An Affair of the Heart 'and' Mind

How to prepare for corporate worship.

There's an old joke among Meyers-Briggs users. Question: What happens when a passionate, hyper-expressive, exquisitely emotional feeler meets a logical, hyper-rational, Mr. Spock-type thinker?

Answer: They get married.

Too often deep thinking and profound feeling never meet in the one place they're most needed: in worship. How can we worship in ways that both engage the mind and touch the heart?

Some churches specialize in generating emotion. The platform people are experts at moving worshipers to laughter or tears. Attenders gradually learn to evaluate the service in terms of the emotion they feel.

In time, however, the law of diminishing returns sets in. Prayers are offered in highly emotive style and bathed in background music. Stories have to get more dramatic, songs more sentimental, preaching more histrionic, to keep people having intense emotional experiences.

Such worship is often shallow, sometimes artificial, and rarely reflective. Little attention is given to worshiping with the mind. It produces people who have little depth or rootedness. They may develop a "zeal for God, but not according to knowledge" (Romans 10:2, NIV). They become worship junkies, searching for whichever church can supply the best rush.

This is Scarecrow worship: it would be better if it only had a brain.

On the other hand, some churches focus keenly on cognitive correctness. They recite great creeds, distribute reams of exegetical information, craft careful prayers ahead of time. And yet the heart and spirit are not seized with the wonder and passion that characterize those in Scripture who must fall on their faces when they encounter the living God. No one is ever so moved that she actually moves.

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Attitude; Authenticity; Awe; Praise; Relationship with God; Worship
Today's Christian Woman, August , 2010
Posted August 2, 2010

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