Participatory v. Performative Worship

Yesterday in church, we had two harmonica players

a cajon player and a potential fourth vocalist

Join us up on the stage,

simply because they took the initiative to step up.

At Beer & Hymns we have a room packed full of people

overpowering even our instruments,

except for maybe the pianist and the cajon player.

They shake shakers and play tambourines,

and its all so wonderful.

Of course, there are still a chords and keys,

time signatures and words,

but the semblance of structure

simply gives direction to the holy chaos,

it is a funnel, not a wall.

That is the challenge: to organize programs in such a way

that they invite and welcome everyone in,

so that all can join in the fun,

creating wonderful music together

before God and one another.

Hallelujah, amen!

 

 

 

 

Old, Rugged Cross

My church is a country song

Today there are people sleeping in the pews,

while detoxing from Meth,

souls on probation from prison,

people hiding out from a fight breaking outside.

It’s all so beautiful

This is a place where people can find healing

They don’t call it the old, rugged cross for nothing

We come to Him raw and Jesus, the master carpenter,

sands us down.

 

 

Hello! My Name is Aaron

Hi,

My name is Aaron Ybarra, named after Aaron the brother of Moses,

sent by God to help the prophet when he doubted himself.

He acted as Moses’ mouthpiece before Pharaoh.

As soon as they were out of Egypt however,

Aaron kinda went crazy.

Under pressure from his peers,

he built a golden idol while Moses was away

and claimed that it just kinda happened

when caught with his hand in the cookie jar.

He and Miriam also talked smack on Moses while

he was in the tent with the presence of God.

And died in the wilderness.

My name means “lofty, high, exalted, mountain.”

Fitting now that I am in the Blue Ridge of North Carolina.

In the Bible, there is a lot in a name.

Nothing is lost.

So,

What can we learn from this?

What is my legacy?

I am a helper. I am a spokesperson.

I am also suggestible and can fly off the handle

when not under careful supervision.

I am a leader but also a born follower.

I need a mentor and a guide

to help me be a fully realized me.

So, Jesus empower me to speak,

to evangelize, to help, and come beside.

Guard my tongue and my heart.

Rid my heart of deception.

Let me own my issues.

Cleanse me of all pride.

Keep me pure of influences that would

have me make an ass out of myself.

As the song says,

“Prone to wander, Lord, I feel it
Prone to leave the God I love
Here’s my heart, oh, take and seal it
Seal it for Thy courts above.”

Amen.

 

Friendzone?

Guys, let’s be honest: the friendzone is a lie, an imaginary penalty box of self-loathing, and handy gimmick to get us to buy relationship advice.

It’s natural to develop romantic feeling towards those you are close to. Be honest about that. Honor those feelings. When those feelings pop up and sustain themselves, find a appropriate time and place to relate them. If the feelings are met and reciprocated, then great! Have fun. If the feelings are not reciprocated, you have a choice. If they just want to be friends and you’re okay with that, be friends! If you really struggle with it, maybe take a break, step away. You may want to invest in friendship later on, once the hormones die down.

Now, you may have those feelings but choose to invest in the friendship anyway. If you do this begrudgingly, this is not friendship. It will eat at you inside. This is masochism, not love, and relationships are built on love. It’s in this space that the “friendzone” thrives, because it’s easier to commiserate than to own your stuff and take appropriate action.

So, respect your feelings and those of your friend. Be honest and check in. And in all things, excel in love, in whatever form that love may take.

Your First Love

I have a nasty habit of getting really busy. I can do a billion things, but neglect even ignore those I love and love me. In Revelation 2:4, God reminds us that there are times where we do many good things but forget our first love. Let us return to them now. And let us also return to God, who “while we were still sinners, died for us.” (Romans 5:8)

Gone Rogue

I’ve seen it happen over and over again. A person becomes disenchanted with Christianity while still holding on with Christ. Not uncommon. Actually understandable. The breakdown occurs when we separate from the church body and then have to create our own way of maintaining our spirituality apart from it. Many times this leads to new pseudo-churches, even new denominations. It leads to division and this is unfortunate.

We must hold together to remain stronger. We must work out our differences. We cannot do this thing alone. Yes, by no means approach the Word blindly. Yes, admit and explore where you come into conflict with the norm. These are healthy and good things to do. But stay connected. A person can wander into the desert and live, even gain a following, but can they thrive? Do they have the resources to empower others to do so as well?

Good questions to ponder. We must always strive for connection, seeking paths that connect us to each other and to God. When we are planted, we grow. Even if the community is alternative, that is fine and good. Just find community and thrive.