Church Should Feel Uncomfortable

Brett McCracken | November 11, 2016

I grew up attending Baptist churches in the Midwest—the kind where men’s quartets sing gospel songs as “special music” but no one dares raise their hands during a worship song. For most of my 20s I attended a Presbyterian church where things like Maundy Thursday and Advent candles were a big deal. These days I consider myself Reformed and read books about Thomas Cranmer for fun. My ideal church service would involve the Book of Common Prayer, an organ, the eucharist, and a sermon out of a Pauline epistle that referenced everyone from Augustine and Spurgeon to Marilynne Robinson and N. T. Wright. In my dream church, the “peace” would be exchanged every Sunday, ashes imposed every Ash Wednesday, and G. K. Chesterton discussed in the high school youth group.

The picture I’ve just painted of my “dream church” looks nothing like the church where I’m now a member. The local church where I now serve is non-denominational, meets in a renovated warehouse, and has no liturgical bent. The music is loud and contemporary. It’s Reformed-ish but Holy Spirit-focused, with impromptu “words” from the congregation and quiet prayer in tongues a not-uncommon occasion. To be honest, the worship services often…

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