Wednesday, February 01, 2006

The Rabbit Hole

"This is your last chance. After this, there is no going back.
You take the blue pill and the story ends. You wake in your bed and you believe whatever you want to believe.

You take the red pill and you stay in Wonderland and I show you how deep the rabbit hole goes.

Remember that all I am offering is the truth.
Nothing more."

"The Matrix"

"After this, there is no going back"... If you have seen the Matrix, you realize that once you leave it, that you can't just go back. Besides, why would you? In this fictional world, why would you go back after you know the truth about where you have been? It's not so much that where you are is Nirvana, but now you feel like you are where you are supposed to be, so why would you go back?

I've considered this many times in the last few months. Knowing what I know now, what would I do if I were faced with a decision to "go back". There was a time when I would have ran back as quickly as possible, but now I know a little more of the picture. I am seeing the world through my eyes, less hindered by filters that have been there for years. I can see.

Not unlike Neo in "The Matrix", when I first started looking around without the filters on, it hurt.

"Why do my eyes hurt?"

"You've never used them before."

Now, I ask myself. Am I a Christian or am I a part of "The Church of Christ"? The answer is liberating... I am a Christian...only. I am no longer bound by a name, by a group of people, but free to worship God as a follower of his son. Now the options are wider.

I have often dicussed my feelings about instrumental music in the worship service and I have always said that I feel that ACapella music is the best way. I still have a predelection to ACapella music, but now there's something else rolling around in my head. I have been searching for a group of people that worship God with an open heart, that love and accept visitors, that worship more dynamically (meaning that worship is not rote and memorized and cannot be merely viewed but must be participated). Maybe instrumental music is just part of that package, maybe it's VERY DIFFICULT (not impossible) to do this without it.

I'm not saying that you can't have a "dynamic" worship and congregation without instumental music, what I am saying is that having it allows you to have more people involved in it and more options available to you. That snowballs and as the momentum of more involvement grows and grows you end up with something you couldn't do before.

In my humble opinion, using instrumental music in the worship would be just one of the many tools available to have an engaging, participatory, vertical worship service. Just as "ACapella Churches of Christ" lean on that ACappella worship, I sometimes wonder if "Instrumental Churches of Christ" lean on instrumental music too much. There is a lot to be said for the quiet reflection of a single voice or group. On the other hand, I have noticed that good instrumental music in a worship can give great flow and help create mood.

For me, the bottom line is that I'm really not sure I could go back, now that I have "taken the pill" and opened my eyes. I know I couldn't go back to ritual and rote, I have plunged into the rabbit hole...

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"...Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. And we, who with unveiled faces all reflect the Lord's glory, are being transformed into his likeness with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit." 2 Corinthians 3:7-18