Low Sodium Christianity (Part 2) – Iodized or Watered Down? Tonja Condray Klein 09/30/04 – Revised & Uploaded 11/06/16
I think what bothers me the most about going to church these days is how it’s become a ‘program’ instead of an honest time spent in God’s presence with fellow believers. Not too long ago, things were different. People went to service (which wasn’t ‘timed’ so another one could begin an hour and a half later), enjoyed a good round of praise and worship music (hymns and choruses so there was something for all ages), rejoiced with praise reports from other members (sometimes as inspiring as the sermon), gave tithes and offerings (without feeling like the money simply went for more impressive interior sparkles for show), listened to a sermon that was based upon scripture from the Bible (not the latest theological book by the most popular spiritual guru at the time), and then had a time of prayer together at the altar (something that can’t even be found in many modern churches today). People’s needs were then brought before the congregation so they could agree together for the answers. You knew you had been involved in something orchestrated by God before you left.
I know that as the times change, Christians need to find new ways to reach out to people individually. I’m all for creative Children Church curriculum, upbeat Youth Group activities, or even more comparative Adult Bible studies, but we have to be careful not to take the ‘inspiration’ out of these meetings, or all we end up with are social gatherings that have nothing to do with spiritual growth. I love music, have written Gospel songs and sung in churches since I was ten years old, but it seems a person has to be ‘voice-trained’ in order to even get on the platform at some of the larger churches these days, and that’s just wrong. At one of the churches I used to attend in my teenage years, there was an elderly lady who had a gravely voice that wouldn’t have won her any awards, but she sang often, and there was a very good reason for it. Now there would be many in charge of ‘music ministry’ today that wouldn’t even let her join the choir, let alone sing solo on Sunday mornings, because they only look for a ‘performance’. The woman was one of the most anointed singers I’ve ever heard, and the tears would flow down my face when she’d sing about the love of our Savior, because it was God’s power that came through her voice and touched my heart. I would rather hear her sing like that than listen to all of the ‘talented’ people who stand with a mic in most contemporary churches each Sunday now.
I remember plays done for special occasions, sermons preached for certain times of year, and songs sung because members requested them all the time, but they weren’t carved into stone or done just to ‘bring in a crowd’. We didn’t have a ‘schedule’ done for three months in advance; we let God guide the pastor in his sermons and the musicians in their songs. I’m not saying that there shouldn’t be some organization. I’m just saying that there needs to be room for Divine alterations. Sometimes a person would come into our church that had specific needs. Worship songs, or even special music, would be changed at the last minute by the person singing or even the pastor because they felt led to do it. Sometimes we didn’t understand why until that person in need would come to the altar to pray, all because of what was said or sung. You see; the whole point of being in church isn’t just to mark it on your little checklist of ‘Christian Things To Do’. It’s to minister to one another, reach out to those who are hurting, and take time to let people know that they are not alone in the trials of this life. If something doesn’t help do that, it should be cast aside. It’s all right to try different things that line up with the Word of God, but we need to be careful to not let it become salt substitute when what is really needed is real salt – variety is the spice of life, but we can’t afford to lose our savor trying to be trendy.
Meetings scheduled just to get together to eat instead of share Communion won’t cut it. Humorous anecdotes will never be as enlightening as reading scripture. In-home weekly discussion groups will never be as uniting as praying together at an altar. It’s not that these things are wrong within themselves; it’s just that they’ve taken over the real reasons for being at church. We’ve become so focused on making church ‘convenient’ for everyone that we’ve forgotten that it should be challenging us to become better people. Every time we step out of the sanctuary, we should feel like God inspired that service just to speak to us. It should not be rote. It should not be ritual. It should be a chance for us to have an uplifting experience together, praising God for His blessings, bearing one another’s burdens through His love, and letting Him touch our lives in a way that we can’t ignore. I know that we serve God at home, but we come together to worship Him. Shouldn’t we be more concerned with making Him feel welcomed in our services than us making it home on time to watch football or cook dinner? Our Eternal Creator has made so many wonderful, beautiful, and interesting things. Don’t you think He has just as a diverse palate as we do? We don’t like to be bored ourselves. Isn’t it possible that He gets tired of services that are put on as a ‘show’, without any depth of emotion or real desire for change from people involved? We are supposed to be following His passionate example. We should consider this every time we’re tempted to just ‘make things entertaining’ instead if CHALLENGING.
Only SALT can heal the wounds, remove the infection, take away the pain, and help us get used to the taste of God’s Divine Provision instead of trying to do it all by ourselves.
*** All Pictures and Text except for Bible references are owned by Tonja Condray Klein and used for this info website in 2010–16 ***