Tuesday, November 04, 2003

A Matter of Excellence?
I know that in matters pertaining to church "events" the reasoning goes that "we should do things with excellence to honor God". I understand that thinking. But let me be perfectly contradictory for moment. (That's what blogs are for, right?) Our mantra that calls for excellence creates a "measuring mentality." Every event, whether a worship time, the delivery or content of a lesson, the organization of an activity, or whatever, is evaluated and critiqued. The theology of excellence leads us to monitor the presentation of everything. With so much feedback on performance, we ought to be wondering where our thoughts are during those times.

Rather than striving for excellence so that we might honor God (at least that is why we say we are striving for excellence - it wouldn't be for our own pride) maybe we ought to do things poorly to confess our own depravity. Sometimes I think we ought to do things poorly just to remind us that the "performance and execution" is not important. If there is an excellent presentation, everyone wants the next one to top the last. Every "event" is then critiqued so that we might "do it better." Better for whom? For God? Was the presentation/performance/execution not up to God's standards? Do we ever think that we could be up to God's standards? Maybe a discipline of doing things poorly would help us remember that it is what we are doing and not how.

There is a very true saying about food and affluence: The poor worry about the quantity of the food - will there be enough? People of the middle class worry about the quality of the food - is it good enough? The wealthy worry about the presentation of the food - does it have the right look?

Spiritually we are acting like the rich who worry about presentation. If we realize that we are spiritually impoverished then we will only be concerned with the availability of spiritual food and not its presentation. Maybe that is why in eight years in Tanzania I never heard one complaint, critique, or suggestion of how we needed to do something better or with more excellence when we came together to worship God. In American Christianity our "worship wars" are a luxury afforded to those who have so much we can actually fuss about presentation. If God would give us a famine of spiritual food, Christians would be seeking wherever they could find it without regard to the excellence of presentation.

Do you think this blog entry was excellent?

No comments: