Anything But Progressive
So I had all these tweets composed and lined up to send, but I hesitated. Honestly, Twitter is driving me nuts lately. I believe in tweeting both fun & thoughtful/inspirational ideas & links to stories/videos, but sometimes it feels like tweeting them is just adding to the noise; they will be quickly forgotten. I love & hate Twitter at the same time. (yes, I take regular breaks…but I’m feeling that a longer-than-normal break is needed soon. We’ll see how that goes.) So those string of tweets have turned into this blog post.
A few hours ago, Camron Ware emailed me an article. (we email each other crazy stuff quite regularly…most of which does not and cannot show up in a public forum like Twitter…for multiple reasons.) Anyways, he emailed me this article that listed him in some sort of Top 5 list of “Worship Market Integrators”. (FYI: he said the numbers/stats they mentioned about him weren’t actually true/accurate…but that’s another story. Still, it’s a cool honor for Camron & speaks loudly of how environmental projection is being widely accepted in the Church…or at least in Baptist churches, as the article interestingly points out.)
The site is centered around technology and production, but it’s not a “church tech” site. This particular article is just one that talks about the “church market.” (i hate phrases like this that seem to cheapen and exploit the Kingdom.)
What caught my eye was a certain quote that represents a mindset in the “industry” that deeply concerns me, as well as Camron and many other friends/colleagues of mine:
“Churches are getting more progressive, with less emphasis on ‘preaching’ & more on entertaining - which, in turn, leads to spending more ($$$) on A/V. It’s important to learn to ‘speak the language’ in the church market.”
Now, I don’t know the guy who said this, but I’m sure he’s a great person. I’m not attacking his character or even his company. I just simply don’t like this statement that seems to represent a way of thinking in the church production world. (i’m not saying everyone thinks this way, but it seems as though many do, otherwise this wouldn’t have been published.)
Some thoughts (aka, my untweeted tweets):
- this is ANYTHING but “progressive.”
- ”Preaching” CAN take place outside the sermon (i.e., visual/music/art/etc) …& tech can certainly help with this. Sermons can also benefit from the use of technology (#thxcaptainobvious) But it should never be about “entertainment.” (further thoughts on art vs entertainment)
- Sure, entertainment can attract the masses, but it won’t make disciples. It will limit/stunt the liturgy & feed our consumeristic worship posture. What if we started looking at the liturgy (our corporate worship gatherings) as spiritual formation rather than simply an “experience”? (Lex Videre) Lex Orandi, Lex Credendi, Lex Vivendi.
- maybe it’s just semantics….maybe it’s not. If it is, then let’s please not use words like “entertainment.” I’ve stopped believing in the neutrality of language. The words we speak will shape how we believe and live. (see the above Latin jargon) But if we are talking about full-on performance-driven entertainment, well, then I would say BEWARE! There’s nothing wrong with enjoying the liturgy; I certainly do. It can even be entertaining at times. But seeking after entertainment is where I draw the line… and I want the visuals I VJ (at least in the liturgy) to have no part in that shallow, unhealthy pursuit.
- It’s cool to see Camron (@VisualWorshiper) mentioned in this post & how he stands out from other ‘integrators.’ Again, this is why I suggest you go through Camron if you are going down the path of implementing environmental projection. “Visual Worshiper stands out from the ever-growing crowd of companies involved in visual worship because of its willingness to train church leaders why and how environmental projection and lighting can help their services, Ware says. On his website, Ware says, “We are visual creatures, and God made us that way! I believe that we have a responsibility to use visuals in a God-honoring way and to help people use their gifts to glorify God.“ #WHY
- Technology will only amplify your current posture in life & worship. It won’t fix anything for you; it will just make things better or worse.
I’m not trying to knock technology or production companies. Each have their place, and each play an important role in the Kingdom. But if all we’re doing is chasing the latest & greatest, then, well, that’s all we are doing. And whatever we put our creative hands to will be fading fad.
I want to build something that is timeless and true. To point us towards the future-coming Reality and Beauty that is here now but not yet. And that is something far more fulfilling and satisfying than mere entertainment.