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Old 01-26-2004, 02:32 AM   #1
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Church...

OK, I am Dutch Christian Reformed and have been all my life and have gone to a tradition, conservative church my entire life, so I'm not sure if this applies to other denominations, but please post if you have anything to say!

What are your opinions on:

1. Overhead projectors/PowerPoints in church-

I HATE them!!! I think they are disrespectful. We go to church to listen and pray and mediate. Are we really not able to focus for an hour or two? I can't stand having PowerPoint shows with famous quotes, or the main points of the sermon. I think it's weak. Not to mention I work on computers all day, and often fix or help people create PowerPoints, the LAST thing I want to do on Sunday morning is to watch ANOTHER PowerPoint. I also hate them b/c churches often use them as substitutes for the hymnal. I can't sing hymns without the music, NOT just the words, but the music in front of me.

2. Praise teams-

It depends. I don't like praise teams with singers, mics, and a lot of instruments, b/c I've noticed that in many churches with this, if you take away the noise from the praise team, there's no volume coming from the actual congregation singing. It's also pushing the thin line between a worship service and a show. I don't mind the use of instruments in church services, but I'm not too keen on their being basically a band in front of church.

3. Contemporary music-

I can do without it, ALL of it. I was raised to love the old classic hymns. Last service I attended at my home church, we didn't sing a single song written after 1692. There's just something much more spiritual about a beautiful hymn, with translated lyrics from Latin, and a tune by Tallis, Bach, Beethoven...It seems like the newer songs are so empty, cookie-cutter. Sometimes they're not even theologically correct.


I supposed I should describe my home church services so you know where I'm coming from. Again, I'm CRC, so we have a very structured Order of Worship. Our minister (either Minister or Reverend, NOT Pastor) wears robes and preaches his 45 minute sermon from a pulpit. Our only sacraments are Baptism and Lord's Supper, which we celebrate the first Sunday of each month. I cannot take communion b/c I have not yet made Profession of Faith, which we usually do in the early 20's, after we take all the Catechism classes. We sing traditional hymns from the gray Psalter Hymnal. Our intrument is a huge old pipe organ in the balcony. We have adult choirs that sing VERY old and traditional songs, and some kids choirs. Sometimes there is a violin or flute accompanying. We belive in TULIP and really like the Heidelberg Catechism and sometimes have sermons on it as if it were cannonized scripture. For more, ask me questions or see http://www.calvincrc.org

Now tell me what you think of the three things I've commented on above.
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Old 01-26-2004, 11:59 AM   #2
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Hmm. I don't agree with you so much on a spiritual level, but overall I agree with you.

Powerpoints...there may be a great way to use these, but so far all I've seen is inept third-grader fare. Too many colors, graphics, fonts, and silly tricks to make it the least bit aesthetically pleasing or understandable. Our church has recently got into the whole Powerpoint thing (with the purchase of two very expensive televisions to show them on - and I have plenty to say about that, too) and it's just distracting. Very distracting. The pastor gets distracted by the Powerpoint, and has to fit his sermon to the presentation - usually the two don't match. Granted, he makes both of them, but by the time he gets to preaching I think he's forgotten what all he's put on the Powerpoint. So it's distracting, and a lot of random, "Oh, here's a picture of such-and-such."

One Sunday the Powerpoint wasn't working for whatever reason, and he spoke so much better.

As far as praise teams...yeah, it too often becomes a band. And it's just complicated. More complicated than I have time to think about now. So...yes...that one gets another point for being distracting and irritating.

Contemporary music I'm not completely against, but I'm probably against most of it. I'm against cheesy choruses regardless of the year they were written. Also, too many churchs *coughminecough* are trying to go strictly contemporary and it's just...blah. Bad. Frustrating. Weak. Yes.

I don't know if I'd say any of those things is BAD - but it shouldn't be done in every church because "that's what the popular churches are doing." If it's RIGHT for your church...and is done well...more power to you. But it's not for every church, and the pressure to make it so is ridiculous.
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Old 01-26-2004, 12:03 PM   #3
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LivLuvAndBootlegMusic

All excellent points. I was not raised in the church, but now attend a Presbyterian church (and will be an elder shortly). Our church sounds fairly similar to yours.

To your points:

1. We installed projection screens in our sanctuary a couple of years ago. Many of us are still unhappy with how they are used. It has limited advantages for mission reports or other visual communication, which has an impact far beyond the spoken word.

Hymn lyrics are projected on the screens. I still sing from the hymnal and don't like "singing from the screen".

Shortly after the screens were installed, our senior pastor projected the Scripture verses on the screens. This REALLY got us upset. We want people to be in the habit of bringing their own Bibles and opening and reading from their Bibles. Reading from the screen undercuts these goals.

2. Praise teams. We have a contemporary service on Saturday night with a Praise team. When I teach on Saturday, and hear the Praise team warming up in the Sanctuary, it does sound like a concert. Our church is currently evaluating our Saturday service.

3. Contemporary music. I also prefer traditional hymns. They are rich in Biblical truth and are a wonderful combination of praise/worship and thinking about Who God is. Contemporary music tends to play to the emotional side of worship, not the intellectual side of worship.

The only requirements for worship are that worship must be done in Spirit and in Truth. It can be done with contemporary music. I have found it is most successful when the congregation learns what the words mean. Even simple terms like "Holy" or "Hallelujah".
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Old 01-26-2004, 12:05 PM   #4
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I found this joke shows how lovers of traditional hymns view contemporary music and how lovers of contemporary music view traditional hymns:

An old farmer went to the city one weekend and attended the big city church. He came home and his wife asked him how it was. “Well,” said the farmer, “it was good. They did something different, though. They sang praise choruses instead of hymns.” “Praise choruses?” said his wife. “What are those?” “Oh, they’re OK. They are sort of like hymns, only different,” said the farmer. “Well, what’s the difference?” asked his wife. The farmer said, “Well, it’s like this — if I were to say to you: ‘Martha, the cows are in the corn’ — well that would be a hymn. If, on the other hand, I were to say to you:

‘Martha, Martha, Martha,
oh Martha, MARTHA, MARTHA
the cows, the big cows, the brown cows, the black cows
the white cows,
the black and white cows,
the COWS, COWS, COWS
are in the corn,
are in the corn, are in the corn, are in the corn,
the CORN, CORN, CORN’

Then, if I were to repeat the whole thing two or three times, then that would be a praise chorus.”

The next weekend, his nephew, a young, new Christian from the city came to visit and attended the local church. He went home and his mother asked him how it was.

“Well,” said the young man, it was good. They did something different, though. They sang hymns instead of regular songs.” “Hymns?” said his mother. “What are those?” Oh, they’re OK. They are sort of like regular songs, only different,” said the young man. “Well, what’s the difference?” asked his mother.

The young man said, “Well, it’s like this — if I were to say to you, ‘Martha, the cows are in the corn’ — well, that would be a regular song. If, on the other hand, I were to say to you:

‘Oh Martha dear Martha, hear thou my cry
Inclinest thine ear to the words of my mouth
Turn thou thy whole wondrous ear by and by
To the righteous, inimitable, glorious truth.

For the way of the animals who can explain
There in their heads is no shadow of sense
Hearkenest they in God’s sun or His rain
Unless from the mild, tempting corn they are fenced.

Yea those cows in glad bovine, rebellious delight
Have broke free their shackles, their warm pens eschewed
Then goaded by minions of darkness and night
They all my mild Chilliwack sweet corn have chewed.

So look to the bright shining day by and by
Where all foul corruptions of earth are reborn
Where no vicious animals make my soul cry
And I no longer see those foul cows in the corn.’

Then if I were to do only verses one, three and four and do a key change on the last verse, well, that would be a hymn.”
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Old 01-26-2004, 01:01 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally posted by nbcrusader

3. Contemporary music. I also prefer traditional hymns. They are rich in Biblical truth and are a wonderful combination of praise/worship and thinking about Who God is. Contemporary music tends to play to the emotional side of worship, not the intellectual side of worship.
Yes. And with my faith, I tend to focus on the theological rather than spiritual. That's just who I am, I'm not a very outwardly emotional person.

Also, about the projection screens, I'd like to add that my church printes photocopies of the hymns each week in large print for those who can't see very well, and we have speciall hook ups in some of the pews for the hearing impaired. I don't think projectors or PowerPoints have ANY place in the church service. They are fine for youth group, meetings, or other presentations, but I cannot see why they should be a part of worship.

I like your joke, too, the first half of course. It's true, I often feel like I'm singing the same thing over and over when singing a contemporary song. I honestly feel embarrased when singing some of them b/c they are so shallow.
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Old 01-26-2004, 01:13 PM   #6
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I recall on speaker asking a good question: when does repetitive singing end and a mantra begin? Mindless repetition of words doesn't seem like worship to me.
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Old 01-26-2004, 01:32 PM   #7
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My oh my.....I have to admit that I find these complaints a little curmudgeony....
Personally, I feel there is a place for both contemporary and traditional hymns to be sung. Age doesn't necessarily equal execellence and although some of the "worship" songs are a bit cliched and repetitvie...there are alot of hymns that commit other sins...like "god is on our side" and christianity=war.
Also, I think that powerpoints can be effective. Our age is a visual age and I think that the powrepoints serve as reminders of points of the sermon.
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Old 01-26-2004, 01:44 PM   #8
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Not all hymns are perfect - "God on our side" is theologically incorrect. The picture of war likely references the struggle against sin and Satan.
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Old 01-26-2004, 03:17 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally posted by nbcrusader
I recall on speaker asking a good question: when does repetitive singing end and a mantra begin? Mindless repetition of words doesn't seem like worship to me.
I've found myself asking this very same question. The contemporary services I've been to seem to lack a lot of thought.

I think it's hard for something like religion to catch up to the world of technology and visualization. I think some are trying with desperation but fail.

I think the traditional service seems a little stale and too regiment, but I also think the contemporary services lack soul. I went to 3 U2 concerts during Elevation and have been to hundreds of church services since that tour, I'm still more moved by the three concerts.
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Old 01-26-2004, 05:55 PM   #10
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The general issue I have with contemporary services is that they often lack any original content. They're great services for people who haven't been exposed to Christianity their entire lives, or people who just became Christian. I, however, have been attending a Christian school and church school since I was four. I prefer my minister to be very well-spoken and scholarly, to give new insight and new meaning or interpretations rather than preach the same verses and main points of our faith over and over. I like that he knows Hebrew and other ancient languages, so he can read the Bible from a more original source. Testimonies are great, but I've seen over and over young men and women who feel inspired by the Spirit to get up and preach a sermon, but they have nothing theologically sound to offer.

I guess I'm really interested in specifics. For example, I learned that some of the Bible stories I'd been told since birth were incorrect. For example, David didn't hit Goliath in the head with his stone, he shot him in the privates, and when Goliath keeled over in pain, David lopped his head off. The Battle of Jericho most likely never happened, it's just an analogy. The Flood story as told in Genesis is probably a reinterpretation of what we would consider a "pagan" flood story including the pagan god Ba'al. The wise men and shepherds often depicted in Christmas plays and nativity scenes are from two completely different birth narratives, neither of which mention the other. Zaccheus may not have been the "wee little man", it may have been Jesus who was too short to be seen.

My boyfriend's dad is a CRC minister and he said to us "some churches are meant for new Christians who are still working on the ABCs, but you guys are past that and need to find a place that focuses on the XYZs."
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Old 01-26-2004, 06:03 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally posted by popsadie
Age doesn't necessarily equal execellence
I'd also like to say that it's not just the lyrics I have beef with. A lot of contemporary songs are musically worthless or musically make no sense as far as chord progressions. A lot of older hymns are composed by great composers like Bach, Tallis, Handel....I don't have my Psalter handy so that's all I'll list for now. I suppose this would be of less significance to someone who's not as into music as myself, but I feel like there's something more reverent about these hymns.
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Old 01-26-2004, 06:06 PM   #12
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Hm.

Powerpoints -can- be effective. The problem is...there need to be Powerpoint Laws made, seriously. It's not a problem unique to churches. I've had college professors who got a little bit too happy with the colors and fonts and random graphics. If it detracts from your content...why? Just...why?

It's a matter of how they're used, more than WHERE they're used, I think. God isn't any more...present in church than he is here right now. The problem is when you have to read the Powerpoint IN SPITE OF the Powerpoint to see what it's saying.
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Old 01-26-2004, 06:17 PM   #13
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One of the big problems with screens and Powerpoint presentations, is that it entices a minister to rely on the visual to create an impact in a sermon. A sermon does not need the visual flourishes or "boy and his dog" stories to be effective. The power of God's Word stands alone.
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Old 01-26-2004, 06:39 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally posted by nbcrusader
One of the big problems with screens and Powerpoint presentations, is that it entices a minister to rely on the visual to create an impact in a sermon. A sermon does not need the visual flourishes or "boy and his dog" stories to be effective. The power of God's Word stands alone.
Exactly. Our current minister is amazing and extremely intellectual. He's been published numerous times. His sermons are always catchy and very researched. I can't even imagine what a power point would do to enhance or bring more credibility to his sermons.
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Old 01-26-2004, 06:45 PM   #15
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LivLuvAndBootlegMusic,

If I am ever in your area, I'm gonna ask you for church recommendations...
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