Before it ever becomes a church matter, worship is first and foremost a cultural WAR. Because of its high-stake proposition and importance, worship always resides with the culture, and as such, the church will always second guess itself in regard to worship practice--that is, if it ever wants to be relevant at all.
Yes, I am aware that in 2000+ years of Christian worship tradition, the church has always supposedly tried to get back to its roots in regard to worship and/or Biblical theology, and with some notable exceptions, spiritual movements more or less stayed true to that tendency. But at the core of it all, it has always been a move away from the current worship practice exactly for the reason I mentioned before; namely: the church does not and will not have monopoly on worship, period. That's the greatest fail-safe in the history of humankind.
Notice, I said worship practice and not worship theology, or worship doctrine. Just as much as there is no such thing as a right or wrong worship practice, humanly speaking, I do not believe there is a wrong theology of worship, either!! There is only a right or wrong theology! The response to that theology or lack thereof can be right or wrong--depending on the theology itself--but worship lays in the meaning behind our practice, not the practice itself. Something that today is worshipful or groovy will not be so for eternity, guaranteed. Culture makes sure of that!!
Therefore, worship can not exist without a cultural background--not that cultural void could be attained for that matter--and so, it is thoroughly defined by it. Worship and culture can not coexist either, as one will always shape the other. And it is usually the later shaping the first.
It is the very nature of worship to keep people at peace, to give life sense and enjoyment. When the very foundation of our being is tried, we run for the safe haven worship provides. We are spiritual beings living and breathing, and so, we'll never stop worshiping!
No wonder WARS were and are still fought over worship. Real wars, I mean!! The whole shebang!! However, it isn't FAITH the culprit for religious intolerance, but worship practice. Though they look like the same thing, or more or less influenced by one another, the passion that turns a mere faithful into a missile goner--though it may have very well sprung from his understanding and/or interpretation of his theology--it is worshipful in nature.
Whether or not it can sustain theological explanation or scrutiny is not very important to the worshiper. Meaningful worship is birthed through a carefully crafted and generally accepted cultural and/or sub-cultural pursuit of joy, fulfillment, and meaning in this life or the next. It can be religious or agnostic, scientific of existential, but they all fall in one big category: they are well defined, accepted, and above all else, meaningful actions which at best betray the passion and condition of the heart.
Worship Existence- Doctrine and the mere Message
We strive on message, however. When government fails us, we turn to the church for meaning. When the church fails us, we turn to science. When science fails us, we turn inwardly, but we may never quit looking, searching, worshiping... something... someone... anything at all! You see, it takes "heart, soul and strength" to truly worship! Nothing less will suffice!
This is who we are as humans, and it is what drives our existence. We will never escape it because it is not religion, and contrary to popular belief, worship is not religious, either! It can however be very much religiously driven. We can or may attribute it to religion and/or religious experience and practice, but after all, worship is driven by basic human conditions: the need to belong, to passionately pursue, to love and be loved, to abandon oneself to a cause, to believe, to hope.
That is what lays at the core of what drives worship, as they are all traits of the struggle within us. No wonder culture always finds ways to express all of these in the boldest ways possible. This is however the breading ground for religious expressions and worship practices, as well. All religion has is the massage! A WAY of explaining it all; a GOSPEL; FUEL for the soul. The response belongs entirely to us.
Be it unique, true, false or gruesome, however you may call it, all doctrine is just that: A MESSAGE fueling the passions and desires within us all.
© 2013 Liviu Berghian