Scot McKnight thinks that much of what we call "worship" is actually something called "spiritual eroticism."
Essentially it is being in love with the experience of loving God as opposed to being in love with God himself, preferring "the titillation of fantasy over the toughness of fidelity." Such people want to ache with longing, but once they are actually in the presence of the Beloved, they quickly lose interest. They try to re-capture the passionate emotions of longing for God, but really they do not desire or love God. They love loving God. They live for the experience of it. They love being in church and they love praising God and they love the sound of a worship band that can create sounds and textures that take them to the heights of passion.
But the problem is that none of those things have anything to do with worship.
Intrigued? Scot's article brilliantly and briefly exposes the problem and prescribes a solution.
Josh Hawkins says
OK I get it. I’ve seen it. I’ve done it at times, and it needs to be addressed…..but…. I worry about this discussion. God wants us to enjoy loving Him. In fact he commands it. If you are doing it right you WILL love loving God! This is one I’ll have to chew on. Gee thanks Ben!
Ben Sternke says
There was a comment on Scot’s article that said had similar cautions. He said he knew for sure it was a problem, but didn’t want the backlash to end up sacrificing intimacy with God. Perhaps the opposite extreme to avoid is spiritual stoicism, where we try to AVOID any kind of enjoyment in worship.
My synopsis of the article is a bit more “hard-hitting” than Scot’s, so perhaps it stirred things up a bit. I agree that enjoyment of God is certainly not a bad thing, but you have to admit that it’s really easy to think we’re enjoying God when we’re just enjoying feelings of enjoyment.
In sum, we ought to seek God and welcome enjoyment of the pursuit when it comes, but also continue to seek God (not pleasure) when our pursuit is less enjoyment-filled.