Performance - Pleasing an Audience
"A guidebook to accessing the life of God
Without being sidetracked by religious tradition."
AUTHOR'S VIDEOS ON YOUTUBE
Author's Brief Testimony
**Schisms and division in the body of Christ
from denominational boundaries
**Although Christianity is the outgrowth and fulfillment of
Judaic roots there is little acknowledgment of these foundations
God, can and does find His way into the heart of people within churches who worship in more formal, liturgical ways. To the extent that the Word is taught and valued and the true worship of God is encouraged there is fruitfulness. The principle emphasis of these writings is that there is more, more, always more to be known and to be experienced. And these experiences are entirely consistent with apostolic teachings. The more freedom and liberty is given to the Holy Spirit, the more spiritual growth will be "experienced" when those believers gather together.
I will focus upon the negative attributes of the Religious paradigm in these writings which impact faith and spiritual growth in negative ways. There are doctrines and practices that can actually keep individuals from ever experiencing the Kingdom of God or the greatest gift of God, salvation.
- Pleasing an Audience
Expressed in Personal Performance
Most every church today focuses upon certain kinds of performance.
Preachers learn or are taught how to build an audience by successful
performance. Performance success centers on pleasing an audience.
Worship should never become confused with performance, for worship is a private communication to God. It is a communication of the heart. It is not for human hearing and approval but for God's hearing and approval. Likewise preaching should not be a performance, but speaking the mind of Christ to persons in need edification. A man of God yielded to the Spirit, and spiritually anointed may well appear dramatic, persuasive and captivating but the intentions are never for self aggrandizement. By the same token even silence or brokenness speaks powerfully through God but is rarely acceptable as a manner of human eloquence.
Religious performance is born out of programmatic ritual
Activities which foster church growth evolve into people-attracting programs. The program for a given church service is typically presented as "an order of worship" but in reality is only an "order of performance."
In traditional church services, the parts of a worship service, whether done by one person or several, can be viewed as either sacramental or performance. If the rituals are sacramental it does not matter too much whether the details are performed well or not. Ritual is what it is. It stands for various symbolic elements from beginning to end. It is very hard to introduce any personality or interpretation into it. Ritual may be as relevant as we wish it to be. In my view, ritual is a kind of counterfeit substituting priestly rites for revelation.
Ritualism in many non Christian religions bears a strong relationship to shamanism. Ritualism is actually a magic rite. In it God or 'gods' are supposed invoked or appeased. In highly stylistic ceremonies the congregation is looking and watching. The focus is outward or earthward, toward worldly forms. Though ritual and iconography can reveal deep spiritual meanings, ritualistic forms are not required to please God.
There are other kinds of worship services in particular those that protestant denominations follow, that are somewhat less sacramental. In such worship services every part of the order of service hinges on some kind of performance. Those congregations who have a more spiritual awareness stress less of performance and more the inner spiritual message. Part by part the elements of the Sunday or Sabbath ritual unfold. The congregation enjoys, approves or appreciates, either a little or a lot. If the choir sings well it is a good performance. If the soloist does a special number all of the congregation (audience) carefully scrutinizes every aspect of the performance. Most often it is far below professional standards but we tolerate sub-par because church does not normally have quality that approaches professional quality available (unless they are a very affluent church who can pay professionals.) It is, of course, the dream of the mega-churches to have all performances of professional quality.
From the opening prelude to the closing of the recessional with the organ pulling out all stops, the church completes another program; another religious ritual. The performers have performed upon their respective stages, the audience has performed their appropriate role as spectator' in their pews.
The less spiritual the church, the more the emphasis remains upon performance and show. The more the demand for performance the greater the performance pressure. The greater the self awareness, the less the ability to sense God in the parts. Conversely the more spiritual the ministry the less there is a sense that was performed. A transparent minister is God conscious and less self conscious.
should the purpose be of Christians coming together? I believe it is
first to form the community of God in the bond of fellowship (koinonia.)
The called out ones who are in fact the family of God. These
are also the Body of Christ. Second this family will anticipate
and solicit God's manifestation among them through prayer, praise, and
worship. We see an attempt or a form of this in the construction
of many church "worship services". They only thing lacking is the participation
and koinonia of the members who know that they are each and all partakers
and participants in this worship. God wishes to reveal his glory but
this will not occur with our focus on some single leader or performer.
Each member is of equal importance in bringing in God's presence and
interaction with His people.