Thursday, October 14, 2010


I wonder sometimes if our technological advances in the church are limited to twitter, facebook, and a clover site webpage. Don't get me wrong, I think all of these things are very useful. I've been on facebook and twitter already today, and I love the site we've built through clover. But is that all?

What other areas of technology can we use in the church? I believe innovation is good for God's church. I believe that I am called to be on the cutting edge of the church's technological revolution. But it seems that there should be more options. What are you using? What else is out there? Which direction do I need to look?


Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Artists part 2

I had an interesting conversation today at the Center. It's interesting on two fronts because to me it is a delicate balance between post modern church and Christendom as well as a balance between artistic and more practical people. This is a slight on neither, just observation and hopefully a conversation starter.

I had suggested that we invite artists in our congregation to take part in our worship by adding their art in whichever capacity that meant. We've been good at recruiting new singers to add their ministry, but what about the artists that used other mediums. the painters sculptors poets dancers etc. And the conversation came up, what if it doesn't match the vision of our congregation?

This is a fair question. What if a given person's artistic vision didn't match that of our congregation. It would be insulting to turn away their gift and that could cause a rift/division that could be harmful to that persons relationship with the church. But on the other side of the coin it would be difficult as a person working at the church to lift up something that didn't fit along with the vision of the church.

The other interesting aspect is those in our congregation that are more traditionalist and interested in becoming "just another Lutheran church." Would they outright reject any new artistic expression during worship or in our worship space?

Lots of potential issues here. I'm certain that this kind of debate has kept creative arts out of worship spaces across the world. What are your experiences with artistic expression in worship? Positive or negative experiences?

i'm going to keep pondering this a while.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

A New Confession

The 16th and 17th centuries are loaded with confessions. Every major protestant group leaving the Catholic church did so by writing down their particular beliefs and creeds. Looking around today, you don't see much of that going on anymore. Most famous pastors and preachers have great self help books. There are volumes on the post-modern and emerging church. Every political group of Christians has their own writings and you even see religious fiction popping up all over the place.

Are we content with our current confessions?

In her book the Great Emergance author Phyllis Tickle (best author name ever) wrote that we are currently in a time similar to that of the Reformation. That every 500 years or so the church goes through a major overhaul. Constantine, the Great Schism, The Reformation and now here we are, just shy of 500 years later and the emerging post-modern church looks set to explode. Where are our Luther's and Calvin's hanging out? Who is the voice of this movement.

Certainly Brian McLaren and Jim Wallis have found their way to the top of the heap. Reggie McNeil laid out a plan to change the scorecard in the church, but unlike previous movements there doesn't seem to be a defined opponent. Much like the war on terror differs from WWI this movement lacks traditional definition. There isn't an evil empire church we're striking out against, we're fighting on the transformation of ideals. We're bucking a system, not an institution. So where does this leave our tightly held denominational lines?

I still consider myself a Lutheran, but the church I attend and lead worship at doesn't look or sound like any Lutheran church I've ever been to. Am I any less Lutheran because our signage doesn't say Lutheran on it? We've had more missional support from the local Episcopal church than any Lutheran congregation. We've even gotten along with a Missouri Synod congregation. Is this an anomaly or a sign of things to come? Join in this conversation, I plan on writing more about our need for a new Confession as we further our understanding of this new expression of Church. 

Cheers, Mike.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010


I posted on twitter yesterday a quote from Robert Shaw that said "In the medieval world, the church saved the artists. i think in the future it may be the artists that save the church." It seems to me that there is a very profound truth to this statement that many people are overlooking. You see across Christendom the resistance to any kind of change. Further there's a resistance to creativity and artistic notion. If we haven't done it throughout history why start now? A pipe organ was good enough for Jesus and his followers, why would we use a guitar. Why would we use spoken word? Why would we use poetry, painting, murals, and mosaics in the span of the church?

Conversely it is interesting that the vast population of the artists in the world are so intently against religious institutions. It's been my experience that people deep in the world of the arts, whether it be physical art or writing or music or theatre or whatever, tend to be largely uninvolved and uninterested in the world of the church. As a worship leader I want to start integrating church and art again. I want to see beautiful new expressions of the gospel without feeling like my tradition is under threat. I want to encourage artists to embrace their medium as a form of ministry for something beautiful.

What forms of art does your church utilize? What would you like to see done in the church? Are artists an appropriate piece of worship? Im interested in your thoughts! Until next time, Cheers.

@MikeCelebrating on twitter