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« Our Family-of-Faith Convenes | Main | Encouraging American Christians To Reconsider Their Convictions »

May 14, 2005


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The artist probably meant it as an endorsement....but it just looks sad....

Howabout neither endorsement nor indictment... just a description. Maybe God is honored through many forms and styles of worship. At times in my life I've found things of value in that kind of worship, as well as in more contemplative or liturgical settings. And I've also learned the hard way that it is possible to kill other people's passion for worshipping God by being too vocally cynical about the styles of worship that you don't find valuable (but that they perhaps still do.)

There's something to be said for partying in the Spirit, celebrating in a way that moves beyond self-conscious reflection. That doesn't negate other forms of worship. Rik has a variety of paintings that pick up the wonder of the shared meal, and the power of solitude.

Rik Berry in his comments says:

"The atmosphere of freedom in the presence of God is the main feeling of this painting. The world loves freedom, but they do not know God intimately. God in His mystery scares most. Here the Spirit of God like a dove hovering over the gathering makes emphatic the extent and depth of God's love for His children. There is no fear. There is an inner quickening in us that draws us to this place of knowing God intimately, free in His Spirit, and then, sold out to God in servant hood. True worshippers will take His love to the world."

I don't see anyone praying or travailing in that picture, so I don't think it's worship. Actually, it looks like something left over from a Quicksilver Messenger Service promo circa 1968.

i don't really like the picture. but that has little to do with it's message or value, and almost everything to do with my opinion and style.

so in light of that, i think it's cool that people enjoy worship as much as they enjoy a rock concert.

and i think that's part of what this artist is saying.

it reminds me of a scene in Matrix 2...the "worship" in New Zion. However, I do believe that the LORD is honored by the sincerity of the heart, not the beat of the music. The Joy of the Lord is my strength...make a joyful noise unto the LORD...In this frozen snippet of time any praying, travailing might be there, not just then. Actually, I really like the painting.

Looks straight out of the 70's to me, no offense.

It reminds me of a Petra concert that I went to in Colorado Springs in 1983. I remember at the time that I didn't necessarily feel the presence of the Spirit (as depicted in the painting), but I did think that a lot of the kids that were there did.

And, in a more negative vein, I also think it looks a lot like hero worship, which is also the norm in many evangelical churches today. I personally would take a quite Bible study or even a silent Quaker meeting over a loud hero worship meeting. But that's just me. I'm old, you know.



"It reminds me of a Petra concert that I went to in Colorado Springs in 1983. " In high school, I would have thought that you were so cool!

As an old guy coming out of the pagan lifestyle and worldview I had to "learn" "Christian" worship and prayer, for that matter. Although I never really enjoyed rock music I understand the enormous influence modernity has on genre of any particular culture worshiping. In case anyone may be wondering my genre of choice is what is today known as world music or roots music mostly acoustic with a lot of layered percussion and traditional instruments of tribal people. Anyway with the last sentence said the conflict for me has always been why do we think European culture and its corresponding music expressions should be the norm. This painting is powerful; the offence for me lies in the presentation of it potentially being offensive only because the generational conflict is brought to mind. I guess… however the monoculture conflicts are what offend me. For a lot of years I have wondered why the expressions of every tribe and tongue have become ‘whitewashed ’ [pun intended] by Europe’s tribes and their expressions of thankfulness and worship. At this time I am among the Native America people watching what the missionaries did to strip them of their cultural expressions. Many are now in the bitter struggle to express themselves from their hearts and the cultures the Creator formed as a result of Gen.11:1-9 reflected by Paul in Acts 17:22-28.

Many battle the echoed voices of the Euro centric religion forced upon them while the depths cry out to be released. I could go on for many pages - even a book. (which by the way I am working on Basic Scriptural understanding of who we are in Christ remember I am a former pagan not a lapsed prodigal)

Anyway where is the offence in this painting depends who’s eyes are looking upon it!
Pastor Art

Rik Berry's painting conveys two things to me:
1) That a profound sense of God's presence can be experienced outside of church sanctuaries and prescribed liturgies. I think this in one of the realities that Protestant Evangelical worship has highlighted and strengthened.
2) That despite the abovementioned contribution, Protestant Evangelical worship has too frequently become "event" oriented, consumeristic, and focused on those 'leading' (even though those leading have desired otherwise). Nonetheless, God's Spirit has moved and touched lives through these pursuits (it's amazing what God is able to accomplish, considering what he has to work with!). I'm grateful that we live in a day in which God's people are beginning to see the dangers and drawbacks associated with such an expression of worship. The resulting tweaks and changes will undoubtedly be be helpful.

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