Wednesday, January 4, 2012

"whiny worshipers" & a guest interview with bailey

Today i'm interviewing Bailey from Big house in the little woods.

1.Why did you start blogging? (1) For family reasons. I didn’t want to be the cause of my mother’s hearing loss which would inevitably have come did I not have another venue for blabbing. (2) For environmental reasons. The government called me up and chastised me for the stacks of notebook paper I consumed per day. (3) For personal reasons. I had something to say – and I wanted to say it.

2.When did you start blogging? June of 2010, if I remember correctly – or was it May? (Sorry. I barely remember my own birthday.)

3.When did you become born again? Out by the fire hydrant in the front yard of our cramped Air Force base home – that’s when I first felt overcome by the grace and goodness of God and the horror of my sin. I can’t and won’t say for certain if I was saved then, though somewhere along the way the Spirit worked in me. It has been a hard road of legalistic pitfalls, miry fear and broken hearts. But whatever was Tomorrow, Today I walk by grace.

4.Your favorite verse( s )? They change weekly. At the present moment, I love these: Zechariah 9:12 – “Return to your stronghold, O prisoners of hope.” || Jeremiah 31:3 – “I have loved you with an everlasting love; therefore I have continued my faithfulness to you.” || Lamentations 3:22-23 – “The steadfast love of the LORD never ceases; his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.” [Side note – those books that one can never find in church under thirty seconds are some of the richest. Hosea, Lamentations and Zechariah spoke deeply to me.]

5.Any hobbies you have? Standing out in the rain. Hunting for typos in the local paper. Breaking into song. Banging on the piano. Hugging my baby sister. I dig politics, apologetics, controversy and anything literary, too. Is being a nerd a hobby?

6.When did you become interested in writing? I was just a kid when I lost a Reading Rainbow contest – something about drawing and illustrating a story, I think, though I prefer to forget the details. I felt so put-out when they failed to recognize true talent that I hit the keyboard with a vengeance. From those honorable beginnings, I wracked up a goodly amount of rejection slips and third-place winnings. It’s only recently that I considered myself a writer. Honestly, I write because that’s how I figure the world out – put it together on paper, analyze it, change it. I didn’t like English until ninth grade.

7.Life quote/verse? Verse – “For whoever has despised the day of small things shall rejoice.” – Zechariah 4:10 || Quote – “He to whom God has given knowledge and the gift of speaking eloquently, must not keep silent nor conceal the gift, but he must willingly display it.” – Marie of France

8.Anything else you want to say about you/the blog? I say so much that it’s hard to imagine running blank on things to say – but I think my blog speaks best for me and itself. And speaking of speaking, I do love different voices and perspectives to join in with my own ramblings. I started my blog as a place for me to share and speak but have learned more from listening to all the comments. Anyone who’s interested in an open forum of discussion, come on over to the Big House.

Bailey's blog can be found at:
And thanks so much!

Whiny Worshipers

I lost my voice during the week I counseled middle school girls. I banged through devotionals and croaked through one-on-one conversations. It wasn’t too much of a big deal—since I (and my poor, fellow humans) could use a break from my chattering. The one downside?

I couldn’t sing.

I’m the girl who sings in the shower—who sings walking the dog—who sings doing dishes—who sings behind closed doors and vacuum noise. Broadway tunes and Getty hymns. Gospel ditties and Elvish love songs. I can’t help myself.
To be unable to sing—that was the hardest blow. Especially because a good chunk of the daily worship times involved singing. And I never was good at listening. It struck me, though, with a new perspective on worship. Suddenly the complaints about singing made me bristle—anything from “I hate singing” to “Not this song again.”

Besides being the girl who sings nonstop, I’m the girl who complains about songs. Those seven-eleven worship songs? I couldn’t stand those. Give me Chris Tomlin. Give me Kristyn Getty. Give me Isaac Watts and Fanny Crosby. Give me something except a handful of badly rhymed, poorly constructed words thrown together to a ploddingly slow tune churned out for five minutes.

Did I mention I’m picky?

I thought my pickiness righteous. Low quality worship was for the unenlightened—not for the worshipers of God! The rich hymns of the faith, hymns packed with doctrine and God-ness, beautifully turned and musically pleasant, were the only things pleasing to God. And I suppose that because I’m a writer, I’ll always have the urge to rewrite things.

Strangely, I felt my previous righteousness more like self-righteousness. I didn’t appreciate the worshipful whininess at camp, the subtle snootiness at how this song was pathetic and how I’m so not going to sing it. I wasn’t able to worship in silence with the eye rolling going on at my elbow. Maybe it was my lost voice. Maybe it was the ibuprofen. Maybe it was the sudden realization: Criticism isn’t worship.

I’d spent so much time turning my nose up to “contemporary junk” and “artistic train wrecks” that I never stopped to cultivate a heart sensitive to worship. I wondered how anyone could worship in such a critical spirit. And maybe—could it be true?—those people with closed eyes, passionately singing “God is so good” x infinity, really had nailed the true heart of worship? A heart more about giving glory to God than accommodating my singing preferences?

Of course we’ll have likes and dislikes, favorite songs and annoying tunes. We’re human. We each feel differently about worship and appropriate songs. That’s fine. But the need to criticize and groan and roll eyes in the middle of worship—that’s not.

The Bible doesn’t lay a prescription for how worship tunes ought to go or how words ought to rhyme. (Though if you read enough psalms, you’ll notice thatPraise the Lord! is a simple and repetitive and inspired line.) It does, however, prescribe humility and a sensitivity to the Spirit. There is time outside the sanctuary to rewrite flat songs and argue literary quality and overthrow “Jesus is my boyfriend” songs (and quickly).

In the sanctuary, we worship. We sing “We love you, Lord!” a gazillion times if necessary—and we meditate on if that’s true and why that’s true. We ignore that twee adjective or goofy rhyme. We worship as we are—imperfect and sincere. It may be true that the song is unbelievably pathetic, but at least we can worship more than pathetically. And who is to say that our preferences aren’t flawed in some serious artistic way too?

Let’s fill the pews with intentional worshipers. Boot the whininess out!

No comments:

Post a Comment