So, my quest to resolve the Church Question has ended in failure. There are only a couple of congregations within fifty miles of where I live that do not have abominable ‘Contemporary Worship’ of some kind. Of course, there are Orthodox parishes, and even the occasional Roman Catholic pavilion, where one can find refuge from this blight, but if one is not inclined to do more than visit them, then they do not provide an answer. All I can conclude, given the ever greater popularity of ‘Contemporary Worship’, and it’s bastard offspring ‘Blended Worship’, is that God has given us Christians exactly what we wanted. That’s what wrath is, you see – it’s not a tsunami in the back yard, but being handed over to our own infantile desires. We have gotten what we wanted, and that’s not good news.
Yes, we’re under wrath my friends, we Christians in this part of the world, and I see no end in sight. The Holy Spirit has fled and left us to our own devices, and what devices they are. We imagine we are ‘vibrant’, ‘warm’, ‘contemporary’, ’emergent’, ‘open’, ‘inclusive’, ‘welcoming’, precisely to the extent that we are none of that and less. What’s so striking, though, in all of this is that it’s so, well, so stupid. ‘Contemporary Worship’, especially in a liturgical gaggle such as the Anglicans or Lutherans, is nothing other than an empty display of infantile delusion and desire. It’s stupid – it lacks a foundation in either rigorous doctrine or historic practice, and can only be defended by the most tendentious and patently ignorant arguments. I’m sick of trying to refute the canard that Luther used tavern songs as the basis for his hymns. I have lost all interest in parrying the assertion that the Church as ‘always drawn from the surrounding culture’, which anyone with a cursory knowledge of history and the ability to think it through at around the third grade level would know is simply false. Now, one may understand that and not like it. So be it. But no one with anything beyond the reasoning and reading ability of an infant could make such an argument with a straight face.
Unless of course they knew it was false and simply wanted to railroad the discussion in their direction. I won’t be cynical enough to suggest this happens all that much. Still, in a perverse way it would make me feel better, inasmuch as it would imply that seemingly smart people don’t really become morons when it comes to matters of worship.
Worship of God, you see, is communion in the Body and Blood of Jesus, and all classical liturgies share a basic shape that coalesces around that. The synaxis, or gathering, of Christians for the Eucharist is the heart of the Church, and that’s the end of it. Those who ‘disagree’ with that are wrong, and that’s the end of that as well. Why we insist on arguing about this must remain a mystery. But, we do so insist. We want to be fractious, chattering pinheads, each asserting our own will and desire, and that is precisely what we’ve gotten – not the ‘One holy, catholic, and apostolic Church’, but an endlessly proliferating petri dish of angry adolescents desperate to ‘do church’ in their own way. We have, again, gotten what we wanted.
Again, that is called ‘being under wrath’. We do not have the Mind of Christ, we instead have our various vapid ‘minds’ careening endlessly in a kind of Brownian Motion. And how can we have the mind of Christ when we do not love either him or each other? We don’t love him, that is obvious, and we certainly hate one another, however much we may like one another from time to time. So, we can never confess with one mind the True Faith. We hate even being told that there might be such a thing as the True Faith in the first place.
[Don’t think the Orthodox get off easy here – they’re flying apart as well. Wrath looks different for them, to be sure, but with all these ‘converts’ setting up their own faux evangelical fiefdoms in the various ‘autocephalus’ jurisdictions here in the US, it’s just a matter of time until the complete meltdown occurs. As for the Roman Catholics, I don’t see how they’re immune to the infections of the varied Protestants.]
God has handed us over to our various insipid desires. The Holy Spirit has left us in the cold. We are on our own, folks, because that is exactly what we wanted.