The Weber-Fechner law part 3

Bloged in apprenticeship, church, worship by rod Wednesday June 23, 2004

If you think I’ve been all over the place lately, then you’ll really see that here. I really didn’t mean for my metaphor yesterday to be so abstract and veiled. Actually what I’m saying is nothing new or profound or unfamiliar. It’s just that as we attempt to find ways to make things more meaningful, we consistently clutter them with things that obscure their meaning. We’re bombarded with articles, books, mailings, newsletters, seminars, lectures, etc. about creating “meaningful” worship experiences, engaging a greater percentage of the congregation, facilitating congregation response and participation, creating energy in the worship sequence, dot dot dot. Advertisements for pre-prepared worship sequences complete with written-out modulations, transition prayers and spoken blurbs are everywhere. Enhance your worship experience with Volume 79 of our worship DVD series complete with ppt and pictures of worship facilitating barns and sunsets and snow-capped mountainscapes with spring flowers in the foreground, or abstract morphing colors and designs with 68% opacity lyrics fading on and off the screen. If I hear the phrase, “enhance your worship experience” one more time in an advertisement, I’m going to wet myself. If I read another bulleted article on sequencing keys and tempos and styles to engage the congregation I’m going to scream. Gene Simmons could give a seminar on creating an engaging arena experience and it would contain the same advice as that given for ‘worship’.
I know, this is the millionth time this has been said. I’m sorry. But why, when fewer and fewer people actually understand worship, do we bury it further beneath clutter? When do we begin to model what we say worship is rather than explain it one way and attempt to practice it another?
The Weber-Fechner law applies here in that two things are moving in the opposite direction from each other and the opposite direction than they should be. The more we try to manufacture a “worship experience”, the less we understand what worship is. So many candles have been lit, that we no longer notice each subsequent, confusing candle. As with my guitar playing, we’ve got to blow all the candles out so that we can see just how many we need to actually do what we’ve been called to do.
This is true across the board. We need to strip the Gospel down to what it is. We need to strip apprenticeship down to what it is. We need to strip prayer down to what it is.
I’m not even saying that all this stuff that has cluttered is wrong, or that it can’t be reclaimed as helpful. Somewhere in the midst of all these candles, is the one light that deserves our focus. If we blow out everything else and locate it again, perhaps we won’t lose sight of it as we re-light our candles.
So I’m sorry. I didn’t mean for it to turn into a rant. Please forgive me.

5 Responses to “The Weber-Fechner law part 3”

  1. gwill Says:

    OK, dense ol’ me understands more clearly now. I guess I was wondering if you were telling yourself in part 2 that even all the talk about styles and cultures from part 1 makes the concept of worship too clutterred as well. Certainly not to the extent of the “show” and mass marketing, though. I’m very curious to know what you think that one candle really is. Or (if it’s Christ), what is it that the one candle is indicating. In other words, how far down this road of simplification do you want to go?

  2. rl Says:

    Greg- you’re right there. I was saying that all the talk about styles and culture make it cluttered as well. And maybe not to the extent of show and mass marketing, but darn close. You know how I’ve reacted to the requests to “juice” up the hymns I do at church. I feel that it is confusing.

    Now, about the One candle thing. Are you curious to know what I think it is, or are you trying to entice me to more rambling?

  3. gwill Says:

    definitely both!

  4. danphil Says:

    here, here!

  5. danphil Says:

    Oops. Sorry for the double comment. Here’s some more after miniscule reflection. Maybe it’s because I read parts 1,2,&3 right in a row, maybe it’s because I know where you’re coming from, or maybe I’m just simple minded, but your point is very clear to me. The solution is anything but. But whether or not the solution is ever reached, it seems to me to be a healthy tension to live in when one is at least cognizant of the issue.

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