Sunday, March 11, 2007

Strange Man in Shades Plans Marathon

The strange man in the shades in this undated photo is planning on running a marathon for a very good cause.

Although in dire need of recognition, and at the same time, dealing with lack of affection issues, he is basically a good fellow.

Support him here. I am.

The Dangerous Act of Worship

About 20 months ago, during the darkest time in the history of our church, when we were in the midst of a painful split, a dear friend gave me two CDs to listen to. I am a fussy listener to sermons, and so, this was an act of bravery for my friend. I don't do well with about 80% of Christian radio; it bores me.

Soon after, I needed to be in my car for about a 3 hour drive, and I listened to the CDs, recorded at a retreat several weeks before. The speaker was the
Rev. Mark Labberton, and for the next three hours I found myself at once thrilled, challenged, laughing, convicted, and in tears. For me, Mark "gets it" about what it means to follow Christ in the real world.

Then, about six months later, as my family and I were taking an emotional break from the near insanity of the hysteria that had surrounded our church, I took a weekend away for a retreat, at which Mark was the speaker. After the first night, several of us stayed behind to chat, share a bottle of wine, and enjoy each other's company. Mark joined us, and I found him to be an engaging, relaxed fellow (remarkably so, for a pastor-type) with a refreshing view of things Christian. His topic for the weekend was worship. I loved every word, and at the same time, felt convicted and challenged in new ways.

Mark has just completed a book which should become required reading for all of us confused, or wondering, or just trying to get an understanding of what in the world the concept of worship really means. The title of this book is
"The Dangerous Act of Worship", and the premise of this title is well taken.

We silly church folk have been embroiled in a lot of chatter over the past couple of decades about worship. Worship styles, worship settings, the meaning of worship, on and on and on. It seems endless. To me, most of this discussion has felt like meaningless prattling; silly and trivial banter about a topic that is so far beyond our real reach we have little idea about what we really are talking about.

In this book, Mark Labberton takes us on a journey about the real meaning of worship, and makes some very disturbing observations about the state of the church as it approaches the concepts of worship. His first observation: much of the American church is asleep (me included)! I could not agree more.

More soon. Meantime, buy the darn book. You will be very glad you did.
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