Ok, as a music lover, and friend to many of the same, I’ve noticed a pattern. Maybe you’ll know what I’m talking about. Ever heard someone say, “Yeah, their just too mainstream for me,” when asked about a certain band? A certain band that based on their preferences, you would assume they’d love. A band that you love, and you know just how great they really are. You’re shot down based on a reaction to what the world around them says rather than how they really feel about it. This is the opposite of the traditional- denying you like something based on the fact that it’s not considered cool. It is a trendy elitist attitude of “The masses find it appealing- so I’m over it”. Bottom line- it’s reactionary.
I feel like this same attitude is seeping into worship, church, and spirituality as a whole. We are turned off by traditions that seem meaningless, and monotonous so we wipe them out entirely. Or we get tired of worship being one way, so we start a worship team that does the opposite. Unfortunately much of what gets started in the church is reactionary; reactionary spirituality is unbalanced, lacking, and often judgmental of the “other” side.
That which starts out of a frustration with happy, shallow, feel good worship becomes travailing, depressing worship.
That which starts out of a frustration with fire & brimstone, condemning sermons becomes seeker friendly, shallow sermons.
That which starts out with a frustration with tradition becomes completely lacking in any sacredness, any history, any connection with our beginnings as a church.
I could go on all day. Reactionary spirituality is not authentic, and it’s only attractive to those that share the reaction. We should not eliminate tradition; we simply need new outlooks on it. Worship is multi faceted, balance is required between rejoice & lament. Reactionary spirituality is about what you’ve experienced somewhere else, incorporating your baggage into how you do things. Balanced spirituality requires you to lay down self; isn’t that what Jesus said he wanted?