Atheistic Worship

This post is directed at atheistic worship. Atheistic worship might seem kind of impossible though, how can you worship something you don’t believe in?

Do you just get together with a bunch of other non-believers and gather to non-worship? No, of course not. That’s like asking non-smokers if they get together and non-smoke.

But we still press those who do not share our faith, and rightly so. We sharpen our apologetic swords and rush into the non-believers’ camp on the battlefield of belief.  We have many tools in our arsenal, and we wield each with precision.

How can they not see God? How can you look at Niagra Falls or even the sky and not admit to God? How did life come from non-life without someone to direct it? Why would the early church have endured persecution and executions for a Man that wasn’t what He said He was?

And so on and so on for endless conversations. We leave the battle drained and frustrated. We win a few, but the majority don’t budge an inch. How can they not respond?  We question the non-believers, but often share their same attitude.

Hold the phones, Josiah. I’m a child of the King. I’m redeemed. I believe. I had a response.

That you did, and I commend you for it.

But you still might be sharing the atheists’ attitude.  Allow me to present you with a question, much like the ones we throw at non-believers.

How can we experience God’s infinite grace and not respond in worship? 

If you ask any semi-mature Christian they’ll gladly tell you that God’s grace has saved them from Hell. Their sin was placed on Christ’s shoulders, and God’s wrath that was deserved of them was then poured out on Jesus, the spotless Lamb. They’ll say Christ’s resurrection 3 days later allows them to live a full life here on Earth, but more importantly it allows them to have an eternal life, an everlasting life.

That’s heavy. My cross, my lashes, my nails, my crucifixion, my sin was imputed on God’s sinless Son. The only thing I have to do is accept this gift of salvation in faith.

That should evoke an overwhelming response, right? That’s a pretty big deal.

And we do have an overwhelming response initially, to accept salvation, but then our fire slowly dwindles.  

We sing the same songs, listen to the same sermons, gather with the same believers that we did when we were passionate, but it’s different now.

We don’t feel any different week to week. We don’t look forward to church like we used to. We no longer have that sweet hour of prayer; we’re doing good to fake 10 minutes now. We don’t sing like we used to. We don’t feel The Spirit’s presence like we used to. We’re just going through the motions now.

We’re faced with the evidence of God’s grace and mercy everywhere, everyday. But then we don’t respond. Just like the atheists we so often criticize.

That is atheistic worship. The atheist is faced with evidence of God and lacks a response. We do the same exact thing in being faced with the evidence of God in our lives and exercising a shallow worship devoid of passion.

So I want to challenge you, Church. Rekindle the fire you first felt at your conversion. Fall in love with Christ all over again. Remind yourself of your sinful condition and Christ’s unrelenting love for you in spite of it. And then respond.

Don’t have empty, atheistic worship.

Country Music Christianity

Before the title makes you think I’m opposed to country music, don’t get that idea. I like old, real, pining country. The new stuff feels like pop with an accent, but that’s a different post for a different day.
I’m not raising objections to country music here.

I do have an issue with Country Music Christianity, though. What is that? Well I’m glad I asked myself.

Country music loves to mention prayers, God’s blessings, God’s providence in watching over our soldiers, and a myriad of other things. The idea of God is speckled throughout the lines. He’s never the focus, just a supplement.

But the hypocrisy, often within the same verse, is what really gets me. It simply reflects the mindset of millions who claim to be Christian. God’s blessings and the importance of prayer are beautiful, but how can you truly grasp those if you’re living in sin and praising that sinful lifestyle? If you’re getting in bar fights, raising hell on the town, and cheating on your wife, how can you experience the bounty of God’s plan for your life?

Country music lyrics tend to compartmentalize God, only acknowledging Him when asking the blessing, talking about the troops, or when He needs to take the wheel. We turn God into a genie in a bottle. Many of us recognize how wrong this is, but still buy into this mindset because it’s comfortable

We like that kind of God. I know I do. 

I like God to be there with my family in the hospital, but I don’t want Him there in my dorm on a Saturday night. I like God to listen when I’m asking for an answer on an exam, but He can’t listen to the jokes I make when I’m with my friends.

I like a medicine cabinet God. One that I can turn to when things aren’t ideal, yet one that I put away when everything’s going smoothly. I don’t wanna overdose and be one of those crazy people, after all.

I’m afraid that many of those professing to be Christians fall into this mindset. Many live this way for years being comfortable, but not changed. This comfortable Country Music Christianity gives people just enough God to deceive them. I overheard a guy in my cafeteria put it candidly:

“I think there’s some good ole boys that know the Lord, and then I think there are some that think they do.” – Guy in my college cafeteria 

These people love the medicine cabinet God that helps when they’re down or need something, but is absent when they are in living in sin and rebellion. Even those who don’t live this way continually put God in a box in certain times in their lives. I know I do.

The problem is that God is much more than that. I’ll never comprehend the plans He has for me and my life. He shouldn’t just be sprinkled throughout my life like a country song, but my life should pour out a chorus of praise and surrender.

He should be a fire that consumes every aspect of my food, drink, language, jokes, relationships, sexuality, attitudes, finances, school, my life.

So I want to encourage you, Church. Avoid compartmentalizing God, allowing Him to consume you will transform your life in ways that a half-surrendered heart never could.