Voices: Repetition in Worship

Another good point from James K. A. Smith, this time about the purpose of repetition in worship.

If you think of worship as a bottom-up, expressive endeavor, repetition will seem insincere and inauthentic. But when you see worship as an invitation to a top-down encounter in which God is refashioning your deepest habits, then repetition looks very different: it’s how God rehabituates us. In a formational paradigm, repetition isn’t insincere, because you’re not showing, you’re submitting. This is crucial because there is no formation without repetition. Virtue formation takes practice, and there is no practice that isn’t repetitive. We willingly embrace repetition as a good in all kinds of other sectors of our life—to hone our golf swing, our piano prowess, and our mathematical abilities, for example. If the sovereign Lord has created us as creatures of habit, why should we think repetition is inimical to our spiritual growth? [1]

[1] James K. A. Smith,You Are What You Love: The Spiritual Power of Habit (Grand Rapids, Michigan: Baker Publishing Group, 2016), 80, Kindle.

Voices: Worship Is Where God Works On Us

My theological book study group recently read You Are What You Love by James K. A. Smith. He makes this important point:

“Worship is the arena in which God recalibrates our hearts, reforms our desires, and rehabituates our loves. Worship isn’t just something we do; it is where God does something to us. Worship is the heart of discipleship because it is the gymnasium in which God retrains our hearts.” [1]

One of the ways worship is a gymnasium in which God retrains our heart is through repetition. Just as repetition is important in learning to play an instrument or mastering a sport, so repetition is important in shaping us as faithful disciples of Jesus Christ.

[1] James K. A. Smith,You Are What You Love: The Spiritual Power of Habit (Grand Rapids, Michigan: Baker Publishing Group, 2016), 77, Kindle.

Youth Practice Random Acts of Kindness

This month the youth have been talking about kindness and so last Wednesday, September 18, the youth provided ice cream to people dining at McDonalds and Burger King.

Pictured above from left to right: Jensen Woodworth, Carson Woodworth, Miller Unruh, Jack Hunter, Braden Adams, Joy Clemence, Ethan Gonzales, Jackson Green, Tyler Green, Lillian Hoffman, Liz Collins, and Anna Shafer.

Voices: Texts and Interpretations

“[Wise souls are] aware that the texts of Scripture, on the one hand, and the interpretive process, on the other, are not the same thing. They recognize that Christians fiercely committed to Christ, Scripture and truth, frequently do differ. They acknowledge that anyone’s interpretation of a text or an issue at any given moment may turn out to be quite wrong. They understand therefore that humility and charity are called for when engaging in theological and moral argument.” — David P. Gushee [1]

[1] David P. Gushee, Changing Our Mind: Definitive 3rd Edition of the Landmark Call for Inclusion of LGBTQ Christians with Response to Critics (Canton, Michigan: Read the Spirits Books, 2017), chap. 9, Kindle.

Chewing Gum, Walking, and 2 Corinthians

As I mentioned last Sunday, we are behind in our giving for the funding of our 2019 Plan for Mission and Ministry (our budget). We are by no means alone. I don’t know of a United Methodist Church that isn’t struggling this year. Nonetheless, we’re taking up a special offering for UMCOR* Hurricane Relief this Sunday. We’re doing so because we believe we can walk and chew gum at the same time. We’re doing so because our stuggle is nothing compared to the suffering of hurricane victims. We’re doing so because of the example of the churches of Macedonia:

“1 Brothers and sisters, we want to let you know about the grace of God that was given to the churches of Macedonia. 2 While they were being tested by many problems, their extra amount of happiness and their extreme poverty resulted in a surplus of rich generosity. 3 I assure you that they gave what they could afford and even more than they could afford, and they did it voluntarily.” — 2 Corinthians 8:1-3 (CEB)

I’m certain that Macedonian’s poverty was far worse than anything we can imagine and yet they gave generously. We can give to UMCOR and fund our work as a local congregation. Christ calls us to do both. Let us give generously.

*The United Methodist Committee on Relief

Public Wi-Fi Password

It appears that someone recently pulled their vehicle underneath the overhang in the east parking lot (probably to use the free Wi-Fi). I’m fine with that. But they tossed their ciggarette butts on the ground in the parking lot, with which I am not fine. For that reason, there is now a password on the Free Public WIFI network at the church. “John.Wesley” (without quotes) is the password.

Update: Please note the dot ( . ) between “John” and “Wesley.”

Verses: When You Give to the Poor

2 “Whenever you give to the poor, don’t blow your trumpet as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets so that they may get praise from people. I assure you, that’s the only reward they’ll get. 3 But when you give to the poor, don’t let your left hand know what your right hand is doing 4 so that you may give to the poor in secret. Your Father who sees what you do in secret will reward you. — Matthew 6:2-4 (CEB)