How The Modern Church Is Affecting My Spirituality
There is something missing in the modern church and it’s affecting my spirit.
I can’t put my finger on one specific thing but there’s an ingredient missing from today’s 21st century churches.
I’m just not being filled.
Maybe it’s the music. Or the preaching. Maybe it’s all the technological advances that is used for service. Or maybe it’s the Christians themselves.
Whatever it is, I’ve been leaving church with my spiritual tank half full.
There isn’t that spark I feel when I’m in a traditional baptist church. Don’t get me wrong, there is something to be said about how the modern church has brought more youth back into the church.
Unlike traditional churches, they have found ways to connect with a younger audience making them feel comfortable to enter a place of worship (and in some again).
But personally, I’m not totally on-board the ‘modern church bandwagon’. And for three reasons.
I need to fellowship with other Christians
Monday through Saturday I can spend alone. But on Sunday, I need to be in the house of The Lord.
Sunday’s are a sacred day for me. It’s not a Sunday if I haven’t put on a fresh suit, had breakfast, and made my way to church.
The stay at home services at ‘Bed Side Baptist’ doesn’t cut it for me. It just doesn’t have the same effect as being among fellow Christians.
I don’t feel the spirit when I’m not in a place of worship.
The bible even talks about the impact of coming together in the name of God.
“When two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them” (Matthew 18:20).
It doesn’t take much to be in the presence of God.
So why are we electing for an artificial replacement by streaming service from YouTube?
What technology has done is create an automated service. We start and stop our worship according to the time it took to DVR our favorite TV Pastor.
But, church isn’t over when the video ends; it’s over when your spirit says it’s over.
As a society we’ve been trained to always be on the move, never stopping to reflect and unfortunately we have brought this attitude to church. We are more concerned with getting in and out than with the impact the service has on our spirit.
I’m not encouraging 7 hour services. What I’m saying is that our worship shouldn’t be constrained within limits on a recording.
If the Church lies within the spirit of its people then it should end with their spirits decide.
The music has lost its soul
In my home church songs carry a lot of emotion.
The hymns we sing have a deeper meaning than just the words written on the page. They were written in times of slavery, segregation, and discrimination when African Americans were treated less than human.
The words on the page were used to send messages, to provide encouragement, or as a cry to God for deliverance.
The hymns I’m accustomed to are full of pain, hope, and at times, joy. And I can come back to these songs when I need to be uplifted.
But with the songs of the modern church I’m not able to do the same.
While they have meaning, they are void of emotion. The are sung more from the body than the soul.
I reluctantly follow along with the words projected onto the big screen, simply going through the motions because I don’t want to be judged for my lack of congregational participation.
Only a few times have hymns been incorporated into worship service. But when they are it’s a remix of the original.
And while I understand the point of appealing to a younger audience, this strips the song of its meaning.
It turns a powerful song into one with a catchy beat so that you are no longer are focused on is being sung but only concerned with the rhythm of the song.
Songs are inspired by experiences and serves as a messages to the listener. But this message isn’t just carried through words.
The tempo of the song helps to communicate the message to the listener. And how that message is perceived depends partially on the tempo.
Would you still cry to Dance With My Father by Luther Vandross if the tempo was fast? Would you still get goosebumps if Whitney Houston’s I Have Nothing sounded more like something you could move your hips to? Probably not.
A catchy tune may be appealing to some, but what song will come back to memory when you’ve reached the end of your rope? What will you recall when a loved one has passed away? What song will come to mind when you need encouragement?
I’m not a big fan of reading scripture from the Bible. Or even better, a projector.
The reason has nothing to do with me being technologically challenged or jealous of seeing everyone pull out there iPhone X when I’m still have the six.
In fact I’m relatively a wiz when it comes to tech and I’m very content with my iPhone 6 — thank you very much.
My preference with physical scripture has everything to do with spirituality of it. I feel closer to God when I open my Bible as opposed to the app on my phone.
Partly because I’m not distracted by other apps. When I’m in my Bible Instagram isn’t just a swipe away. I can’t see what Trump Tweeted and I’m not preoccupied with whether the Eagles are winning or not.
I don’t have notifications popping up every five seconds to take my attention off what I’m reading bringing it elsewhere. The only thing that is in front of me is God’s word and his words only.
While there are many advantages to having the Bible app, I’d much rather feel the word than experience it through a screen.
For the same reason we visit different parts of the world is the same reason we should pick up the Bible; immersion. Do you feel more in tune with history through a textbook or visiting the site where the event took place?
To fully experience of anything you have to actually be there. The same goes for the Bible. To full experience the word of God you have to open the book. The physical book.