Wednesday, December 07, 2005

Giddy-yup at Saddleback!

I saw this the other day at Slice of Laodicea (one of my favorite blogs):

Come for the Worship, Stay for the Sounds of the Islands

Now, if you've been reading my thoughts for even part of the year I've been blogging, you know that Rick Warren ain't my favorite teacher. I knew that Saddleback, the church Warren pastors, probably reflected Warren's approach to Christendom. I wasn't quite prepared for this, though. Note particularly the text in bold.

Main Service is our venue for those looking for a Saddleback style of praise and worship with a full band.

Praise is our venue for those who prefer to spend a little longer singing songs and features the Saddleback Gospel Choir. Praise! Meets in Venue Tent 3.

OverDrive is our venue featuring a rock 'n roll music style. This venue is for those that like their worship loud. OverDrive meets in Venue Tent 2

Ohana Come for the worship... Stay for the sounds of the islands. Experience hospitality and hugs. Learn to worship through signing or hula. Room 404 near the Beach Cafe and island huts.

Elevation is our venue for all singles. Elevation has two services. One on Fridays at 7:00pm and the other is on Sunday at 11:15am both in Venue Tent 2 . You'll get the same great message along with live music.

Passion Join us for a time of expressive worship and heartfelt praise. The look and feel is younger than our main service and more intimate.

El Encuentro Worship with music in Spanish and listen to the live message in either English or Spanish. El Encuentro meets in the Plaza Room.

Traditions Enjoy a lower volume worship experience with a mix of classic hymns, old favorites, and cherished choruses. The message is videocast on the big screen for great viewing.

Country Country music, boots, and buckles are all part of this worship experience with a videocast message. Line dancing for novices and experienced dancers happens after the service. (Note: Children and youth programming is not available for this venue.)

Now, look. I don't have a problem with choices, inherently. And I realize that many churches have tried to deal, with varying degrees of success, with older people wanting hymns and younger people detesting organs and "dorky music". But something about this doesn't sit right with me. Something about it speaks to me of "having it YOUR way." I don't even know how to properly put my great discomfort with the whole paradigm into words, but I do know that it is unrecognizable to me as Biblical Christianity. It's entertainment, not humility and sacrifice and service. I am not saying the people at Saddleback exhibit none of these things; I am saying that this paradigm is not conducive to cultivating them.

And hula? Does that really, really have a place in the gathering of the saints to admonish, encourage, exhort and prophesy? FOR CRYING OUT LOUD! "Room 404 near the Beach Cafe and island huts"!

I just found this really bizarre, and definitely funny. In a sad way, if that makes sense. My flesh likes the idea of getting exactly what I want, but my spirit knows that is not always the best thing.