Disclaimer: This is an issue I recognized in myself, and I have noticed I ambit alone in doing. When I say we I don’t not lump everyone into this group. Simply those who realize they fall into it. What Victoria Osteen said was entirely wrong and contrary to who God is. In no way is this condoning what she said, and I pray she recognizes her wrong doing, confesses, and turns away from it. Due to concerns that were brought to my attention, the first three paragraphs of this post have been heavily edited. I apologize to anyone who felt I needlessly pointed my finger at them.
I realize I am behind the ball on this frenzy topic. Many have done a very good job and helping people to see why Victoria was profoundly wrong in what she said. I appreciate people speaking out against that because it really did need to be said. I almost jumped right in, but I began to wonder if I was missing a little bit of a bigger picture.
Victoria was wrong in what she said. Plain and simple. I didn’t really say much for a while for two reasons. Everyone and their dog was pointing out how horribly wrong she was. It just became echoes of the same message, and my clone echo would have felt like white noise to me. It has been filled with individuals preaching to the masses of a choir that they already belonged to. The second reason is because I was waiting to see if anyone else when beginning to wonder what I had after thinking things over a little more. If they had then I missed it. If anyone reads this has seen this point brought up in detail then I would love for you to share.
We missed the point though. The issue is that while Victoria was wrong, she stated bluntly what many actually believe (including myself more often than not) with their actions in regards to worship. I believe we have missed a golden opportunity to tackle a real issue that rampantly exists outside of Osteen’s church. This attitude has slipped into congregation everywhere.
No one needs to wander too far to find a church where what happens in worship is a hot debate. The music is to slow/fast, to quiet/noisy, to traditional/contemporary, etc. At the root of most of these debates you find the arguments of, this is not how we used to do it, this makes us uncomfortable, I can’t worship easily this way. With each argument we layer it in the simple context of stating either that this would glorify God, or this won’t glorify God, but the reason for it is based entirely on what makes us feel good. If I am comfortable in my worship then that is what is important in worship.
Do you see the problem? We always seek to worship in a way that makes us profoundly comfortable. It is not accident that one of the biggest debates in church is the form of worship an element that is supposed to be directed towards God, but we have managed to mutate into being at the core of how we personally feel.
This isn’t an argument for on style over the other of worship. This is not even an argument to force people to learn to get over their tradition and accept change. It is a cry out for people to actuality wake up and see what has happened. Victoria voiced a feeling that has been rampant in local churches all over for decades, but no one was willing to really say it. We always hid it under arguments of saying what we believe God would be most pleased with.
I can’t say it is wrong to want to worship God in a way that feels natural to you. There is nothing wrong with hymns, but there is plenty wrong with withholding God’s money from your wallet and God’s service form you when you feel uncomfortable that your church is not doing enough of them. There is nothing wrong with contemporary music, but there is plenty wrong with not paying closer attention to people who hunger for doctrine in their worship, and forcing an older generation to be silent for the sake of making your worship feel more comfortable all the time by being more energetic.
That is the real issue though. We focus on worship as something to make us feel inherently comfortable. Since when was anything in the Christian life supposed to feel comfortable 100% of the time. True worship is something very much uncomfortable. It is imperfect beings expressing their joy, gratitude, respect, and adoration for the incredible perfect being. Something so whole and complete that our minds fail to fathom His true essence. A being so perfect that made Isaiah cry out and all uncomfortableness and fear for being unclean next to creatures made so gloriously by Him. A being so bright and pure that it made Moses face shine and Israel fear viewing his presence because he had simply been in the presence of God. This is a being so powerful that men and women weep when overwhelmed by his presence in worship.
What is with this nonsense of worship being comfortable? Since when did expressing joy, delight, adoration, and wonder require us to be 100% comfortable? What does this mean? Does this mean we have to throw away how we currently worship? Not necessarily. What it does mean is we need to focus more on worshipping and delighting in a perfect being being, and less on what makes us comfortable.
I can’t tell you how this should change things for you because that would defeat the purpose. What I will say is maybe we should stop before yacking a little more about how wrong Victoria was in what she said and contemplate if the true essence of what she said has managed to creep into our lives. It’s easy to cast out a lie that is bluntly stated as a lie. It is much harder to face the lie that lies in the shadow of a fake truth.