Every church has traditions. Some of those traditions are great and valuable, and there are some traditions that are just funny/different. It is not that they are wrong; they are simply different.
For instance, several churches that I have been to have congregational scripture readings, where the entire congregation trudges its way through a passage of scripture in unison. No matter how articulate, eloquent, or energized you are, you automatically turn into a zombie. Your voice drops two octaves. Your verbal pace slows to a crawl. You begin to sound like Ben Stein taking attendance in Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, and if you mess up, everyone will hear you.
I don’t think congregational reading are wrong. I just think they are funny and different.
I grew up going to a Church of Christ. For those of you who are new to the game, we are the ones who don’t use instruments in worship. Obviously, we are in the minority on this one. We embrace the a cappella style of singing, and I have to admit, it usually sounds pretty good.
That is one of those different/funny things that we do that I can never really explain. When people asked, “Why don’t you have any instruments?” I really did not know the answer. I suppose it was because the first century church could not fit a keyboard, three guitars, and a drum set in the Roman catacombs where they worshiped, so we were not allowed to either.
For some, this “no instruments allowed” thing is a very big issue.
Last week I was talking with Stephen, a guy who grew up Free Will Baptist. Stephen’s father-in-law is the preacher at the Church of Christ in town, so Stephen and his wife decided to go to the Church of Christ for Easter service.
Throughout the service, Stephen’s mind was plagued with confusion. “Where’s the piano? Maybe they forgot to tune it this week.” You see, Stephen had no idea that the Church of Christ is an “instrument-free zone.” As a natural problem-solver, Stephen decide to propose a solution at lunch.
In the middle of lunch, Stephen shares his idea: “Mr. Adams, I noticed your church doesn’t have a piano. My church back home just bought a new one, and I’m sure they will give you their old one to use.”
His father-in-law dropped his fork and slowly looked up from his casserole. Stephen felt like the judgment of the Lord was about to rain down upon him, but his wife quickly interjected, “I’m glad it didn’t rain today!”
What does your church do that is hard to explain to an outsider?
Have you ever put your foot in your mouth like this before?