Tuesday, June 17, 2008

i have become a cynic.

Last night I went to a young adult "church" experience in Arlington to be able to worship with people that are closer to my age and not in a church so riddled with political issues, like my own. I realized that I have become cynical about most "churchy" things, and I don't know if it's because I have spent three years at a Christian liberal arts college or because I am getting older, or a combination of both. In either case, I am no longer naive and am at least thinking seriously about what sort of church I am willing to attend and into which I am willing to invest my time.

It really surprised me how turned off I was by the big, showy worship and the big, showy sermon. I think this skepticism comes from being at Wheaton, where "simplicity" and, and then naturally following, "authenticity" is...hip...I guess you could say. Not to say that I don't agree with a more simplistic approach to worship, but even that approach is somewhat of a movement in itself. The big, showy style of worship with loud, colorful lights that is full of emotional highs and lows used to be what I preferred, and without that I felt like I wasn't really "getting anything out of" worship. Now, I find I can't really focus on worshipping God at all in that environment because I am so distracted by my own skepticism of whether or not the whole atmosphere is really praising God or our own ability to produce such an emotional worship experience.

Listening to the speaker, who was in general a good speaker and had a good message, I realize that I constantly pick at a speaker's message if he is not already someone I admire or who the powers-that-be at Wheaton have already endorsed. Often, if someone is not associated with Wheaton I am already skeptical. What!? I had not even heard of Wheaton until right before I applied senior year. Before that, I was skeptical of people who were not in our little Christian-Church circle. Have I always been so easily swayed by what the people around me are saying? To a certain extent it is healthy and necessary to look up to your elders and take their advice...but at some point it's important to gather my own opinion. And that is why I came to Wheaton...I felt it was the best place to really formulate my own opinion and worldview, without being "brainwashed" as my dad would like to say.

All in all I'm disappointed with my interaction with church experiences outside of Wheaton. What will I do when I graduate? I think I'm just used to three chapels a week that aren't a big deal because we have so many of them each chapel..."integration of faith and learning" so that I am interacting with my Christian faith every day in...every-day ways. (Not that God is every-day at all...but just not dramatic.) So in a more dramatic worship environment I feel uncomfortable, almost like it is unnecessary for that kind of experience because I am used to encountering God every day...(not that other people do not, obviously...)

I am sure that God will lead me to the place where he wants me and where I will learn to cast off even more of the judgmental attitudes that I have already shed, which I often don't realize that I hold. The most important thing is that wherever someone is preaching in the name of Jesus Christ, the gospel will be preached because God is there regardless whether or not I like the means.

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