Generational Worship and the Role of Emo

So what role do you think Emo plays in youth worship today?

In our youth group I have seen it be very influential. They seem to be much more emotionally expressive, especially with regard to the so-called negative emotions... sadness, anger, frustration, confusion... ANGST! How 90s! The music style that our youth band has chosen is very heavy, with hi-gain guitar tones, lots of double-bass drum work, driving bass lines, lowered tunings, and LOUD.

I like it. A LOT.

But one of the things I'm trying to get used to is how depressed they all look! There's this very serious mood about what they're doing. I have been coaching them toward an intentional approach to the worship, where they lead by example, through their own personal worship, where their feelings and attitudes are valid and legitimate, but are also tempered with the needs of those they are leading, with corporate worship as important as the personal. We'll see how much of it sinks in.

I'm going to see them play at the Satyricon this Wednesday. Should be a rockin' heavy post hardcore grind emo southern metal alternative indie good time!

The Journey

Is anyone tired of hearing about "The Journey"?

Do this for me... Google "Journey Church". How many different journey churches are there? I lost count. Did God lead all of them to name their church Journey? Or "Journey (insert denomination here)"? Or "Journey (insert city here)"? Did they not know that 100 other churches named themselves that? Maybe every church should be called Journey? It seems pretty silly, doesn't it?

Is there such a thing as Journeyism? Or Journification? Are you a Journist? Have you been Journified? Maybe we should create a Journian Denomination? (the spell checker is going haywire right now.)

What a long, strange Journey it's been...

Other church name copycats: Gathering, Mosaic, Life... can you name a few?

So what is the motivation for all this copycat behavior? Is there nothing wrong with copying church names? I'm not saying there is, apart from the fact that it annoys me, but why should it annoy me? I guess because it seems fake to me. Does it seem fake to you?

"What is in a name?" Is it identity? Branding? Vision? Mission? If so, is it okay to borrow that and build upon it? Maybe yes. Or are we watering down the important ideas that words like journey, mosaic, life, community, and gathering represent? Do they somehow mean less now that they seem commercialized and overused?

Let's speak candidly... is there something popular about these names? Something trendy? What percentage of churches named Journey chose that name prior to 1990? Who were the first church to describe themselves as a "community of faith"? Did Erwin Mcmanus invent the idea of Mosaic as a church name? If not, who was first? And how long ago was that? Are these new names?

So more broadly, what is the value of newness? Why is having a new name important? Does the newness of the name somehow trump the value that the name itself implies? Is naming your church Journey really about having a passion and focus for the journey, or is it more about sounding new? When you first heard the name Journey, did you think "That's meaningful" or "That's a cool name"?

Now what do you think?

Reading/Discussion with Doug Pagitt

Dougstanding ...Wednesday, April 16th, 6:30-9pm

Doug Pagitt will be here in Portland next Wednesday. We'll be hosting a reading/discussion with him and YOU are invited to hear from and participate in a discussion with Doug in a smaller setting.

Here's the deal:

6:30pm- 9pm, Wed April 16th

What: Doug reading from A Christianity Worth Believing with a discussion following

Where: 11000 SW Boones Ferry Road, Portland, Or 97219

How much:
We're asking for $10 donation at the door to help Doug pay for this trip. BUT- just for coming you'll get a copy of Doug's book Body Prayer ($11.99 on Amazon- limited to the first 50 people to show up). We'll probably also have some drinks and munchies...

What else: We'll be adjourning to a local watering hole after where Doug will buy everyone a drink (just kidding). Come to the reading/discussion to find out which of PDX's great pubs we'll be hitting afterwards.

Email bob at evergreenlife dot org to RSVP or ask questions
If we get more than 35 or 40 folks, we'll probably look for a little bigger venue, so- can you let us know you are interested in coming?

Paul Ramey

My good friend Paul Ramey is releasing a new album. Check out his MySpace page and have a listen. Good stuff. Here's the description...

Alright is a collection of songs emerging from a life that is realizing that God truly does have a plan in the midst of the pain we experience as humans. But while I can type that here and now, it’s another thing to live it every day. I think that’s something I’ll be learning until the end of my life here on this earth. For whatever reason my life has been marked by a significant amount of pain, and I’ve responded in both healthy and unhealthy ways at times. But when I look around at the Church in America I can’t help but see a tendency we have to try to shove it under the carpet and force a "shiny happy people" approach to life. But if there’s one constant in life, it is that we as people will suffer. Look around’s happening everywhere.

I’ve heard in many churches the encouragement to "leave your ’stuff’ at the door" so that you can be focused on worshiping God. I don’t know about you, but I can’t do that, and I don’t think God wants us to do that. He wants us to be honest with where we are. He sees and knows anyway, why would he want us to pretend to be somewhere we aren’t. He wants honesty. He wants authenticity. He wants us to see our "stuff" through the lens of HIM. And he wants our praise. Lament and praise! It’s all over the Psalms in the Bible.

But it’s always the presence of God that the psalmist is after when he laments and cries out to God because of his suffering. The presence of Christ is always the answer! Check out Psalm 73 or Lamentations 3 and see the way the lamenter exhausting himself against God (being honest with God about where he is). But then there’s this incredible turn to Praise that usually starts with a "BUT...YOU are this...and YOU’VE done that." And how much more significant is it that Christ said to us before he left, "I will be with you always." In fact, his name means "God with us" - Emmanuel.

And that’s what this album is...a collection of songs that help us remember that, even in the face of pain and trouble, God is actually with us, and in what seems like absolute chaos, he has a plan - and it’s a plan that has his glory and your good at its heart. These songs focus on anticipating the glorious return of Jesus Christ while reminding us that even though life can be unbearable at times, ultimately, everything will be Alright!

Idol Update

So now it seems that American Idol has done a turn around and put "Jesus" back in the song on Thursday night! In the words of Neo: "Whoa."

So what is the deal here? Was the market research flawed? Did they think taking Jesus out would be more acceptable, and then discover that it wasn't?


Shout to the Lord on American Idol?

Wow. They just sang Shout to the Lord on American Idol tonight. Surreal. They took the word Jesus out, replaced it with "My Shepherd, my savior", but still... other than that it was pretty much a traditional rendition of the song.

I wonder what the story is behind that choice? Why did they choose that song? They sang it as the finale for the show. Pretty strange to see Hollywood embrace such a straightforward worship song.

I'm still processing this. When the video gets to YouTube I'll post it. In the meantime, what do you think?

UPDATE: Here is the video...