Let’s Go Minimalist!

(written with tongue pressed against the inside of check as it is being bitten to cause sufficient mild pain that will keep me from bursting out in laughter)

Hey, Christians!

Let’s go minimalist!

It’s the only safe way to worship.

And that, of course, is the only way to please God.

So let’s gather in synagogues and homes and rented halls, because that’s what the early church did, and that’s the pattern.

Let’s have two or three speak instead of one preacher, because that’s what the early church did, and that’s the pattern.

Let’s drink the fruit of the vine from one cup because that’s what the Lord did and that must be what the early church did, and that’s the pattern – even if there are a thousand souls at worship and the cup holds gallons and it takes two hours. And while we’re at it, let’s partake of one loaf. For the same reason.

Because that’s the pattern.

Let’s pay our elders instead of our preacher and require him to work part-time, preferably making tents, because that’s what the early church did and that’s the pattern.

Let’s forbid women to speak or sing once inside the place we meet, lest they be tempted to teach or exercise authority over men through the public reading of scripture together or the singing of songs – because that’s what the early church did, and that’s the pattern.

Let’s require them to wear veils of authority on their heads because of the angels, and because that’s what the early church did, and that’s the pattern.

Let’s do the absolute least we can do in worship so that we do not offend the tastes and consciences of anyone at all, no matter how weak their faith, and do nothing to spur them on to maturity in the faith and trust in God and belief in the power of Christ’s blood and His love to cover all sin lest we fail to keep such beliefs in disputable matters to ourselves, because that is what the early church did, and that’s the pattern.

And following the pattern explicitly, word for word, is what pleases God and is therefore His will and commandment and the only thing that will allay His terrifying wrath that will be poured out on us because of our intentional departure from the pattern or even our ignorant misunderstanding of His silence when decreeing His unspoken commandments.

Because doing all the right things all the time in worship one or two hours a week together is so much more powerful than the blood of Christ or sharing that Story by living it out sacrificially and generously and boldly in our lives the remaining 166 hours of the week.

(for some reason my grin has faded and sunken to a grimace at this point and I flail about for a way to close what began as a light-hearted jibe)

God help us all.

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14 thoughts on “Let’s Go Minimalist!

  1. Surely those weren’t the ONLY things you could come up with?!?!? When you head down the path of legalism, this is where you end up.Thanks for the reminder!DU

  2. I like the fact that I first read this post today at 9:30 a.m. It was on my mind this morning as we began our study of unity. Correct me if I’m wrong, but my guess is that these thoughts were on your heart after your conversation on here with SM?I think this is an excellent follow-up to that conversation, because it clearly makes your point that we tend to pick and choose when deciding what to bind on others as being legislated in scripture. I think when something is done in worship that we don’t like, we all need to work on recognizing the things that are preference/tradition; things that, although they may be different or uncomfortable for us, are NOT specifically commanded/forbidden. I wonder if this concept would change the whole way we approach worship; that is, with selflessness and humility. In your original article (the one that was misquoted) is an idea of yours that I’ve seen more than once, and I think it’s one of my favorites. You wrote: <>”Some ways that you worship God are probably really different than some ways I do…Wouldn’t it please Him for me to feed you by participating in the ways that nourish your spirit, and for you to reciprocate for my hunger? Could that be why He calls us to dine together in the first place?”<>I love that idea, simply because I know how much of a blessing it is for me, just to be able to witness and experience other people praising God—to witness them doing things that I couldn’t or wouldn’t necessarily be comfortable with myself, but because I know the reason and the heart behind their actions, I am uplifted. Two immediate examples come to mind:Last Sunday morning, our worship minister taught our Singles class, and in it, he sang for us. It was not the group of us singing; it was just him. Some might’ve labeled it ‘entertainment.’ Isn’t that why we, in the CofC don’t have choirs? Because it takes the focus off of God and becomes entertainment??? (That sounds vaguely familiar to me…I think that’s what I heard as a kid.) However, contrary to this idea, I was blessed, edified, and uplifted to be able to hear a brother in Christ offer up his praise to God and was reminded that I should be more willing to do so as well.Also, there’s this guy at my church that, almost everytime we pray, he gets down from his seat to kneel. The first time I saw this, I knew who he was, but didn’t really know much about him. I just thought, “Hmm. That’s interesting…you don’t see something like that very often.” But now that I know a little bit more about him and < HREF="http://keithbrenton.blogspot.com/2005/07/why-i-kneel.html" REL="nofollow">why he kneels,<> whenever I see that, it speaks to me <>so powerfully<>, and I’m reminded that perhaps I, also, should approach His throne with more humility, if not physically, at least in heart. Bottom line, we should make more of an effort to approach worship with a heart that is less concerned with what I do/don’t like about it and more concerned with how I can glorify God and help to build up this body of believers.

  3. While I probably agree wholeheartedly with the point you are trying to make, I think that posts like this are pure poison. You apparantly felt the same toward the end.

  4. It might also be pure poison to someone who emphasizes the “safe” way to do things. And it might also be pure poison to someone who is worried about the financial commitments of a big organization and using mainly numbers as a guide for growth. It might also be pure poison to someone who has decided that the middle of the road is the same as The Way. But, all this is what you said already, Keith. It is pure poison to the person whose hope is built on these things instead of Jesus’ blood and righteousness.

  5. This sarcasm is not nice. You have obviously decided that your way is right and you reject 2000 years of church history. Why do you stay in the church of Christ if you don’t think it should be distinctive? And I hope you know that your preacher agrees with me. When you goggle his name you can see his website “for a cappella.” So just ask him about your claims. You are outnumbered.

  6. Ahhh…playing the good ole “distinctive” card again, without ever identifying who we are called to be distinctive from!Keith, I’m sure being “outnumbered” causes sleepless nights in the Brenton home! 🙂 Being outnumbered puts you in some pretty amazing company. “Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me. Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you”.You are blessed Keith, and in turn you bless many many people!DU

  7. Just don’t make me drink after 400 people using the same cup!I think my life is a little more interesting because I DON’T know all the answers. I enjoy believing that as I walk with God, he throws a few ideas that cause me to be a bit uncomfortable. I like knowing that my God is so big, and he loves me so much that he let his son die and that son’s blood covers me when I mess up. That’s the pattern I see. I mess up, he covers me – I mess up, he covers me. I hate that he has to do that so much but I sure am glad he does it anyway.

  8. Keith, Thank you for your words and your wisdom. Thank you for not getting disheartened when others throw darts at you. Usually when I disagree with someone I just hit “next blog” and love them anyway….but that’s just me.

  9. My preaching minister and I disagree on several things … but we still love each other as brothers in Christ … and I think we work together really well. I’m for a capella worship, too, believe it or not. I love hearing it and participating in it. Because of the dissension and division that instrumental praise would cause in the congregation I call home, I would not support introducing it there in any form. Sorry to disappoint anyone who hoped to read otherwise.What I oppose is the condemnatory attitude that some express toward brothers and sisters in Christ who do worship with musical instruments as well as their voices. I oppose the divisiveness of those who say “Why don’t you just leave?” as if it were just a matter of trying on a new jacket, rather than leaving a family I love. I oppose the mindset that every possible action must be classified as either morally right or damnably wrong, when scripture clearly indicates there are some things that are neither, some that become wrong in certain circumstances, and some that are matters of conscience that will be wrong to some and not to others.That’s a lot of what I’m for and agin’, and you may quote me or misquote me or condemn me to hell by your best judgment. I’ll still love you, because Jesus does.And I trust His judgment.

  10. The poison is in the sarcasm. While it has seemed harmless to me to make fun of those attitudes that people have that I have grown past, it always seems to leave me with a bad feeling at the end, much as it did you. The effect is subtle, and it took me a while to notice it. Now that I am sensitive to it, I no longer enjoy making fun in this way. Perhaps you don’t agree at this point. That’s ok, just introspect a little the next time you are involved with this type of making fun. See if you don’t feel a little worse when its all over. Of course, this could just be my own personal hangup. If so, please feel free to disregard my comments.My blogger account is not working, hence the anonymous post. I am tedkeys.

  11. Ted, I appreciate your grace and candor. If I weren’t part of the target audience for that sarcasm, though, you can be sure I wouldn’t have used it.My hope is far too often built on doing Bible things in Bible ways.And, sometimes, the most effective way I know to surgically remove it as a replacement for Christ’s grace is to use a blade of humor with a sharp edge.

  12. keith,i love your sense of humor! i know that if i lived in arkansas, or where ever it is you live, that we could be really good friends!i totally agree with what you said … the congregation where i meet has shepherds that are doing their best to serve everybody, and doing that takes away from others. (ie. me, and what i would like to see happen there) i know that it is not all about me, but it would be nice if they would do what i would like and not always what the “big” contributors say how it should be.i could go on … just like what you said at the end of your post. i was laughing and chuckling, and then it started to turn …

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