Friday, May 07, 2010

Worship: Entertainment vs. Liturgy

I'm going to make this real simple. . .

1. The worship of the early Church

"And on the day called Sunday, all who live in cities or in the country gather together to one place, and the memoirs of the apostles or the writings of the prophets are read, as long as time permits; then, when the reader has ceased, the president verbally instructs, and exhorts to the imitation of these good things. Then we all rise together and pray, and, as we before said, when our prayer is ended, bread and wine and water are brought, and the president in like manner offers prayers and thanksgivings, according to his ability, and the people assent, saying Amen; and there is a distribution to each, and a participation of that over which thanks have been given, and to those who are absent a portion is sent by the deacons."
--Justin Martyr, I Apol. 67 (A.D. 150-155)

2. What many today call Christian worship. . .

By the way, there's a little joke in here. The Hebrew tattoo deliberately incorrectly spells God's name. Instead of God's name (יהוה ), it says, ויהי , translated, "And it came to pass" or "And it was so." Of course the joke here is that people who get Hebrew tattoos really do not know how to read Hebrew at all.


H/T Bob Cargill


Patrice Egging said...

Had me going for a while...what a great commentary! Whew!!!

Anonymous said...

This is so correct! How did you have enough nerve to actually shoot a broadside at the non-denoms and their sunday mornings? Really eyeopening.

Ron said...

I laughed and laughed... and laughed at the end of the video. I then sent it to every liturgy/music person I know who is dealing with a local evangelical/fundamentalist/independant church they are told they must compete against.
This blog was truely inspiring.

Diane Korzeniewski said...

Sadly, people think worship is about them, and how it makes them feel. Some Catholics worship only on the Sundays when it is convenient.

I understand the video is based on other Christian groups, but there are many questionable and offensive things going on in some Catholic liturgies, which put the people at the center, rather than God. Those liturgies are often "enhanced" to draw young people. Yet, if there is one thing that does not need enhancing, it is the Catholic liturgy when it is done simply according to the rubrics. If people need to see special effects and have popular music to be there, then they are there for the wrong reason.

Worship should be unconditional and God-centered. Our worship should not revolve around our lives; rather, our lives should revolve around worship. That is why it is misguided to make the liturgy, "relevant", to various groups of people.

Charlotte M. said...

Can't wait to go play the pipe organ at Mass tomorrow. I'm doing "On This Day, O Beautiful Mother" for all the moms out there.

Great video, I'll pass it on.

Anonymous said...

I dunno, the cool glasses guy was really cool. I think the best line, though, was the one about knowing the music was cool because you heard it on the radio. Ouch.

Anonymous said...

"Laugh-out-loud-tears-streaming- from-my-eyes" funny!

I can't wait to be "growtivated!"

Anonymous said...


Anonymous said...

Are you really going to cite Justin Martyr in defense of the Catholic mass? Where in his Apology can you find an autocratic Pope, Mary as co-redemptrix, praying to saints, the doctrine of merit, purgatory and infant baptism? Careful, ridicule goes both ways. Do you know how easy it would be to create a short film like this making fun of a "smells and bells" high mass? You super-Catholics love the Tridentine mass, where "God's frozen people" sit there like statutes as the priest babbles away in Latin, a dead language not spoken by the common people of the West for over 1500 years. But if one made such a film, Bill Donohue would be out in a second denouncing "Catholic bashing" quicker than you could say "blasphemy."

Magister Christianus said...

This is painfully accurate. Thanks for sharing.

Kindred Spirit said...

"so that the worship leader can get back on stage." What a telling phrase! Clever expose, no doubt, though I haven't been to a contemporary service in many years. Deo gratias, I am blessed to have the Traditional Latin Mass instead of a performance on a stage. For all of those for whom this video hits the mark, I invite you to worship God in the Mass of all times which begins with these words: "Introibo ad altare Dei..."

Anonymous said...

Latin mass? Dude, the apostles didn'y speak Latin. That was the language of the Roman Empire. Why should we worship God in Latin?

Robin said...

Dear Anonymous,

Uhh yeah, we really ARE going to cite St. Justin Martyr in defense of the Catholic Mass. He says here is his Dialogue with Trypo the Jew, "Moreover, as I said before, concerning the sacrifices which you (Trypho) at that time offered, God speaks through Malachias, one of the twelve, as follows: 'I have no pleasure in your sacrifices, says the Lord; and I will not accept your sacrifices from your hands; for from the rising of the sun until its setting, my name has been glorified among the gentiles; and in every place incense is offered to my name, and a clean offering: for great is my name among the gentiles, says the Lord; but you profane it.' IT IS OF THE SACRIFICES OFFERED TO HIM IN EVERY PLACE BY US, THE GENTILES, THAT IS, OF THE BREAD OF THE EUCHARIST AND LIKEWISE OF THE CUP OF THE EUCHARIST, THAT HE SPEAKS AT THAT TIME; AND HE SAYS THAT WE GLORIFY HIS NAME, WHILE YOU PROFANE IT."

Do you know what St. Justin is saying here Anonymous? Let me explain. He's citing the prophecy of Malachi and informing Trypho the Jew that the prophecy is fulfilled in the EUCHARISTIC SACRIFICE. You know, the HOLY SACRIFICE OF THE MASS?

And back in St. Justin's First Apology he says of the Eucharist, "We call this food Eucharist: and no one else is permitted to partake of it except one who believes our teaching to be true and who has BEEN WASHED IN THE WASHING WHICH IS FOR THE REMISSION OF SINS AND FOR REGENERATION, and is thereby living as Christ has enjoined." (Do you believe in regenerative Baptism Anonymous?)

"For not as common bread nor common drink do we receive these; but since Jesus Christ our Savior was made incarnate by the word of God and had both flesh and blood for our salvation, so to, as we have been taught, the food which has been made into the Eucharist by the Eucharistic prayer set down by Him, and by the change of which our blood and flesh is nourished, is BOTH THE FLESH AND THE BLOOD OF THAT INCARNATED JESUS."

Do you believe that Anonymous? Do you have the Flesh and Blood of that Incarnated Jesus in your rock and roll church? As for the other Catholic doctrines that you have mentioned, I'm more than happy to provide the writings of other Early Church Fathers to support them. St. Justin was a rather prolific writer, but unfortunately, only two of his writings have been preserved, along with a few fragments of other works.

I would challenge you to search the writings of the Early Church Fathers, especially the first 400 years, to see if you can find your belief system there. I was in a Church for 12 years just like the video we're discussing here. I finally came to believe what John Henry Newmann wrote, "To be steeped in history is to cease to be Protestant."

marlee said...

I was AT that church last night--didn't realize you were filming us!!

Anonymous said...

We seem to be drifting towards two things in the Catholic Church in the South East (USA). Mass is becoming entertainment and in some cases the Priest is a very big part of it. The choir sings on and on (mostly songs we never heard of) and the priest is mostly inaudible during mass. He delivers his sermons from the knave walking around (antidotes about his family) and everyone laughs and claps their hands from time to time. He has all the attributes of a TV Evangelist and so it goes.

kkollwitz said...

"He delivers his sermons from the knave walking around (antidotes about his family) and everyone laughs..." I'm laughing just imagining that.

Although my parish is the Southeast and nothing like the one you describe.

kkollwitz said...

"Dude, the apostles didn't speak Latin."

Dude, that's right, they spoke Aramaic. I visited a Maronite Rite Catholic Church today where they still use Aramaic. If it matters to you what language the Apostles spoke, maybe you should check out the Maronites.

Michael said...

I am a Catholic and these guys or the bloggers here can not do anything to me.
1. The Sunday morning service the performers are trying to ridicule does not resemble the Mass I attend on Sunday and the other days of the week. Not by a mile.
2. Maybe these guys should attend the Catholic Mass so that they can learn about it.
3. 2000 years ago, they mocked my Lord, Jesus Christ while He was being crucified and yet He forgave everybody, without exception.
4. I am not forgetting that for four hundred years following the crucifixion, Christians by the hundreds were being fed to the lions, burned to death, beheaded, speared at the coliseums for entertainments by the pagans to see if Christians would choose life over Christ.
5. Hence this mockery to me is not persecution. As Christ is merciful, let us pray for these performers and mockers, for the Apostles (Act 2:41, 4:4) were able to baptize thousands of non-believers just a few months after Jesus’s crucifixion.

My real concerns are for the new Catholics or Christians in the middle east and Africa, for example in the news last Friday:

MOSUL, Iraq -- Lecturers and Muslim students at northern Iraq's Mosul University staged a sit-in today to protest deadly attacks against Christian students, RFE/RL's Radio Free Iraq (RFI) reports. Friday May7,2010.

Let us remember these guys when we pray the rosary.

David said...


The video is comparing the Christian Mass with an Evangelical "Worship Experience." They are not depicting a Christian Mass in the video.

Anonymous said...

I agree with you Michael. I pray for all the persecuted Christians that you never hear about on the US news. Even though I laughed, I pray for Christian solidarity - we have a formidable enemy. +

Anonymous said...

In contrast, I've attended Catholic Churches in Detroit, Warren, Southfield, Grand Rapids, Baldwin, Ludington, Muskegon, and Mackinaw where the reader can't read the one or two paragraphs of scripture, and the Priest doesn't understand what the scripture was about so he makes-up stories that are irrelevant and incoherent.

The “Church” itself doesn’t seem to be in touch with reality. In the Old Testament, the scripture clearly defines what a marriage is and what a divorce is. Then comes along this special guy we call Jesus. He says no more divorce. Then Paul clears the matter and says NO DIVORCE. Then the Early Fathers of the church consistently say for 1,500 years, NO DIVORCE. Then King Henry starts his own church because he can’t get an annulment or a divorce in the Catholic Church; he even used his experts research to misinterpret a quote out of Leviticus to make his best effort – to no avail. Then, in 1968, the Roman Catholic Church goes wild – it has 500 annulments around the world. Imagine, your vows never happened (a marriage as defined in the Old Testament and attested to by Jesus himself). Then, by 1982, the “Roman Catholic Church” has millions of annulments per years in the United States alone.

This is just one example of insanity in the Roman Catholic Church today. It realizes, albeit temporarily I bet, that God assigned a spirit that he knew before conception and assigned it to a body to give it life and therefore stands against abortion. But it has lost its mind to remember that God not only acknowledges the vows as a marriage, but consistently – throughout the Bible – expected people who had premarital sex to take responsibility for their actions by getting married. It had nothing to do with ‘if it happened to work out – it was a sacramental marriage’; that IS CLEARLY A BIG TIME LIE. Your parents could decide who you were going to marry before you were even born, and God honored that.

Sorry, I’m sure I’ve irritated some of you, but divorce was breaking the engagement to be married, not the marriage vow itself, and God even frowned on that. If you don’t realize that you need to read the scripture about this guy named Jesus and his parents Joseph and Mary. It’s in the first couple pages of the very first New Testament Book called Mathew. You see Joseph was betrothed to marry Mary (engaged to her), and when he found out she was pregnant he decided to DIVORCE her secretly so as not to embarrass her, etc.

We don’t have a lot of information about the family of Joseph, Mary, and Jesus, but one thing God clears up through an example in his own family is His definition, understanding and depiction of what divorce is.

Well, I made my point. The Protestants are screwed up because they don’t have the liturgy, the right Bible, or even permission via the laying on of hands (even Paul had to go back to Jerusalem to get official recognition through Peter). But, the Catholic Church and the Eastern Orthodox Church no longer represent the truth that existed as of 1100 AD; they can’t even read a whole chapter of scripture let alone an entire book of a prophet or memoir of an apostle. Yet Jesus said not to forsake gathering together. I’d like to know where? What a bad time we live in.

Anonymous said...

I am a hard core Catholic, love the Church, love the tradition, love the Eucharist and Love the Mass. However, I have been to one of the worship services which is being mocked here at an outdoor Christian concert festival. I get what the video is saying but it is overeaching a bit. A "worship service" like this should NEVER replace the Mass that is out of the question. However, services like these do have their place in motivating and renewing the spirits of those who attend.

Our whole lives should be about God, but sometimes we need to recharge our spiritual batteries and this is very rarely accomplished through intense doctrinal discussion. Again don't get me wrong, I love a good theology conversation I really do. But philosophy and even the Mass can be so powerful that it is emotionally draining. Sometimes a simpler, less involved form of "worship" can be a good way to renew one's sense of love for God. People have to relax somehow, why not do it with Jesus?

These kinds of services also appeal more to young people who sometimes need to be convinced on an emotional level before they can be convinced of docterine.

I also agree with Anonymous a couple posts above. There are so many problems in this world and within the Christian community. We should be building bridges between denominations not making fun of them, whether the joke is true or not. I pray every morning for "every Christian to find the Catholic Church so that we might have one truely, 'Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church.'" Catholic, universal, everyone.

Maybe this video struck a cord with some nondenominationals and they will return to the Church. I just think we need to be careful how we handle Protestants, they are our borhters and sisters in Christ and we should be calling them home.

Anonymous said...

Dear Anonymous, your frustration regarding annulments is understandable. It's true, there are WAY too many happening. But before you accuse the Church of being too liberal with her granting of annulments, try looking at the people receiving them. The number does not reflect how easily an annulment can be granted, it reflects how misunderstood the true sacramental value of marriage is. Look at society today. Premarital sex is commonplace, and it's almost abnormal if you don't live with your boy/girlfriend before getting married. The bottom line is that if the couple does not enter the sacrament with full knowledge of what it means, the sacrament does not take place. The Church is not just that willing to grant annulments, society simply has lost the true meaning of marriage.

Mateo said...

To my friend (the anonymous hard core Catholic)...bravo... you rock bro! Thanks for being a witness to the Catholic faith!

I agree with every point you made...and there are many things that have to be considered when dealing with contemporary music services... Your point regarding the fact that a "worship service" should NEVER replace the Mass is the truth.

I don't want to take the video out of context...but one thing we have to face in the Catholic Church is those who suggest that this contemporary style of music should be used in Mass. Various evening Masses in my area provide contemporary music, and when I see students attend these Masses and participating in the music, I am overjoyed. However! When I see these same students attend Sunday Mass with a more traditional style of music...they seem dead and they have no participation whatsoever, suggesting that they are attending those 'new music' Masses for reasons other than giving glory to God in receiving him Body, Blood, Soul, and Divinity in the Eucharist. They are attending Mass merely for the type of music offered. They 'show' no sense of understanding what is happening when the Mass is 'stripped' of the fluff of contemporary music.

Also... I strongly believe that the Catholic Church needs to invest in praise and worship services that offer ROCK SOLID STRONG ORTHODOX CATECHESIS. Protestant churhces may connect emotionally with the youth...(perhaps ONLY an emotional connection) but they do not have orthodoxy (right teaching) in accordance with the Magisterium.

I, like you, my friend, pray for the Unity of the whole Christian Family under the Catholic (as you said it, universal) Church.

...thats all I have to add.

Ad mejorem Dei gloriam!!

Anonymous said...

Robin, please, please do not trot out Newman - it just isn't true. There are TONS of evangelical scholars who know the Fathers forward and back. It is just as easy to find support for protestant ideas in the Fathers as catholic ideas. For example, John Chrysostom was not baptized until he was 18: can you imagine a Doctor of the Church acting like a Mennonite? The question always is: "what is your final authority"? Is it the Bible? Or something else?

Robin said...

Dear Anonymous,

It may not be true for you, but it certainly is for the thousands of Evangelicals/other protestants who have and continue to become Catholic because of the witness of the ECF's.

It is easy to pick and choose highly selected ECF quotes to justify any of the thousands of different protestant opinions. You bring up St. John Chrysostom. I have not researched the time of his conversion/baptism. However, I highly doubt that his writings on the Eucharist, the priesthood, and confession to a priest would align with your beliefs.

As far as the what is your final authority question, I'll stick with what the Bible says about that. 1 Timothy 3:15 says that the pillar and foundation of the truth is the church...not the Bible. The list of inspired books and the word Bible itself is nowhere to be found within the Good Book. You must trust the Church for that.