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Unread 09-19-2014, 10:10 AM   #16
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Well, music gets the limelight because Scripture explicitly and repeatedly tells us to do so. And this done in a corporate manner: together.

Are we given any similar command in the Scriptures with respect to painting, or buildings?

My hunch is that it is just the traditions of man (updated) adding to the church. Creating unnecessary baggage.
The descriptions of the tabernacle and the temple in the OT are rather ornate. And the worship scenes in Revelation are quite visual.

But I would agree that we do not find explicit instructions in the NT for the visual aspect of worship.

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Unread 09-19-2014, 11:52 AM   #17
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The descriptions of the tabernacle and the temple in the OT are rather ornate. And the worship scenes in Revelation are quite visual.

But I would agree that we do not find explicit instructions in the NT for the visual aspect of worship.
The reason we don't see that in the NT is that we are the temple (1 Cor 6:19-20) insofar as we are in Christ, who is the greater temple (John 2:18-22). We don't look for a building to be the place of worship as if it were God's dwelling, but worship in Spirit and Truth (John 4:24) as we are his body, an organic temple for the Lord's dwelling (Eph 2:21-22). So, this change between OT and NT can be explained. The visual glory is shifted: adornment we are commanded to have is good works and character, not outward appearance (1 Peter 3:3-4).
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Unread 09-19-2014, 12:27 PM   #18
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The reason we don't see that in the NT is that we are the temple (1 Cor 6:19-20) insofar as we are in Christ, who is the greater temple (John 2:18-22). We don't look for a building to be the place of worship as if it were God's dwelling, but worship in Spirit and Truth (John 4:24) as we are his body, an organic temple for the Lord's dwelling (Eph 2:21-22). So, this change between OT and NT can be explained. The visual glory is shifted: adornment we are commanded to have is good works and character, not outward appearance (1 Peter 3:3-4).
Good stuff. Let me counter for the sake of discussion.

I don't think that means our worship setting can't be visual until the end of the age (as in the descriptions we see of worship in Revelation). The NT does not encourage to be stoics or ascetics.
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Unread 09-19-2014, 02:09 PM   #19
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Tony: I certainly don't think our worship ought to be passionless or self-afflicting. Our worship is bodily, both now and when we receive new bodies. We cannot escape our bodies, nor should we want to be. So there is a passionate aspect, a receiving aspect, an experiential aspect in whatever we are involved in. In other words, in this life, a visual element in a worship service is impossible to avoid. And it isn't inherently sinful to see while worshiping.

But what is the smoke and lighting supposed to do? Is it communication? Is it experience? Is it atmosphere? How is it "worship" of God? Isn't it no different than, say, satin banners or fake trees or candles? Those latter three things are frequently in a worship context, but I don't know how I would consider them "visual worship." In part, because God never commands us to have them or their equivalent.

When I hear aesthetics, I am immediately thinking of human preferences and interests; or even just what is culturally comforting or pleasing. But I don't know what that has to do with God's worship. I need some help here bridging this gap, since it seems man-centered.
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Unread 09-19-2014, 02:27 PM   #20
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I think there is a very stark difference between old stained glass windows or the ornaments of the tabernacle and the modern day church light and fog show.

Many of the pieces in the temple/tabernacle were symbolic or meant to be reminders of very particular things—God's provision; the covering/forgiveness of sins; etc. The pieces had meaning and purpose.

Similarly, old stain glass windows typically depict scenes from the Biblical narrative. They focus us on Christ, the story of our fall and redemption. The story of our salvation.

In both cases, the worshipper is focussed outside of themselves on the real and concrete objects of the faith … and ultimately on Christ. The heart and mind remain engaged.

In contrast, the aesthetics of the modern day church show have about as much meaningful substance as the fog that's used. It's neither here nor there. But I guess it can give warm fuzzies. … yay?

In my experience, it's a tool to focus you inward, give you that emotional experience and the impression that something spiritual is happening, regardless of what the actual lyrical/doctrinal content of the worship is.

In my opinion, it's little more than emotional manipulation.
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Unread 09-19-2014, 02:30 PM   #21
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Tony: I certainly don't think our worship ought to be passionless or self-afflicting. Our worship is bodily, both now and when we receive new bodies. We cannot escape our bodies, nor should we want to be. So there is a passionate aspect, a receiving aspect, an experiential aspect in whatever we are involved in. In other words, in this life, a visual element in a worship service is impossible to avoid. And it isn't inherently sinful to see while worshiping.

But what is the smoke and lighting supposed to do? Is it communication? Is it experience? Is it atmosphere? How is it "worship" of God? Isn't it no different than, say, satin banners or fake trees or candles? Those latter three things are frequently in a worship context, but I don't know how I would consider them "visual worship." In part, because God never commands us to have them or their equivalent.

When I hear aesthetics, I am immediately thinking of human preferences and interests; or even just what is culturally comforting or pleasing. But I don't know what that has to do with God's worship. I need some help here bridging this gap, since it seems man-centered.
I think any art, visual or musical can be an element of worship. I wouldn't use the term "visual worship" or "musical worship" to describe a corporate gathering. We gather, as you say to worship our God. And in that gathering, we use artistic elements to do it.

Remember, I don't like flashing lights and smoke. They are at best meaningless to me, and at worst a distraction from worship. But I won't say that they can't be used during worship. Just like banners and fake trees and candles.
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Unread 09-22-2014, 10:32 PM   #22
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So in other words churches don't care about someones health they just care about worship
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Unread 09-22-2014, 10:37 PM   #23
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So in other words churches don't care about someones health they just care about worship
I don't think every church is in a position to meet every person's needs. I don't know if that is good or bad. I know in San Diego the number of churches that are doing elaborate lighting are far outweighed by the number that don't.
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Unread 09-22-2014, 11:31 PM   #24
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So in other words churches don't care about someones health they just care about worship
That's not true. But there are a number of Churches that care more about looking showy than the people involved.
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Unread 09-23-2014, 06:15 AM   #25
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So in other words churches don't care about someones health they just care about worship
Surely as someone with epilepsy you've noticed that most people are completely unaware of the effect that flashing lights can have.

Instead of criticizing, perhaps you can come up with a way to help churches and those with epilepsy by raising aware of the issue and educating people on how to continue to use lighting in their service without triggering a reaction.
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Unread 09-24-2014, 12:22 PM   #26
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So in other words churches don't care about someones health they just care about worship
There are a lot of broad generalizations in your post.
Let's speak realistically:
1. Not every church is going to be the church for you. It doesn't matter what it is, I'm sure if you look hard enough you will find something about every church on the planet that you disagree with, so your goal should be to find the one that is the best fit for you and attend/be fed/serve there.
2. I'm sure every person at every good Christian church has a general sense of concern for the health of their congregants, but they can't cater to the specific needs and desires of everyone. The cultures of the world basically function on a form of consensus and/or compromise that benefits the greater good. If you're at a church that is not beneficial to your health, but the mission of the church is solid and good fruit is coming from the ministry, that's a good church but not a good church for you. See point #1.
3. Worship is a lot more than the music and the Sunday service that a church presents every week. It's about full submission to God in all that we do. It's Romans 12.
That said, many churches, mine included, recognize that the style and quality of our worship service is one of the most effective ways that the lost can be found in Christ and we have tailored ours to be somewhat culturally relevant in order to execute the Great Commission as best we know how, following the vision of a pastor. We do greatly care about worship and we greatly care about people, but we're just one church in one community out of many to choose from. Again, see point #1.

I'm sorry that your health is being negatively affected by the lights at the church that you've been attending. Maybe there's an alternate venue for you to sit (overflow room, satellite campus, etc...) where your experience would be better? Maybe start a dialog...not an argument...with those in the a/v ministry and make them aware of how their artistic choices are affecting you? Maybe you're not alone and making them aware of the issue could inspire them to change course?
Or maybe you have to find a new home church? Whatever happens, I pray that you find a good solution and stay in good health so that you can worship and serve and be a part of an excellent Christ-centered community.
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Unread 09-25-2014, 09:37 AM   #27
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So in other words churches don't care about someones health they just care about worship
As someone who has an anaphylactic allergy, let's talk for a second. I am used to a world where pencil erasers, car tires, gloves and myriads of other common items can throw me into shock. As someone whose body has something wrong with it, (I have an anaphylactic allergy to latex) I see a lot of folks who have similar problems who get offended when the world does not conform to their problem. I do not get offended because some folks use normal pencils with normal erasers. I have to be responsible for my own health.

Because the world does not cater to your very specific set of needs without knowing about them does not mean people don't care. It means people don't know, or might not be able to. If you choose to be offended by things that do not cater to your health problems without them even knowing they exist, that problem lies with you and unrealistic expectations.

I say that as someone who has to remain vigilant at all times. You have to show people grace. Both of us have to remember that we are the deviation from normal and that sometimes it takes a bit extra to be accommodated because people can't just see our difficulties. Also, if people haven't dealt with something invisible and potentially life threatening they don't generally just get it or know what to do. It usually isn't they don't care, but rather that they don't know or don't know how to help.

I would suggest taking a deep breath, not getting offended and be vigilant, and if this is a church you want to attend, call and talk to someone, preferably a worship leader to see if a solution can't be reached.
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Unread 09-28-2014, 05:36 PM   #28
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Let me reword what I originally wrote.

This defeats worship. You are in a worship service to worship with other Christians. To deemphasize their presence is to make the service not significantly different from listening to a live worship album in your bedroom. Your attention should be on the reality of worshiping, side by side, the same God who saved you both on account of which you gathered to sing his praises. I do not see why someone would want to lose focus of that fact during the very songs you are singing.
It's not that I don't want people around me, it's that I'm easily distracted. Whether it's someone singing off key, a baby crying, or people moving around me, I find that having the music at a decent volume and some basic lighting draws my attention to what's going on, and it makes it harder for me to be distracted by something else. When there's barely any volume and the only lighting is house lighting, I find it hard to keep my focus on the worship service.
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Unread 09-28-2014, 11:29 PM   #29
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It's not that I don't want people around me, it's that I'm easily distracted. Whether it's someone singing off key, a baby crying, or people moving around me, I find that having the music at a decent volume and some basic lighting draws my attention to what's going on, and it makes it harder for me to be distracted by something else. When there's barely any volume and the only lighting is house lighting, I find it hard to keep my focus on the worship service.
Something I've been wrestling with a ton from a personal position is whether or not this is something that is inherent to individuals, or something unique about the way our generation was raised that allows us to be easily distracted or easily lose focus during worship.
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Unread 09-29-2014, 05:36 AM   #30
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We are all different. To me...a baby crying is MUCH less distracting than flashing lights, animated worship backgrounds, or loud music.
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