These Things...Ought Not to Be!

...Out of the same mouth proceed blessing and cursing. My brethren, these things ought not to be so. ~ James 3:10 (NKJV)

     Liturgical arts have come a long way in the past few years. Ministries and groups are becoming more well-versed in technique and becoming more innovative, even edgy with their presentations. Multi-media platforms and creative risk-taking are all commonplace in church services, conferences, and concert settings. But...some of us are forgetting that our focus is still communicating The Good News of Christ, which is that Christ was born, was crucified, died, was buried, and is now alive so that we can be free, if we turn away from our sins, believe with all of our hearts, and personally confess that this is true, and start living for God and not ourselves. This means that whatever we do has to: (1) Be inspired of God; (2) Be based on His Word, the Bible, and (3) Reveal God to people. It is not to entertain, amuse, or placate the audience, and although there is a performance aspect involved, in the context of worship, that is not our purpose. We are simply there in front of the audience to offer out of our relationship with God, a visual representation of His Word, ways, and nature, possibly in a way that hasn't been revealed to them before.

There were some Greeks in town who had come up to worship at the Feast. They approached Philip, who was from Bethsaida in Galilee: "Sir, we want to see Jesus. Can you help us?"
~ John 12:21 (MSG)

     Having studied Theatre and Dance for many years, I am always interested in seeing different types of presentations in church, but this latest video should concern most of us. In a church service, Thriller, yes that one...was danced to after a message about Ezekiel 37, the story of The Valley of Dry Bones in which God asked the prophet: "Son of Man, can these bones live?" Please let me say that as an artist, I have no problem with the artform of Thriller as a music video, and I have enjoyed Michael Jackson's music as much as anyone else, BUT, Thriller is a song and video about Halloween, zombies, and fear. The dancers in the original video were second to none, and the dancers in this new video did a good job with their modified version of Michael Jackson's and Michael Peters' choreography. However, they should have found different music and let God inspire them to do completely different choreography for their ministry, simply because people will automatically hear that song, see the dance and will either compare it with the original, miss the entire point completely because they are totally caught up what they have already seen and heard before , or simply be entertained by an exciting performance. In other words, it's inappropriate for a house of worship! Why? because, what aspect of God's Word are they presenting with a music track that was composed for a song about the powers of darkness? And, other than the fact that their performance was well done, what aspect of God was revealed to the people, some of whom may never hear The Good News again? There are many others, but these are the first ones that come to mind.

But truly I am full of power by the Spirit of the Lord,
And of justice and might,
To declare to Jacob his transgression
And to Israel his sin.
~ Micah 3:8 (NKJV)

...And it shall come to pass in the last days, says God,
That I will pour out of My Spirit on all flesh;
Your sons and your daughters shall prophesy,
Your young men shall see visions,
Your old men shall dream dreams.

And on My menservants and on My maidservants
I will pour out My Spirit in those days;
And they shall prophesy.

~ Acts 2: 16-18 (NKJV)

    I rarely post about ministry presentations that are controversial, and certainly am not writing about this for the sake of controversy; but we need to have intelligent, non-judgemental dialogue about what is going on around us, as well being sure that we keep the worship arts focused on Christ, and not become a second-rate copy of what the secular arena has already done. Truly there is a problem here, and the solutions are not in condemning those who are promoting these activities, but in directing them towards God's Word.  All of the creativity and style that we need, come from Him, the original Creator.  Most importantly, we must have a real, born-again relationship with God, and not just blindly follow the latest trend that comes around. There are so many up-and-coming artists in the church with phenomenal talent, but they must always remain true to their own voice, and not simply become a copy of someone else's past glory. Watch...and be prayerful.


Foot of the Cross Ministries said...

Very well said and thank you for posting. The video and performance was well done but, as you stated, this was certainly not appropriate for church. There was no message about the good new of Christ!! As a Children's Church Teacher, I think about the children that may have seen the video. Many children that I have come across in my 10 years in Children's ministry, often express fear of ghosts and demons. For them to have seen this at church could have sent a confusing message. Perhaps following this presentation with another, depicting Jesus, conquering these dark forces would have sent a message that Jesus has overcome hell, death, grave, ghosts, etc. Whether your ministry, is dance, mime, preach, write, do drama, etc. everything must point people to the Lord Jesus Christ.

Poetry of Motion! said...

exactly! Thanks for your input and keep dancing for Christ!