Sometimes I talk to our worship community about how we appear on the platform, if the words we are singing are reflected in our body language, in our faces. Here’s a perfect example of why we need to think about this:
The message is "The Wow Starts Now" but none of those mostly-white older men look the least bit enthused. The body language doesn’t match the message. The words talk about amazement and wonder, but those dudes look like they’re bored out of their skulls. You can have the language perfectly scripted and the design perfectly conceived, but if the people presenting the amazement aren’t actually amazed by the product, it’s all in vain.
I agree with you completely! It’s so disheartening for me to see someone on stage that looks like they would rather be anywhere else but there. I’ve had to deal with this situation several times. I think that when we’re engaged in worship and in tune with the Holy Spirit, it’s hard not to see some kind of outward expression. We just need to encourage eachother to try and leave our attitude, problems and concerns at home. Sometimes that’s easier said than done.
These guys have seen the “blue screen of death” once too often.
joshua longbrake says
p soup says
but the only thing worse than being bored is to artificially change your body language to match the message. that kind of veneer is ubiquitous in churches these days.
Benjamin Sternke says
Yup, p soup. The answer is that we need to find a way to be authentically passionate, not just put on a passionate-looking show. Both the artificial veneer and the boredom are symptoms of the fact that we really don’t think that highly of God.
I agree with your point. However, I also notice that sometimes our worship is too uniformly up-beat, and there isn’t room to be authentically sad, doubtful, confused, etc. When I read the Psalms, I see the full range from lament to exaltation. When I go to church, the songs are all in one key, and if it’s not the key I’m living in, it’s hard to enter in. If I choose to sit quietly, it’s not because I’m bored. I’m looking for a way to let the wow touch me where I am today.
Benjamin Sternke says
That’s a great point, Maria – I do think most contemporary worship services are too focused on being peppy and upbeat, to the detriment of allowing people to explore darker emotions.
Brueggemann has a lot to say about such things – his book The Prophetic Imagination was an excellent look at how we actually need to express and experience grief in order to move into true joy and hope. Otherwise the “positiveness” of our services is just whistling in the dark.