My friend, Jason, is a great example of brains and heart to me. Yesterday evening, we had a short conversation on worship that, with his permission, I’d like to share here. Be sure to check out his notes…Enjoy~
me: hey thanks i’ll check it out…great opening quote…really nice notes. are these notes prepared b4 the meeting or afterwards? what was some of the feedback you got back?
Jason: mostly after
me: very cool. interesting exercise. i would like to read over it again when i have more time
me: do you think there’s something particular about asian american worship?
Jason: sorry.. i’m in a seminar, doing some work, and pondering the uniqueness of asian american worship….my initial thoughts have been that there is, but i feel like i don’t know enough about “our” culture to talk about it. i think most of my thoughts on the subject come from conversations with you 🙂
me: right…i know we’ve talked about this before but i know that you being in kind of an active worship leader role. just wondered if that had shaped your thoughts more
Jason: i guess i have some trouble figuring out what is the distinguishing feature of a group that sets it apart from another. two places where i have led worship lately are at aacf and at our belmont cell… now, i wonder if the differences i observe there in worship are due to cultural differences or just the fact that belmont people are.. you know.. belmont
me: 🙂 valid question. perhaps you should increase your n [sample size]
Jason: i notice at aacf, people seem to like more organized and structured worship. i think that relates to one of the points in your worship manifesto post
me: to be more disorganized?
Jason: yeah.. more free. people get uncomfortable when there aren’t words to be sung
(in bewteen songs, etc.)
me: yes, i know. i don’t know why
Jason: and that’s not the case at belmont cell
Jason: in fact…. those seem to be the best times of worship
Jason: now.. is that something that is “wrong” with worship at aacf? or is there something there that can be cultivated from this need to be “prepared” (verse, chorus, verse, chorus x2, bridge, chorus!). when i went to church with amanda at belmont united methodist, i found myself initially thrown off by the seeming lack of freedom in worship there– the set readings and prayers, etc. but then i realized how these people around me were in intimate communion with God during worship and there is something to be learned from that style of worship. i’m not exactly sure what that is. ok… i’m going to stop typing for a bit…
me: that’s funny that you mention that. i’ve heard that there is the meditative side to that. but part of me gets so peeved when people respond to football games in a more demonstrative way than how we respond to God. i don’t know, i think we need to expand in both directions — to understand and think
me: because i remember the joy of figuring out a math problem but there’s just the joy of screaming my head off you know? and that doesn’t always happen in class. in fact, i’m not sure that it even happens in church [all the time]
Jason: yeah. heart, soul, and mind
me: spirit and truth yes. wow how do we do that? perhaps worship should always be contextualized to encourage both ends of the spectrum, contextualized to the people there, whatever demographics are there, to extract those commonalities and draw them to the “other side” of worship. what do you think, dr. tan?
Jason: but yeah… i think that’s where i’ve grown the most by being exposed to different expressions of faith and worship being stretched to worship in ways that may seem uncomfortable at first
me: emphasis on uncomfortable. when do you think the value can be seen then?
Jason: i think it’s when we come to the realization that our predefined way of worshipping God is not the only way nor the best way and, of course, after testing and knowing that this new expression pleases God i think we need to be wary to the extent that we make sure our worship is Biblical and glorifying
me: do you think worship should change with culture?
me: so Christian rap doesn’t bother you you don’t feel like it’s a strange exercise
Jason: it doesn’t bother me (i own a Grits album, by the way)
me: well, i’ve eaten grits, by the way
Jason: i would have a hard time practicing it, though 🙂
me: yeah, definitely