When I wrote my earlier post on the good versus bad trends toward casual church services, I think we spent too much time on the issue of clothes. While torn jeans and exposed shirt-tails are certainly a visual indicator of the trend, for me it’s much more than the way we (or a pastor) dresses. I’m looking at the overall experience. When the worship experience becomes too casual, where is the mystery? I really think there should be a place for the transcendent in worship, and to be honest, I don’t see much of it in churches today.
The Catholic Church has continued their traditions right down to the incense, and I find that somewhat appealing (and so do thousands of Christians moving to a more liturgical tradition.) Certainly the ultimate goal is a powerful encounter with the divine, and playing “dress up” doesn’t accomplish that. But are we missing something in contemporary worship?
A few years ago, theologian and pastor Eugene Peterson said, “I don’t think a whole lot of people care about what kind of music you have or how you shape a service. They want a place where God is taken seriously, and where they are taken seriously.”
People are saved and ministered to in all kinds of situations – from a high church experience to prison cells or nightclubs. But should pastors and church leaders at least aim for a more transcendent experience? Should church be the same look and feel we can find at the mall?