Worship Tastes (The Distracted Worshipper #8)

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Part Eight of Series: The Distracted Worshipper: A View from the Pew


Imagine good friends come for a visit. John and Jane will be staying in your home for a few days. You’re delighted to see them, so on the first evening, you prepare one of your favorite meals—a delicious Thai green curry. But later that evening, John pulls you aside and says, “I just wanted to let you know that Jane can’t handle spicy food. We hate to cause any difficulty, but could there be a way tone down the spice levels this week?

Your response: “I’m sorry John, but she’ll simply have to give up her food preferences.”

John, of course, would pushback on behalf of his wife: “But you don’t understand. She can’t eat spicy food. It upsets her system. The problem isn’t simply that she doesn’t enjoy it, she can’t handle it.”

Your response: “Well, I’m really sorry John, but we’re all set to have Mexican food tomorrow night and Korean food the next. Jane is just going to have to go with the flow. This can’t be all about her. After all, we all have different tastes….we can’t please everyone.”

Some preferences are more profound than others.

When is a preference more than a preference? The food fights of the 1st century— meat offered to idols—might be illustrative. To most back then, it was a non-issue. After all, the idols were empty nothings. But for a few, those who used to participate in this pagan practice, it was a deeply troubling, soul conviction. How could a Christian eat meat that was offered at a pagan sacrifice?!?!

Paul’s response was not “let it go…get over it”. Rather, he honored their cultural sensitivities even though he didn’t embrace them. His warning to the weak ones: don’t judge. His warning to the strong ones: love and accommodate your weaker brother.

Musical preferences are often profound. No surprise there, since music is the language of the soul. Some musical styles prevent the distracted worshipper from entering into the worship experience…not because he or she is unwilling, but because they are unable. Musical style can be a barrier to worship.

Questions to ponder:

  • How do we differentiate between a casual preference and a soul-level conviction?
  • How do we accommodate and love the “weaker brother”, those who don’t resonate with the dominant musical style of our services?

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Craig Parro

Since joining Leadership Resources International in 1989, Craig directed its international ministry, and as of January 2010, he now serves as President. A graduate of TEDS (M.A., Mission), Craig is a stimulating teacher and has equipped and encouraged pastors and churches throughout the U.S., Latin America and Asia. Craig also serves on the Board of Directors of TOPIC (Trainers of Pastors International Coalition), an association of pastoral training organizations focused on accelerating pastoral training worldwide. Craig has authored articles appearing in several magazines. His first book, Unlikely Warriors, was published in 1992. He is also co-author of Finishing Well in Life and Ministry: God’s Protection from Burnout.