perfect Jesus wouldn’t accept the reference of king or lord, because he would know that thinking that way only hurts the worshiper.

We know from various different sources of learning, that elevating people may give us a temporary boost, but after the initial rush, we are left with a diminished view of ourselves. The real leaders, the real wisdom people, and the great healers don’t get off on worship of themselves— the narcissists do

If you want to admire Jesus, the best way would be to celebrate him for who he was, not who you need him to be. From what we can find that was written about him, it seems he was humble and authentic, certainly confident, but not a toddler in charge like the people that need a title and constant praise.

3. Saying “King Jesus” is Bypassing

I was a pastor for 20 years, and before that an unwilling participant in the Southern Baptist Convention. In addition, I studied the Bible vigorously for about three decades. One thing I didn’t realize at the time was the amount of spiritual bypassing that goes on in religious circles.

Listen to a Christian explain life events when you have nothing better to do. As they tell a story that is a good report or where things worked out in their favor, they plug God and Jesus into that situation at various different junctures. It’s a way of giving themselves comfort that God is producing all the good things in their life.

When something negative arrives in their story, they assume that they must have done something wrong. In this case, the scapegoat becomes the devil or their own sinful nature. In both cases, Christians don’t do a very good job of facing reality.

When trauma happens or is triggered, it is quickly stuffed down with platitudes like “God is in control” or “Just Trust Jesus” and the trauma remains unaddressed.

In my opinion, a similar thing happens with worship and using the phrase “King Jesus” because kings can’t be questioned, there is no relationship between peasants and kings, and generally kings don’t really care about the peasants problems or concerns.

In my opinion, a “good” king wouldn’t ever accept the title or the worship.

If we want to use a religious sounding word, I would suggest communion. Again, Kings don’t commune with the normal person, so we’ll have to work hard to change our preconceived ideas. But what if we communed with God and Jesus instead of worshiping.

Worshiping anything is a temporary fix that elevates our emotions. It is one of the things that creates the addiction to religion. But it’s not the real thing, the lasting thing, and the adult thing that communion is.

Ultimate authority is not a noble goal or position to aspire to or claim. A husband, a pastor, a prophet, or a god that exercises and promotes this idea is really insecure and immature, not noble and wise.

If you disagree, please take sometime to think it through before commenting. This is an idea that is deeply ingrained in us. Just look at how the world views the British Monarchy that abused and colonized people of color, yet many Christians still idolize them.

If a god is worth following and if it even exists, then the God, Source, Creator has to be better than us. Otherwise, why do we need them.

Be where you are,
Be who you are,
Be at peace,

Karl Forehand

Photo by THÁI NHÀN: https://www.pexels.com/photo/monk-holding-prayer-beads-across-mountain-2730217/

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