saying no to therapeutic self-help theism

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Sunday, February 1st, 2009

saying no to therapeutic self-help theism

worship, in its truest form, has little to do with outward & physical things. certainly, I’m a big believer that our physical senses play a crucial role in engaging a time with god, but those things don’t create worship. worship is a state of heart & mind & soul.

so, it’s with that acknowledgement that I currently sit in the commons area at our church, blogging away on the ol’ iphone. after dropping off christen & olive in our respective worship venue, I came out here to sit & blog & not worship.

my heart & mind & soul have no business engaging in a time of worship.

certainly, I could sing the songs & pass the plate & shake the peoples’ hands around me & listen to a sermon, but I would not be worshipping. it would be routine & ritual–but not worship.

right now, I feel hurt & anger & sadness & frustration & everything but worship. for me, having these feelings says a lot. I rarely feel this way–especially on a Sunday morning when our family is coming to worship together. I won’t go into all the messy details, but needless to say, these feelings are strong enough to keep from encountering Christ in a time of worship.

there seems to be a lot of conventional thinking that says that my current state-of-the-heart could be overcome by just going in there & worshipping. it’s as if god would reach down, give me a pat on the back & all would be well. I call this therapeutic self-help theism. it’s the idea that god’s primary concern is to make us all happy & bubbly people. moreover, it’s the idea that when we go to our worship “service,” we get “filled up” & receive some kind of “tune up.” don’t get me wrong, I think god does want us to be happy & to live life to the fullest & to be strengthened & energized after engaging in worship in community. BUT, we completely miss the point of worship when it’s primarily about those things.

worship is about god. not us. not about our personal fulfillment. not about a feel-good session. not about making us happy or engaging in some kind of stuart smalley staring in the mirror affirmation moment.

worship is about our heart & mind & soul loving god. it’s what’s inside being physically manifested as an offering to god. so, when what’s inside me is hurt & anger & frustration & sadness, then my heart+mind+soul offering is worthless & not of god. I miss not being in worship today, but in this case, I think it’s best to take the day off and get my heart right.