Yesterday I went to watch my son play drums in the chapel band in his school. He rocked! It was a normal chapel service with a few songs, a cool modern drama about Jesus defeating the devil and a harmless sermon about what Jesus does to me. Halfway through the service I had to fight the drowsiness that tried to creep along. Anyway, most of the phrases and words that were used, for example: ‘I was sitting in the church last Sunday…’ or ‘let’s worship God some more…’ sounded so foreign to me. I was wondering and actually praying (for the 400+ students that were participating there) what is the fruit of this event. I asked God, “OK God, why are you here?” I think I heard him answer me, “for the same reason that you are here – watching my children perform and then go home!.” For once it hit me so strong that I got scared of the thought that I do not want God to be just an audience in any of my performances. I would rather be the audience and watch God perform the rest.
Am I proud about my son playing drums in front of all the other school students? Absolutely, I am.
Is my son happy that I came there to watch him play in front of all the other school students? Oh yes, he is.
But it is just not enough if the fruit of his performance just stops with my pride and his happiness alone. It is so very me-centered.
In our ways of doing church or any other spiritual performances and events, we just stop right then when we have reached that invisible line of traditional settings and patterns where we feel at home. We do not risk beyond those traditional settings and patterns or ask further questions. And even if we dared to ask, we are sent back to stay behind that invisible safety barrier by our spiritual leaders. My son lately wrote an essay on ‘Church’ for the “Spiritual Foundation’s” class. He has been to a traditional church service twice in the last twelve years. The church that he experiences is quite different from the church that his fellow students go to. So he wrote what he thinks church is and is not. The teacher corrected his paper and remarked, “This is not an essay; this is an attack on the church”! This reminded me of the section in “The Starfish Manifesto” by Wolfgang Simson where he writes about deconstructing the old foundations to legitimize the new. Read more.