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September 23, 2005

Connections is a monthly newsletter available on the internet, written by United Methodist layperson Barbara Wendland. She has a theological education from Perkins and lifelong commitments to the church. More importantly, she has the ability to ask piercing qustions about life in the church. I strongly recommend subscribing to her monthly newsletter. In the latest issue, she writes:

Individualized corporate worship?
How important is that? Worship is
giving ourselves, not being nurtured,
so in a sense, personal preferences
don’t matter. The focus belongs on God,
not on us. But in another sense personal characteristics
matter a lot, because we can’t give what we don’t
have. We can’t give something that’s not our real self.
What’s the solution, then, for those of us for whom
many parts of typical worship services are obstacles?
Should we simply attend them anyway, to help make
them available for the people who find them helpful?
Is it inappropriate to even consider individual preferences
for corporate worship? Is it a contradiction in
terms, to speak of what one Connections reader referred
to as “individualized corporate worship”? If worship
is corporate, maybe we shouldn’t expect individual
likes and dislikes to be considered. That’s evidently
how Christians functioned in earlier times. Have
we simply become too picky about worship now, along
with wanting six scents and nine colors
and three textures to choose from when
we buy bath soap? These questions
are important to ask in our churches.

Check it out today.

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